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We are working with Wrigley in their search for a Director of Digital / Ecommerce based in Chicago, IL. This is one of the coolest Chicago ecommerce jobs out there.

Wrigley has been delighting consumers with fun, innovative, high-quality products for over 100 years. From baking powder and soap in Chicago in 1891, to gum, mints, hard and chewy candies, and lollipops, Wrigley has evolved and expanded with an eye to the future and a steady focus on the consumer.

Today with operations in more than 40 countries and distribution in more than 180 countries, Wrigley is a recognized leader in confections with a wide range of product offerings. The firm’s world-famous brands – including Extra®, Orbit®, Doublemint®, and 5™ chewing gums, as well as confectionery brands Skittles®, Starburst®, Altoids® and Life Savers® – create simple pleasures for consumers.

The company is headquartered in Chicago, employs ~17K associates globally, and operates as a subsidiary of Mars, Incorporated. Based in McLean, Virginia, Mars has net sales of more than $30 billion, six business segments including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks, Symbioscience, and approximately 70,000 Associates worldwide that are putting its Mars Principles into action to make a difference for people and the planet through its performance.

HARRYS’ COMMENTS: A few weeks ago I stumbled upon an infographic by the MIT Technology Review. Called The Shopping Decision Tree, the infographic does an excellent job of mapping the flows of consumer demand online. Ever wonder what percent of shoppers visit brick-and-mortar stores (91%), and what percent of those shoppers then check their smartphones for pricing and product information before buying?

This infographic tells you. (39%)

But here’s the thing: What if you manufacture and market a product that’s typically bought on impulse? Like candy and gum. No normal shopper “showrooms” confections, which are typically snapped up by consumers at the checkout counter often because they are actually hungry. I’m an avid fan of Eclipse chewing gum but I rearely go to the store specifically to buy Eclipse.

Usually, I buy Eclipse because I’m already at the store.

Traditionally, Wrigley has been a poster child for stable businesses everywhere. In fact, one of Warren Buffett’s most famous quotes mentions Wrigley in this light: “Our approach is very much profiting from lack of change rather than from change. With Wrigley chewing gum, it’s the lack of change that appeals to me. I don’t think it is going to be hurt by the Internet. That’s the kind of business I like.”

So here we are: You’re open to new ecommerce opportunities, and I’m handling a Chicago-based Director of Digital/Ecommerce search for Wrigley, an iconic american company whose product doesn’t exactly seem to lend itself to being sold online. How can I market an ecommerce search for a company whose product would seem to have an average order value of a few bucks – even though its products are dearly loved by nearly everyone?

Well, there’s a lot more to it than that.

To start with, Wrigley is already selling their product online to outlets like and No surprise there. Online, Wrigley offers a range of chewing gums, candies and mints under dozens of brands, with Extra and Orbit as its billion dollar brands. These brands are loved by kids of all ages, and in my mind, one sort of expects these brands to be sold online because, frankly, they are too important not to sold in such a future oriented way.

These brands need to be where the action is, and increasingly: That’s online. In fact, during my 75 minute kickoff call for this search, this roles hiring manager mentioned that Black Friday sales were down somewhat because fewer consumers showed up in stores. This reduction in traffic will negatively impact gum sales. I confess, I’d never thought of that.

Currently Wrigley’s online business is $5 million, but the company sees a phenomenal amount of potential for ecommerce in the United States. Over time, there’s no reason Wrigley’s ecommerce business can’t swell to several hundred million dollars.

About the Role

Wrigley’s Director of Digital / Ecommerce is accountable for building the firm’s aggressive growth plan for its online business over the next five years. To make this happen, you’ll need a world-class ecommerce acumen, deep business knowledge, and a GM’s mindset. The job will entail working cross functionally with Wrigley’s Channel Customer VPs to align and execute a clear, compelling vision for Wrigley’s ebusiness. Additionally, you’ll lead the organization in the development and coordination of business and sales priorities, strategies, and goals to ensure the attainment of the firm’s five-year ecommerce aspiration.

