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HARRY’S COMMENTS: I’m working with a confidential cosmetics client in their search for a proven VP of Marketing and Ecommerce based in a midwest city with more than 250,000 people.
That’s right. The job is in the midwest. But here’s why you should keep reading …
I’ve worked with thousands of ecommerce candidates, and I know who you are.
You are a Director or VP-level A-player who’s looking to take your DTC beauty career to the next level, but your boss is a world class marketer in her own right and she’s not going anywhere soon. Plus, you’re in NYC (or LA or Chicago) where rising stars like you are a dime a dozen.
You feel frustrated and trapped …
You’re looking for that big break that will allow you to make a name for yourself.
Well, this is that break. The fact that this role is in mid-sized city is a feature, not a bug. It’s what makes this opportunity awesome. It’s as if Harvard Business School moved to a midwest town a fraction of the size of Boston. If you were admitted to HBS under such circumstances, would you still want to attend?
After all, you’re not moving there forever. It’s a means to an end, not an end unto itself. If you are the type of business oriented A-player I’m looking for, then this makes perfect sense to you.
About the Company
I’d like to be super clear about something: This company has a very well established DTC ecommerce business. The company is profitable and, life to date, has sold product to more than 1 million people. It’s a well run business with minimal revenue from Amazon and double digit growth throughout the last decade.
This role is NOT a workout, and it’s NOT a turn around.
The business is not broken, and its best days lie ahead of it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the concept, the business model, the economics, the team, the technology stack, or the product line. You won’t be straightening deck chairs on the Titanic.
How on earth would I know this? Am I an expert on the beauty business?
NO! And precisely because I’m not a beauty industry expert, I recruited an actual beauty industry expert to attend this search’s kickoff call. This fellow is a former GM of one of the most popular skincare brands of all time. (Yes, he signed an NDA, and yes we paid him a handsome fee.) Here’s a partial list of what we covered on the call …
All-time customers … Facebook / Instagram likes … Email list size, skew, and productivity … Total Web Customers … Churn rate … Amazon customers … Google Express Customers … IR-1000 ranking … List of IR-1000 competitors … Brand Statement/USP … Brand Mission … Cause Marketing Info … Genesis Story / History … Primary Brand Attributes … Path to Purchase … AOV … LTV … Conversion rate … Primary Acquisition Channels … Primary CRM Tools … Loyalty Programs … Control Creative …and more.
The kickoff call was a magic show, and subject to your signing an NDA, I’m happy to bring you up to speed.
The company is primed for more growth, and it has barely scratched the surface of ethnicities in the country. For example, the brand has only 7% Hispanic customers as compared to the 18.3% in the US. However, the brand does very well with Asian consumers (7% vs 5.9% in America). African-Americans are way underrepresented as well (less than 7% vs 13.4% in America).
Lots of low hanging fruit.
Plus, the company has a very affluent customer base: 46% of its base is earns more than $100K per year, and 16% earns $200K/up. Its online ratings and reviews are better than Zappos, and its employees are as passionate about the company as its customers. Which makes sense, given that the firm has never had a layoff or a down year.
I know what you’re thinking: “If the company is so awesome, why is this role even open?”
Answer: Because the client needs a proven, sophisticated, innovative, Quant-turned-fashionista DTC leader to take them to the next level, and that kind of talent simply isn’t available in their backyard. Plus, they needed an established recruiter to do what I’m doing here: Bring their story to a wider audience.
In terms of the broader industry, I’m excited by the growth potential, like …
Organic and Natural Products – Industrywide, there’s been an increased focus on health and well-being, a rising incidence of allergies, and concern about chemical safety. These factors have dramatically increased demand for organic and natural cosmetics. Generally, such products are 30% to 50% more expensive than traditional beauty products, providing growth opportunities for forward-thinking brands.
Targeting Aging Consumers – The aging US population creates a massive opportunity for anti-aging face and body care products. The US population 65/up will increase by HALF between 2016 and 2030 (compared to a 10% CAGR in the total population). Aging Boomers and Gen X has higher disposable income and a heightened willingness to stay in shape and buy prestige personal care products. Ka-CHING!
New Target Markets – The men’s, tweens (9- to 12-year-olds), millennials, and ethnic markets are growth opportunities for personal care product manufacturers. The primary focus for personal care products has traditionally been women. Men, tweens, and ethnic segments are relatively untapped for products designed to meet their needs.
Leading a team of >35, your job will involve:
- Growing the business, refining search strategy, implementing a programmatic strategy, and innovating these strategies as the beauty category evolves.
- Understanding DTC ecom best practices required to compete with power players such as Amazon, Ulta and Sephora.
