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We are working with Brady Corp in their search for a Sr. Manager of Digital Experience based in Chicago, IL. This is one of the coolest online retail 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.

Although this role is based in Chicago, Brady is headquartered in Milwaukee and employs approximately 6,500 people worldwide. The firm’s fiscal 2012 sales were approximately $1.32 billion. Brady stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BRC.

The Sr. Manager, Digital Experience reports to the Director, eCommerce & Digital. The Site Search Manager, Conversion Optimization Manager, Website Administrator, and Front End Developer report up to the Sr. Manager, Digital Experience.

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 of course,, 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?

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:

  • Develop, implement, and own the digital experience strategy for the 7 Brady Workplace Safety websites.
  • Lead the UX, design, and testing teams with an emphasis on conversions and driving growth.
  • Manage the technical and UX development queue while ensuring that tactical improvements and design changes get done quickly.
  • Be intimately knowledgeable in current trends in visual and interaction design for mobile, tablet, and desktop.
  • Conceptualize new features, functionalities, and improvements to our existing user experience in collaboration with the UX, product, analytics, design, testing, and executive teams.
  • Act as the digital experience and UX thought leader throughout the organization.
  • Stay current on emerging trends in online consumer behavior, technologies and design.
  • Drive strategic vision to design efforts that focus on delivering world class user experiences; create a link between the work of the team and the mission and values of the organization.
  • Excel at working with all departments to ensure the creative output is world-class and continuously optimized to maintain a focus on usability and structural integrity as work is translated to visual design.
  • Keep the team continually engaged on profitable endeavors to drive revenue growth.

Required Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • 10+ years of experience in ecommerce
  • 5+ years successfully leading conversion focused digital teams and driving growth
  • Demonstrated ability to bridge silos and work effectively across disciplines, locations, and levels
  • Experience with Agile software development processes
  • Deep understanding of UX best practices for web-based and mobile applications
  • Strong leadership, coaching, and mentoring skills
  • Expertise in both interaction design and user research
  • BA/BS degree

Desired Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Advanced degree in Design, Psychology, HCI, or Human Factors preferred
  • Experience with Endeca, Maxymiser, SiteCore & Magento, Adobe Analytics, ClickTale
  • Leads by providing clear strategic direction, setting high standards, fostering entrepreneurialism, demonstrating flexibility, and bringing innovation to the business
  • High energy level, with a strong sense of urgency and the ability to maximize a changing landscape.


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