The role reports directly to Wrigley’s VP of US Sales.

Responsibilities will include developing and hiring a cross functional team; providing direction to direct reports; and driving the strategic priorities of Wrigley’s business. The role will advance Wrigley’s ecom presence in both pure play (like Amazon) and brick-and-mortar accounts (like Walmart) while developing Wrigley’s shopper insights in the new channel. Specific areas of focus for the role include product availability, pricing, digital shopper marketing, shopper insights, and customer development.

Being a garden variety ecommerce “gunslinger” won’t cut it in this role. The position is significantly more strategic than simply buying tons of traffic, tweaking Adwords accounts, or renting and spamming the heck out of email lists. The position will lead Wrigley’s policies and practices required to “win” in ecommerce while working directly with brand leaders and agency partners on strategic programs and initiatives.

You can plan on engaging with Wrigley’s Global Growth Center, which is focused on advancing the firm’s global ecom capabilities and business. You’ll need true leadership DNA, considerable financial acumen, deep experience negotiating across multiple internal and external disciplines, relationship building, customer interface skills, and the ability to navigate and lead through a politically complex and matrixed organization.

And just to be clear: The fact that Wrigley is politically complex does not make it political, per se. In most multichannel situations, ecommerce represents a “blind men and the elephant” proposition. Ecommerce means different things to different executives depending on where they touch it: A CFO will view ecommerce differently than a CMO or a COO. Your job is to help each one see “what’s in it for them” and to drive adoption and alignment in a way that allows everyone to feel represented.

This will be impossible for a Director who is not business oriented and empathic.

As with every CPG ecommerce search I manage, the winning candidate must first and foremost understand Wrigley’s business from beginning to end. Because without a thorough understanding of Wrigley’s model, you won’t be able to create relevant digital commerce strategies and then generate buy-in throughout the organization. That means being able to speak “purchasing” to purchasing executives; “logistics” to logistics executives; “finance” to finance executives, and so on. It’s all about understanding each executive’s hot buttons and using those to drive buy-in.

Wrigley executives are extremely sharp, which means that your methodologies for creating and presenting strategies must be academically rigorous and conform to CPG industry best practices. A knowledge of concepts like Balanced Scorecard would be useful, even though Wrigley did not mention the Balanced Scorcard framework specifically.

Obviously, you’ll be expected to know how to improve Wrigley’s fortunes on Amazon and other third-party marketplaces, but there’s much more to this role than that. This role is about deeply examining Wrigley’s customers’ digital path to purchase, exploring how and why they buy, and determining how Wrigley should market to these customers in a way that makes sense both financially and in terms of improving each Wrigley brands’ emotional resonance with customers. It’s your job is to develop the strategy, design the structure, build the team, and execute profitably.

At the end of 100 days …

… you’ll be well on your way to understanding everything about Wrigley’s business. Omnichannel ecommerce/ ebusiness is likely to be huge for Wrigley, but a team of horses can’t drag a load very far if they’re not pulling in the same direction. Obviously, Wrigley would benefit from greater connectivity between ecommerce and marketing, but ecommerce will likely touch dozens of other functions, including …

  • Product sourcing
  • Order entry/ fulfillment
  • International trade logistics, customs, etc.
  • Contracts management
  • Scheduling
  • Forecasting
  • Asset management
  • Community functionality
  • Receivables management
  • Payment reconciliation
  • Inventory availability
  • Channel management services
  • Route optimization
  • and more

I’m not saying it will touch these functions, but I am saying that it could.

Nearly 3 billion people are now online, roughly HALF of the world’s population. That’s a heck of a lot of confection consumers! Today’s most important technology trends involve multiple devices, multiple screens, and multiple purchasing channels. Connected TVs are on the verge of going mainstream, and wearables are beginning to take off. Cars are increasingly connected and screen fragmentation is creating big challenges and opportunities. Mobile is enabling new forms of entertainment, communication, media, and commerce — and “money follows eyeballs.” Mobile is now more than 20% of ecommerce traffic.