- Making customers happy
- Delivering amazing experiences
- Achieving commercial success (revenue and profit)
- Defining and protecting the brand
Bottom line: We need a proven (!!), financially literate, strategically savvy, analytically biased people builder who knows how to organize and lead a team in a reality-based way. Hard on the issues and soft on the people.
The client’s ecommerce business is REALLY BIG. They direct mail (lots) and email (lots). They have a product that lends itself to a subscription model (see 18:31). They’re sophisticated. The margins are good. There’s a talented team. And there’s nothing wrong with their tech stack.
The client needs you to reinforce its brand DNA across every customer touch point. This will require you to do the work to understand “what the brand stands for” and strengthen the entire company’s grasp of integrated, modern marketing.
The name of the game will be defining and delivering a seamless, aspirational brand experience that allows the customer to feel better about herself because of her relationship with the brand.
One last thing: Most marketing VPs are inconsistent on the issue of culture. Many have NO clue how to inspire their teams to act on data and brand intelligence. That cannot be you! In this role you’ll only be as good as your ability to get things done through others.
Anyway. I’ll stop now.
I spent FOUR HOURS on the phone with this client’s hiring committee 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 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 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 as the firm’s new VP of Marketing and Ecommerce.
- 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.
I have a massive amount of proprietary intel to share with qualified candidates. My 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.
- Build and shape a highly effective world class Marketing / Ecommerce organization.
- Partner with executive team to architect and continually update and optimize integrated marketing strategy with a focus on customer acquisition and retention, website analytics and experience, CRM and social media.
- Serve as a liaison and primary point of contact within the Marketing organization for cross functional partners acting as a project manager to evaluate, prioritize, develop, manage, implement and test Marketing initiatives.
- Manage all aspects of web analytics related to marketing / ecommerce and communicate relevant information to team members, executive team and cross-functional partners. Communicate strategies and results to senior management on a consistent basis
- Foster a culture of continuous innovation / optimization by developing and implementing a strong framework for fast, recurring and iterative testing.
- Partner with key cross-functional teams to ensure all relevant organizational goals and implications are factored into Marketing projects.
- Support and amplify larger brand initiatives with digital programs
- Lead marketing analytic strategy across devices and channels to develop an actionable 360 degree view of the customer
- Generate innovative ideas for marketing, digital commerce technology, customer experience and other areas in order to grow profitable sales and improve the firm’s competitive advantage.
- Continually assess the effectiveness of all existing operations and current needs based on new technology and market competition
- Oversee re-development of websites to reflect key brand concepts, and maintain brand identity on an ongoing basis.
- Direct website enhancements to improve conversion, including visualization tools, personalization, and Content Management System. Maximize website design and content for search engine optimization.
- Identify promotions, content, advertising and contact strategies to develop customers at a predefined acquisition cost or contribution, and to maximize contribution per customer over the customer lifecycle.
- Develop business plan and annual budget for DTC marketing and ecommerce functions. Manage the ecommerce P&L and partner with direct mail circulation to exceed revenue and company-wide profit targets.
- Define mid and long-term road map for taxonomy, features and functionality to improve the user experience.
- Drive best practices for ecommerce opportunities, processes and tools through continuous learning, keeping abreast of ecommerce trends and innovation.
- Map out the operations plan to support this growth for the firm’s commerce business, including infrastructure, software, and logistics.
- Bachelors degree from an accredited university
- 7+years’ Marketing and Digital Marketing experience at well-known digital / media /ecommerce companies with expertise in brand building and brand storytelling
- Extremely deep experience in web and usability principles, including A/B and multivariate testing
- Extensive knowledge of and passion for Digital Marketing Best Practices that result in customer acquisition, retention and growth and managing a DTC ecommerce P&L
- Knowledge of search engine optimization, mobile marketing and performance marketing
- Outstanding analytical skills, strong experience interpreting test results & drawing conclusions and able to define metrics, instrument their measurement, and lead a team to hit them
- Demonstrated business judgment and decision-making skills; ability to identify, prioritize, and articulate highest impact initiatives
- Experience in leading teams and developing people in a creative and entrepreneurial environment.
- Prior beauty experience not required, but must have a strong interest in the beauty category
- Excellent verbal, written, and presentation skills; strong multitasker with the ability to work effectively under tight deadlines in a stressful environment. Ability to juggle several assignments simultaneously
- Strong passion for testing, data and metrics, curiosity and belief in discovering insights in data
- Solid understanding of digital marketing technology
- Excellent quantitative and analytical skills. Must be able to use and analyze data to inform media strategies and optimization