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We are working with Brady Corp in their search for a Sr. Manager of Ecommerce based in Chicago, IL. This is one of the coolest Chicago ecommerce jobs around!

Brady Corporation is an international manufacturer and marketer of complete solutions that identify and protect premises, products and people. Its products help customers increase safety, security, productivity and performance and include high-performance labels and signs, safety devices, printing systems and software, and precision die-cut materials.

Founded in 1914, the company has more than 500,000 customers in electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, electrical, construction, and a variety of other industries. Brady is headquartered in Milwaukee and employs approximately 6,500 people at operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia/Pacific. Brady’s fiscal 2012 sales were approximately $1.32 billion. Brady stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BRC.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: There is so much to like about these two searches with Brady Corporation that it’s hard to know where to begin my commentary. Our friend Craig Madden is now completely in charge of Brady’s ecommerce operating activities, and the entire ecommerce team has been consolidated in Chicago – one of America’s top towns for ecommerce. When you’re building a business, there’s nothing like being close to the talent!

Brady is a manufacturer and distributor of workplace safety compliance and identification solutions, and it makes money primarily through the sale of these items into some of the deepest B2B markets in existence. The firm’s primary online retail websites include,,,, and,, and ofcourse,, which was relaunched recently …

Brady’s ecommerce business has enjoyed respectable growth rates in the last five years, but to hear Craig tell it, “There’s so much more that the company could be doing online. When one thinks of all the places our products are used … restaurants, hotels, retail stores, gas stations, offices, manufacturing environments, you name it … the possibilities for growth are pretty much endless.”


Brady’s primary product categories include Banners and Flags; Eco-Friendly Safety Signs; Facility Signs; Fire & Exit Signs; First Aid Signs; Message Boards; Mining Signs; No Smoking Signs; Office and Engraved Signs; OSHA Safety Signs; Posters & Charts; Security Signs; Shipping and Truck Signs; Sign Posts and Accessories; Traffic and Parking Signs; Warehouse Signs; and more.

You direct marketers: Please think about that for a minute.

Did you realize that there are four different types of recency? Yep. Some types of recency are better than others, and there’s a hierarchy. According to Libey and Pickering’s RFM and Beyond, ranked in terms of “strength,” the descending levels of recency are …

  1. Legally compelled: This is the highest intensity level of recency, and it applies to products like labor law posters, which customers must buy whether they like it or not.
  2. Dependency compelled: This is a middle intensity level of recency which applies to products like coffee and tobacco. Usually, addicted customers will buy these products before they buy anything else.
  3. Functionally compelled: Also a middle intensity type of recency, functionally compelled products include things like light bulbs. You can sit in the dark if you want to, but it’s probably not a great idea.
  4. Socially compelled: This is the lowest intensity type of recency, and it applies to products like deodorant. It’s not against the law for a person to stink, and most people are more inclined to stink than walk around in the dark.

Footnote: While I was researching my copy for this job posting, I asked several VP-level direct marketers whom I respect to name the four types of recency and none could do it. Yet last year I read an interview with Silicon Valley kingpin, Marc Andreessen, who alluded to these degrees of recency as significant criteria for his investments such as BuzzFeed, Oculus Rift, Foursquare, Twitter, and Skype.

Make of that what you will. (#Ahem!)

Anyway. The reason I bring this up now is that in many instances, Brady’s products are legally compelled. Businesses are often required to buy products like OSHA compliance posters. Which, if I’m a marketer, I’m loving that. I’m also loving the fact that Brady was founded in 1914 and has more than 500,000 customers in electronics, telecommunications, manufacturing, electrical, construction, and a variety of other industries. It’s an online merchant and database marketer’s dream come true.

Brady turned 100 years old on the day of my kickoff call with Craig, and the firm’s history, products, and ability to innovate differentiate it very effectively in the marketplace. Remember, Brady is vertically integrated, meaning they design and manufacture much of what they sell. In fact, the underlying economics of Brady’s business are so favorable that it actually sells to many of its competitors.

When the last time you had an economic advantage like that?

The Sr. Manager, Ecommerce reports to the Director, Ecommerce & Digital. The Ecommerce Managers and the Website Administrator report up the Sr. Manager, Ecommerce. Normally, my job postings include a ridiculous amount of detail regarding the nature of the job itself, but for competitive reasons, I’m not going to include that this time around.

Simply know this: My kickoff call with Craig lasted 127 minutes, and my call notes include 6500 words of proprietary information on Brady’s online revenues; traffic; average order values; conversion rates; SKUs; ecommerce strategies; specific problems that exist due to this position being open; 100 day key initiatives for this position; the 11 ecommerce disciplines critical to this role’s success in the next 12 months; org charts; and a very lengthy laundry list of character traits that candidates must demonstrate in order to get the job.

Plus, there’s like $2500 worth of market research I’m including as well.

The key take away for ecommerce candidates is that this is a fantastic opportunity for both personal and professional growth. Clearly, in terms of its online retail business, Brady’s best days are ahead of it: The company’s underlying economics are tilted in its favor, and the vibe in the company’s Chicago digital center of excellence feels like a startup. If you are looking to do reputation-enhancing work for a great group of folks, then Brady’s your place.

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Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage all aspects of strategy execution. Drive and develop the ecommerce team to achieve channel deliverables and revenue targets.
  • Lead the day-to-day operations of team including site merchandising, promotion planning and execution as well as liaison with internal customer support, product management, and multi-channel marketing teams.
  • Develop a long-term roadmap, including marketing, competitive positioning, business development, merchandising and content initiatives designed to grow the overall business.
  • Create and establish policies and standards for short-term and long-term online sales and operations strategies.
  • Identify and communicate key responsibilities and practices to ensure the immediate team of direct reports promotes a successful attitude, confidence in leadership, and teamwork to achieve desired business goals.
  • Oversee the team that deploys and maintains onsite content, utilizes site analytics to drive product and merchandising decisions, collaborates with leadership on strategy, product & brand content stories for development across the sites.
  • Partner with stakeholders throughout the company to prioritize eCommerce initiatives; serving as the diplomat who mediates and campaigns for what features, functionality and user interface drive the best customer experience and greatest business impact.
  • Maximize ecommerce results and create alignment and synergy across functions.
  • Measure key site operating metrics and driving continuous innovation & improvements in customer experience, business performance, and operational efficiencies.

Required Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Minimum of 10 years of experience in an on-line retail environment
  • Minimum of 6 years of experience in a key managerial role in eCommerce
  • Bachelor’s Degree in business, marketing or related field
  • Demonstrated ability to develop strategies and tactics to drive traffic to website, implement site enhancements and continuous improvement in user experience
  • Experience using web analytic tools
  • Familiarity with financials and budgeting.
  • Strong analytical skills and a pattern of fact-based decision-making.

Desired Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Strong leader: capable of managing and motivating a team in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. Strong strategic focus with ability to identify opportunities, develop strategies and sell in to leadership. Ability to lead teams through organizational changes with grace and professionalism.
  • Drives for results: Ability and desire to work at both the strategic and tactical levels with proven success at developing integrated digital campaigns from strategy through execution with a passion for driving profitable growth.
  • Experience with the following; Endeca Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics, Magento or SiteCore, Maxymiser, and ClickTale, AdWords


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