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We are working with Smart Living Company in their search for a VP of Ecommerce Marketing based in Simi Valley, CA.
Smart Living Company is about building success. Whether it’s the family looking to make ends meet, the retiree hoping to cushion his nest egg, or the careerist launching a full-time business, SLC has the tools to make entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Smart Living Company has a track record that stretches back more than 60 years, and in that time, the firm has helped launch and support more than 2.5 million home-based businesses.
Working with SLC, entrepreneurs have access to thousands of great products; a personal business coach to guide them every step of the way; access to materials and marketing methods that will help entrepreneurs make their business a success; and, the flexibility to work only when it suits them.
HARRY’S COMMENTS: I have been a member of Smart Living Company’s target market since 2001. That was the year I got laid off from a Dot-Bomb era startup and became a home-based entrepreneur. What a long strange trip it’s been.
It’s a market I know a lot about (which is why this is such a thorough ecommerce job description).
These days, the SBA calls these businesses “non-employer firms” and defines them as firms with no paid employees, with annual business receipts of $1,000 or more, and subject to federal income tax. Incredibly, non-employers account for about 3% of U.S. business receipts, but are about 75% of all businesses. According to the U.S. Census, there are approximately 22.5 million non-employer firms with aggregate revenues of nearly $1 trillion.
This market is totally legitimate and bursting with cash.
Now, I’m not saying that Smart Living Company’s addressable market is 22 million people. But it is huge. And here’s the thing: Most “civilian” white-collar folks fail to understand how much money is washing around in this space and how sophisticated many of these non-employers are.
For example, I work from home, yet each year I spend $32K with CareerBuilder, $9K with Salesforce.com, $14K with LinkedIn, $9K with GoDaddy – and it’s not at all uncommon for me to spend big money on domain acquisitions (like AnalyticsJobs.com and CreativeJobs.com in 2013). There’s no committee whose approval I need. If I want something, I buy it – much the same way I’d buy anything online.
For a four-year period, my 4-person firm actually rented office space, but eventually we realized it was a horrendous waste of money and moved back home. My team works from home not because we can’t cut it in Corporate America, but because we wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a lifestyle choice.
We’re fiercely independent, and we love our personal freedom.
This last subhead is incredibly important because in all of marketing, there’s no higher priority than to develop a real affinity with your target customer. Well, in Smart Living Company’s case, the target customer has made a lifestyle choice and is fiercely independent. They are opportunistic. They are self-motivated. They believe in self-determination.
This is Smart Living Company’s customer.
Smart Living Company sells home decor and giftware merchandise that the firm designs and contract-manufactures in the U.S., Asia, and India.. It primarily sells its merchandise to home-based entrepreneurs (“Members”) who resell the merchandise in a variety of ways. Members resell the merchandise offline to boutique retail stores, offline Member home-parties and trunk shows (similar to Stella & Dot), online market places like Amazon.com and eBay.com, and online websites built by Members themselves or by SLC’s partner, eMerchantClub.
Smart Living Company is better than most other home-based businesses because it does not require its Members to buy any merchandise until after the Member sells the merchandise to his or her customers and separately invoices them. There’s no upfront cost other than a monthly pay-as-you-go membership fee. Also, Smart Living Company does not pay Member commissions for signing up other Members so there’s no pyramid structure.
In addition, SLC sells other brands of merchandise direct to consumers as well as to retailers.
The home furnishing wholesale industry took quite a beating during the recession, but revenue is expected to increase 4.6% this year, to nearly $50 billion. As consumer confidence improves and disposable incomes rise, demand for these products should increase. The five-year growth forecast for this industry is very rosy, as consumers are expected to increase their spend on these items. By 2019, the home furnishing wholesale industry could reach $60 billion.
Currently, most of Smart Living Company’s revenues come from the Member channel. My kickoff call with the hiring committee lasted nearly 2 hours, and I have all of SLC’s KPIs as they relate to this search (number of Members; number of 12-month buyers; number of SKUs sold through the Member channel; conversion rate; AOVs; and more).
What’s important to know about the Member channel is that when these customers place an order, the product is “blind drop-shipped” from SLC’s warehouse directly to the Member’s client in a box with the Member’s own label. When the customer receives the package, it looks like it came from the Member, not Smart Living Company. Check it out …
Ultimately, Smart Living Company seeks to reach $100 million by selling through the Member channel, while dramatically growing its direct to consumer business. The synergies between these channels are significant, and the possible channel conflicts are minimal.
Currently, consumers can buy from Smart Living Company at everyday low prices, while Members buy Smart Living Company’s products at wholesale prices for resale on eBay, Amazon and through their own websites. Member’s pay a monthly membership fee of $20 to $40 for the ability to buy these products at deeply discounted wholesale prices.
In a more recent development, SLC has a growing cohort of customers who pay the $40/month fee for the ability to buy at wholesale prices products which their families simply consume. This value proposition is similar to Costco’s, and it represents a significant growth opportunity for the company.
Your job is to make that happen.
