Director of SEO/SEM (Southeast USA)

  • Full Time
  • Southeast USA
  • This position has been filled

  • Full Time
  • Southeast USA
  • This position has been filled

SOUTHEAST USA – With more than 100 digital commerce searches each year, is the leading contingency-based executive search firm serving the, Ad:Tech, and IR-500 communities.

HARRY’S COMMENTS: We’re working with southeastern US-based auto parts retailer in its search for a Director of Search SEO/SEM.

The client seeks a highly sophisticated digital marketing leader with deep expertise in SEO/SEM to own the strategy and execution and lead a team of 10 plus a couple of agencies. You’ve heard of this client, and there’s even a possibility you’ve shopped with them on one of their primary channels: Mobile web, mobile app, or desktop, or in-store.

Some things will never change, however, like the significance of the automotive space. Terrestrial travel isn’t going anywhere.

Last year, 37,000 establishments sold upwards of $90 billion worth of auto parts — a figure that looks to grow by 3.4% by the end of 2021. The industry includes retailers of new and used auto parts, and demand is driven by the age and mileage of vehicles and tends to increase when fewer new cars are sold and older cars are kept on the road longer.

To an auto parts retailer, a recession can be a good thing.

The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 60% of industry revenue. The four largest companies account for about 45% of industry revenue. Competitors include national, regional, and local auto parts chains, independently owned parts stores, online parts stores, wholesale distributors, jobbers, repair shops, car washes, and auto dealers, as well as mass merchandise stores, hardware stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores.

Industry-wide, auto parts are sold to two main groups of customers.

  • Do-it-yourself (DIY) customers are consumers who work on their own cars; and
  • Do-it-for-me (DIFM) customers include commercial installers such as auto repair shops, gas stations, fleet operators, and car dealer service departments.

Parts sellers who provide installation and repair services may also categorize customers of those services as DIFM.

About the Company

Our client is one of America’s leading retailers and distributors of automotive replacement parts and accessories, with hundreds of stores in the United States, Puerto Rico; Mexico; and Brazil. Each store carries an extensive product line for cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks.

Additionally, the company operates a commercial sales program that provides commercial credit and prompt delivery of parts and other products to local, regional and national repair garages, dealers, service stations and public sector accounts.

Its website offers products for pick-up in-store or to be shipped directly to a customer’s home or business. Additionally, it offers smartphone apps that provide customers with store locations, driving directions, operating hours, ability to purchase products and product availability.

The firm classifies its products in three main categories:

1/ Failure: A/C Compressors, Batteries & Accessories, Bearings, Belts & Hoses, Calipers, Carburetors, Chassis, Clutches, CV Axles, Engines, Fuel Pumps, Fuses, Ignition, Lighting, Mufflers, Radiators, Tire Repair, Thermostats, Starters & Alternators, Water Pumps.

2/ Maintenance: Antifreeze & Windshield Washer Fluid, Brake Drums, Rotors, Shoes & Pads, Chemicals, including Brake & Power, Steering Fluid, Oil & Fuel Additives, Oil & Transmission Fluid, Oil, Air, Fuel & Transmission Filters, Oxygen Sensors, Paint & Accessories, Refrigerant & Accessories, Shock Absorbers & Struts, Spark Plugs & Wires, Windshield Wipers

3/ Discretionary: Air Fresheners, Cell Phone Accessories, Drinks & Snacks, Floor Mats & Seat Covers, Interior & Exterior Accessories, Mirrors, Performance Products, Protectants & Cleaners, Sealants & Adhesives, Steering Wheel Covers, Stereos & Radios, Tools, Wash & Wax

Throughout the firm’s vast network, each store carries the same basic products, although the company tailors its inventory to the makes and models of the vehicles in each store’s trade area. Obviously, it takes a sky-high digital IQ to do that, and these people have it.