What all of this means for Wrigley remains to be seen.

It will be up to YOU to help unravel these opportunities and potential threats. This role with Wrigley calls for a smart as hell business person with a fantastic bedside manner to help everyone connected with the business understand that “Through and with digital commerce, the company’s best days are ahead of it.”

If that’s you and you can travel up to 40% of the time, please apply below.

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Primary Responsibilities

  • Develop a strategic plan that will enable growth in the ecommerce channel.
  • Work with sales and marketing leaders to develop and drive the company’s long and short term revenue growth strategies.
  • Identify and pursue new opportunities within the channel for business development.
  • Provide strategic thought leadership towards product, packaging and marketing, working closely with the Brand Managers and Customer VPs.
  • Develop a robust Insights, and “Test and Learn” plan that makes Wrigley the Vendor of Choice to partner with retailers to grow their online confectionary (impulse) business.
  • Work with Sales Planning, Supply Chain, and co-packers plus the brand teams to commercialize products for the channel and build and/or enhance sales capabilities.
  • Possess a thorough understanding of the P&L and identify risks and contingency plans.
  • Engage with internal and external customers to align Wrigley’s and customer strategies for optimal mutual growth by leveraging ecommerce to grow sales and Wrigley’s brand equity.
  • Develop and implement ecommerce strategies and tactical plans across key customers. Ensure programs are aligned across customer teams.
  • Provide ecommerce expertise and identify business trends in the online channel for all customer types and how they leverage digital capability.
  • Be responsible for ongoing development of the ecommerce channel through the prospecting of underdeveloped and potential customers using customer segmentation to guide level of customer engagement.
  • Ensure alignment to trade policies.
  • Provide open communication, market/customer expertise, and direction to Global “FAST” team regarding plans implemented in North America.
  • Oversee the coordination of supply chain initiatives, collaborative marketing programs, and other critically important cross-functional partnerships.
  • Manage the talent management process with an emphasis on succession planning and development of bench talent.
  • Lead, coach and develop members of the team.

Job Complexity

  • Dynamic and exploding customer base. Business is expected to represent 1% of total revenue by 2020.
  • Fast-paced and quickly changing business landscape. Must understand and keep current with social and on-line trends.
  • Must be able to develop productive working relationships with all levels, including top level executives at the customer, and all Mars Business Segments.
  • Responsible for Pure Play customer and providing expertise to sales teams for Brick and Mortar customers.
  • Requires cross-functional interaction within the customer team (e.g., Finance, Category Management, Customer Marketing, etc.) as well as Digital, Shopper, and Brand Marketing, CMI, R&D, IT, etc.
  • Responsible for managing the performance in all categories within the Wrigley’s portfolio, across ecommerce.
  • Requires strong understanding of and experience with total P&L management.
  • Strong customer, channel, and partner prospecting ability.
  • Analytical acumen to determine optimal activation through test and learn models
  • Work is balanced 50% interaction with customers / Sales and 50% working across cross-functional teams (internally) to develop product for the channel (externally).
  • Able to assess any customer’s competitive position and strategies and understand how they align with Wrigley’s strategic goals to determine a customer investment strategy (including trade funding, customer marketing and shopper marketing) that will best support a customer’s growth and profit trends.

Experience Required:

  • Education (Minimum Needed): Bachelor’s degree in business or related functional discipline. Master’s degree preferred.
  • Experience (Minimum Needed): 10-12 years of applicable work experience to include consumer product goods. 5 years working in ecommerce related area of business, driving strategy and customer development.

Applications for this position are being coordinated by Harry Joiner. To apply, CLICK HERECandidates, please be sure to email Harry for a packet of market research and company / competitive intel 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.

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