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One of the coolest CMO jobs around!
HARRY’S COMMENTS: I’m working with a confidential DTC client in their search for a CMO based in the Mountain Time Zone. How’s that for specific?
Here’s the thing:
I’d like to be transparent about the scope of this role and the issues facing my client, but their competitors read my postings (so anything I say can and will be held against my client). Additionally, the client ran their own CMO posting on Linkedin and received hundreds of applications. They’ve asked me to bring order to this hiring process, so here we are.
The company’s origin story is fantastic.
The company designs, produces and markets baby clothing and accessories. The firm got its start nearly a decade ago when its founder, a young mother of two, became frustrated by the lack of well-designed baby apparel and on a shoestring budget began experimenting with designs at her kitchen table.
That’s was nearly a million Instagram followers ago.
Today, the company is doing a very healthy 8-figures online and expects to reach $100 million in the next 5 years. For this search’s kickoff call a spent nearly 2 hours with the company’s CEO (formerly with McKinsey & Company) and one of its private equity partners. These are super smart people who know what they’re doing.
Just as important, the brand is in excellent shape.
Very often when new clients call me, their brand isn’t in the best shape. I’m not hating when I say that. It’s hard to establish and build a brand. Some of the questions a founder must ask herself include …
- As a company, who are we? Where does our passion lie? Could we write a future obituary for our brand?
- What do we do? What’s our purpose beyond selling a product? What business are we really in?
- What’s our vision? What do we want to accomplish in the next 5, 10, 20 years?
- What trends are powering the business?
- Who shares the brandscape? Who else competes in the category? What’s our plan for being number one or number two?
- What makes us the “only?” What’s the one thing that makes our brand different and compelling?
Amazingly, my client’s founder got these things right from the get-go. Although she had no formal business training, she seemed to understand that in today’s world, real competition comes not only from other companies — but from extreme clutter in the marketplace.
She decided firmly that the company would be in the business of giving moms the products and inspiration to build a beautiful and memorable life — and it would do this by creating camaraderie, providing delightful experiences, and innovating high-end products.
For the first few years, she personally oversaw the home-based production of her product, knowing in her heart that one’s brand isn’t what the Marketing Dept says it is; it’s what one’s customers say it is.
Her customers (including Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba) loved her for it — and the brand ended up being embraced by Oprah (yes, that Oprah), Ellen, InStyle, Vogue, Elle, Bazaar, HuffPo, and tons of other outlets. It was an embarrassment of social media riches, none of which was wasted nor taken for granted.
That’s where YOU come in.
The client seeks a proven DTC ecom leader with DEEP experience building profitable online brands. Keyword: Profitable. If you’ve led ecom marketing at a venture-backed firm that burns cash like there’s no tomorrow, this isn’t the gig for you.
The company is well-positioned to penetrate several established categories in the baby/kid space, and Management needs an ecommerce CMO who can …
- Formulate the strategy
- Segment the market
- Build the brand
- Intensify customer focus
- Develop key metrics
- Improve marketing ROI
- Build a high-performance team
- Enhance customer value, and
- Be a change agent, both internally and externally.
To be clear: This role is not a turnaround. The company is in great shape, with 70% of its sales coming through its own DTC website with the balance of its merch being sold through major national retailers like Nordstrom. More than HALF of the firm’s DTC online business is subscription-based.
Therefore, the hiring committee imagines that its new CMO will have run AT LEAST a $30 million business with an ad budget of ~$3 million.
Additionally: With a MASSIVE, ENGAGED following on social media, Management knows that its philosophy towards digital community and customer service has been the key to the brand’s success. Meaning, if you don’t have proven experience selling organically on Instagram, etc — don’t apply.
I hate to be that way, but you just won’t get hired here.
If you DO have extensive experience selling on Instagram, please understand that you will have a $3 million marketing budget to work with. Don’t expect to blow $10 million buying $5 million worth of new customers. The founder has been running marketing herself and expects you to be more resourceful than that.
Each year there are 4 million new moms in America. Only 25% of those have the money to be this brand’s customer. You’ll need to identify the “force multipliers” inherent in the product/market fit which will allow you to build what’s essentially a subscription-based baby lifestyle brand.
Lookit: Do you have kids? My wife and I have six.
If you’ve had a baby, then you know that for the first 2-3 years of its life everything you buy for your baby exists to 1.) make your life or your baby’s life more enjoyable, and 2.) create a memory. Clever marketing will only get you so far. The product needs to be first-rate. That’s especially the case with baby apparel and accessories — which are often a sensory experience. This firm’s products are the best.
If you’ve ever heard the expression “people buy products and join brands,” that’s what’s happening here. You’ll be acquiring new customers and taking them the brand’s journey as you launch NEW products and BRANCH OUT into new categories.
Bring your playbook for these things!
Your role will be to work with leading designers and writers to “place” the brand correctly within its competitive set plus identify which brands the company should aspire to be. (What should this company BE when it grows up?) Naturally, you must be strategically minded and able to offer sound opinions on the brand’s current channel strategy and future vision.
If you have a proven track record of building a brand vision (informed by clean data and rigorous, hypothesis-driven analysis) and articulating that vision in a way that inspires confidence — then by all means, please apply below.
You won’t believe how much we know about this search …
Like I said, I spent a ton of time on the phone with the client teasing out exactly what you’ll need to KNOW and DO to hit the ground running in this role. Some of the things I can share with highly qualified candidates include …
- The “real” background requirements for this position, along with the top five things all resumes MUST have to be considered for the role.
- The top five problems that exist due to this position being open. These are the little brush fires you will be expected to put out during your first month on the job. Every CMO job has these — and this one’s no different.
- What your average day/week will look like in this role. There’s what you read in the standard CMO job posting … then there’s reality. We’ve got the reality.
- The leading and lagging KPI’s that will determine your success in this role. In a nutshell: How you keep score.
- The major projects you’ll need to complete by Day 100 to be considered a home-run in this position. We’ve got the lowdown on how you can plug-and-play and drive REAL value in this CMO job.
We have a massive amount of proprietary intel to share with qualified candidates. Our industry research for this assignment exceeds 100 pages! Be sure to TEXT Harry Joiner at (404) 281-2025 for this info. Or simply use the email link when you apply for the role below.
- Drive the planning, forecasting, and optimization of a multichannel DTC acquisition and loyalty strategy that will drive new-to-file and revenue growth
- Manage multimillion-dollar DTC acquisition budget, prioritizing resources to Owned and Paid channels to meet the firm’s growth objectives.
- Research and identify high-potential channels, making acquisition recommendations based on research and data
- Develop a roadmap that optimizes the company’s conversion funnels, working cross-functionally to implement it
- Mentor, train, and grow the company’s Marketing team plus a network of agencies to scale with the company
- 7+ years of DTC marketing experience in high-growth consumer-facing environments. Ecommerce experience is required.
- Strong knowledge of digital testing and measurement tools
- Track record of leading/managing effective programs that generate results through SEO, affiliate, paid digital (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Yahoo, Bing), email, out of home, and print
- Proven ability to optimize the brand’s site for conversion
- Ability to lead and scale a high-performing marketing team
- Proven experience setting DTC strategies and building teams bring them to life.
THIS SEARCH IS CLOSED.