Four ways Smart Living Company’s management sees that happening is through large paid search (e.g., Adwords), affiliate (e.g., Commission Junction), email, and coupon marketing initiatives. Additionally, SLC’s new VP of Marketing will need to know how to target, attack, penetrate, and grow new HBE verticals. It’s fine if off-line channels are leveraged, including sponsorships, outbound telemarketing, events, direct mail, networking / referral marketing, and PR.
Your job is to grow the business in a way that is cost effective, brand accretive, and resource friendly. For the most part, management is channeling agnostic. It’s all about maximizing revenue while minimizing cost-per-lead and cost-per-sale.
As you consider applying, ask yourself:
- Do I understand technology, and can I use it to drive results?
- Do I have a track record of developing fantastic creative?
- Can I teach others to leverage my process for developing creative?
- Do I see myself developing and driving a cutting-edge strategy for recruiting new Member’s for Smart Living Company?
- Do I have an analytical bias to the way I make decisions, and do I understand paid search and affiliate marketing at a granular level? (Many candidates think that just because they know the tricks of the trade, they know the trade. This client spent north of $10 million on paid search in 2013, and we are looking for someone who is truly an expert in Google Adwords and Commission Junction. This is a MUST.)
- Is it in my nature to demand to obsess over where an Member came from, what ad campaign drove the entrepreneur to the website, and what they purchased in gross dollars by category, product grouping, or season.
- Do I have a strong track record of driving and measuring gross margin from different customers based on different attributes, and then developing models to replicate the highest performing initiatives based on lifetime value, payback period, or ROAS?
If you can’t answer yes to most of these questions, this might not be the opportunity for you. If you did answer yes, here’s what you can expect in your first 100 days on the job …
The company launched a new website, and they’ll be looking for some groundbreaking variations in its paid search and affiliate initiatives to support it. There are more home-based entrepreneurs than ever before, thanks to high unemployment and 5 years of recession. Many of these people have tremendous drive, and there’s more (and better) technology than ever to work from home. They’re searching for ways to make money, and paid search and affiliate is a tried-and-true growth channel for Smart Living Company.
Likewise, e-mail marketing has always performed well for Smart Living Company, and the company needs you to drive its prospecting efforts through this channel. Additionally, in order to make a major impact, you’ll need very deep knowledge in affiliate marketing, mobile commerce, social media, SEO, coupons, and ecommerce platform integration.
We’re looking for a well-rounded ecommerce leader who knows how to rock the top line.
SLC’s parent company owns many other companies including major online retailers, offline distributors, and manufacturers. They are always in the market for others. Great investment opportunities are a lot more common than great marketers. If you take this job and crush it, then you can expect to be given a significantly greater growth opportunity (personally, professionally, and financially) as you help other sister-businesses grow.
Please APPLY BELOW, or hit me up at (404) 281-2025 if you’d like to discuss.
Thanks! … Harry
- Oversee all online marketing including budgeting, ROI justification and team management
- Revenue and margin performance for PPC, affiliate, SEO, email and other customer acquisition efforts
- Ensure corporate Brand message is communicated clearly through all online digital assets
- Lead / oversee email segmentation strategies that maximize customer life cycle and profitability
- Monitor analysis of marketing programs to make improvements
- Develop and oversee strategies to grow affiliate, comparison shopping and retargeting efforts
- Create and execute digital merchandising and promotion strategy. This includes monthly calendar development and ensuring product availability internally
- Analyze and interpret KPI’s. Monthly/weekly reporting to key stakeholders.
- Develop effective promotional strategies that encourage shoppers to convert to buyers, purchasing in-line product along with seasonal merchandise
- Ensure that all promotions are set up properly in the system and tested
- Manage inventory allocation and work with Operations to secure appropriate inventory for new product launches and ongoing products
- Formulate markdown/off-price strategy with other business units for excess and obsolete products
- Partner with distribution to further optimize ecommerce fulfillment, freight, planning and logistics
- Oversee and execute weekly and monthly reporting including projections and reviews on all key performance metrics
- Train, motivate, and develop team
- Build and maintain key relationships with cross functional team members
Desired Skills and Experience
To do this job successfully, the individual must have a comprehensive understanding of:
- Internet best practices and the impact that these have on SEO
- Internet Marketing best practices that result in customer acquisition, retention and growth
- Managing and directing website Technical Structure, Design & Aesthetics, Content, Navigation, Information Architecture, Branding/Marketing, and Functionality efforts to positively impact eCommerce efforts
Must also possess:
- Business Degree, ideally an MBA
- 5 – 10 years experience managing retail websites
- Ability to specify technical changes to technical/development teams
- An in depth understanding of search engines, search engine optimization and factors that influence high rankings
- Experience with PPC – Management of Pay per click programs
- Ability to compile and analyze search data and metrics and make decisions regarding campaign direction
- Ability to perform click through rate, conversion, spend and creative analysis to identify growth/optimization opportunities
- Outstanding customer service skills
- Ability to work independently and within a team environment
- Strong independent decision-making, organizational, planning and problem-solving skills
Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERE. Candidates, please be sure to email Harry for additional information that will differentiate you in your candidacy. Due to the intensely competitive nature of this search, thorough preparation for these interviews with this proprietary material is strongly recommended.
PS – If you’re thinking about changing jobs this year (through us or anyone else), you might want to check out this post on why even TOP candidates get rejected.