About the Role

This is a huge role in which you will be the strategic leader for demand generation through all thing’s SEM and SEO. We’re looking for a Strategist! This hire has to be someone who can own the strategy, roadmap, and continuous growth and development of the team.

As you can imagine, this position will have high visibility within a large organization and will require direct contact with C-level and senior cross-functional leaders.

It’s a new role — sort of.

This role has an emphasis on SEM (including Google Shopping, LLAs and PLAs) and SEO (including local). Currently, there are two very capable managers for all of those functions (both of whom have teams reporting to them along with agency resources) — but the company could use your help in determining in which of those channels it should be investing 6-12 months out front.

For timeframes longer than that, you’ll be bringing your strategic acumen to 1/ the firm’s tech toolset, 2/ its content mix and channel selection, 3/ its omnichannel editorial approach, and 4/ its SEO strategy, where the company is doing “okay” — but it needs better ideas on its broader strategy (the roles of mobile-first; voice search; content; speed adoption of PWA technology; video mingled SERPs; and so on).

This role is neither a workout nor a turnaround, and you will have complete ownership of your team and its agencies, as well as a newly launched site.

You won’t believe how much we know about this search!

Allan and I spent a ton of time on the phone with this client teasing out exactly what you’ll need to KNOW and DO to hit the ground running in this role. Some of the things we can share with highly qualified candidates include …

  1. The “real” background requirements for this position, along with the top five things all resumes MUST have to be considered for the role.
  2. 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 job has these — and this one’s no different.
  3. What your average day/week will look like in this role. There’s what you read in the standard job posting … then there’s reality. We’ve got the reality.
  4. The leading and lagging KPI’s that will determine your success in this role. In a nutshell: How you keep score as the firm’s new Digital Content Manager.
  5. 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 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 Allan Seibert at (706) 318-1196 for this info. Or simply use the email link when you apply for the role below.

View Harry Joiner's LinkedIn profileView Harry Joiner’s profile


  • Lead the strategy and execution for the following digital demand channels: PPC, PLA, LIA, SEO, and 3rd party marketplaces
  • Partner with other Digital Directors on the roadmap for B2C and B2B digital marketing capabilities and emerging technologies
  • Own and manage processes for digital content creation and execution related to Search
  • Partner and work with large external marketing agencies and firms
  • Lead and manage a high performing team of search, SEO and online marketing professionals
  • Own and manage several large budgets and part of the online P&L
  • Partner with IT, Marketing and Merchandising


  • 5+ years of leadership experience in building and leading digital marketing strategy
  • Experience within ATG or an equivalent environment preferred
  • Experience working in an established top tier retailer, preferably within an omnichannel and large store footprint model
  • Proven experience leading digital, search and marketing strategy with a history of accelerated growth
  • Must have deep understanding and hands-on experience with SEO (organic search), paid search, the Google ecosystem, SA360 or other management tools
  • Experience in creating and managing integrated multi-dimensional digital campaigns, experience leveraging 1 st party data preferred
  • Experience working with and partnering with outside agencies
  • Strong management and leadership experience
  • Strong analytical and finance experience required
  • Specialty Retail experience is preferred
  • Ability to work actively with a team and cross-functionally to solve issues and/or create opportunities
  • Strong dynamic team leader and mentor
  • Team player with a collaborative approach who shares success
  • Ability to recruit and retain top tier digital talent
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and commitment to empowerment
  • Very strong in technology and business management
  • Excellent analytical, management and communication skills, both written and oral, to synthesize key issues, develop strategies and process, communicate and persuade constituencies towards specific optimized processes and working partnerships
  • Experience managing large Paid Media/SEM Budgets north of 5M.


  • Minimum of 8+ years of total experience in retail, eCommerce, digital commerce, online marketing, mobile commerce, technology or digital business management
  • Prior Director level experience required leading individual contributors and managers
  • Cross-functional team leadership is a must
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing, Business, Digital Design, Technology, Science or equivalent required; MBA preferred
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