July 23, 2007

Vice President of Business Intelligence And New Business Development, American Girl

A fundamental shift in the job requirements of analytical individuals is occurring across Corporate America. The shift is not positive for E-Mail Marketers, Catalog Circulation Marketers, Online Marketers, Business Intelligence Analysts, and Web Analytics staff.

Read this job description, found on the Marketing Sherpa Job Board, for a VP of Business Intelligence and New Business Development at American Girl.

This position proactively leads the identification and development of actionable consumer insights, market and competitive understanding. This person will translate information gained through the Analytics Services and Consumer Insights areas into actionable implications and assist in the application of these insights into the American Girl strategic plan. Requirements: *Bachelor's degree, Master's degree (MBA) preferred *Minimum of 10 years of experience working in Consumer Products Industry to include Consumer Research and Analytical Services or significant experience in consulting with a major consulting firm. *Direct Marketing Analytics experience at a multi-channel company preferred *Experience contributing to the strategic planning process preferred *Familiarity with multiple channels of distribution, with special emphasis on direct mail and branded retail preferred *Significant P&L experience preferred *Consulting for a major consulting firm preferred.

Notice how this position focuses on using the insights of the Analytical Services and Consumer Insights areas. Notice that this person will come from the Consumer Products Industry, or will have Consulting experience from a major consulting firm (preferred).

In the past five years, our zeal to be "multichannel marketers" caused us to scatter in a dozen different directions --- all honing our skills in different specialties, becoming experts at a tiny fraction of what matters to our customers. We failed to develop a global view of our business. Our leaders don't have confidence in having a web analytics expert do anything else than study web analytics. Our leaders don't believe the e-mail marketer can also drive a social media plan, or can manage television advertising campaigns.

To thank us for diving headfirst into a niche, becoming a subject matter expert, our companies are looking to hire leaders who know how to position eight varieties of Cheerios among potential customers, or know how to articulate opportunities to what is know as individuals in the "C-Level Suite".

If you're an individual working at a catalog, online, retail or multichannel organization, and you have less than ten years of corporate experience, this is a really good time to change course.

Instead of being the expert at working with CheetahMail to get e-mails delivered through AOL, or being the expert at getting CoreMetrics to help you accurately measure the effectiveness of various landing pages, or being the catalog circulation expert who measures the LTV of Abacus-sourced new names --- become the person who is the expert at knowing how EVERYTHING FITS TOGETHER, telling a story that helps executives know what they need to do to be successful.

Right now, your business leaders don't believe in you. They believe in a person who knows how to build a business plan for Cool Ranch Doritos, who knows how to speak to executives. This is the third job description of this nature I've run across over the past four months.

One person, working a division that is now being led by one of these "newly qualified leaders", told me that the new leader (with qualifications similar to this job description) communicated that the circulation folks "knew nothing of actual customer behavior".


It's time to stop talking about RFM, HTML vs. Text, Black-Lists, SEO, PPC, CGM, DMPC, Conversion Rate or Landing Pages.

It's time to stop talking about subject line testing as a "strategy".

It's time to stop talking about paid search as a "strategy".

It's time to stop talking about getting e-mails through GMail as a "strategy".

It's time to stop talking about working with Abacus or Millard/Mokrynski as a "strategy".

It's time to actually create actionable business strategies that merchants and executives understand, and can act upon. More important, it's time for us to be able to articulate our strategies in a way that executives and merchants understand.

If we fail to do this, the folks who manage the "Twinkies" brand will do this for us. I've been impacted by this evolution in job description. I don't want for you to be impacted.

Your thoughts?


  1. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Great post Kevin!

    There is a huge dearth of talent that can successfully balance left and right brain thinking - for those folk out there that have the skills, the opportunities right now are endless.

  2. It's one of those curious things that the more tools and technology we give folks, the more we learn we really need people skills.

    And our businesses haven't spent the past decade building people skills. In my field, we invested in multichannel systems improvements, online marketing tools and e-mail marketing tools.

    Let's hope my industry invests in people --- and let's hope people invest in themselves!!


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