Hiring Your First Head of eCommerce and Digital Marketing

The Challenge

The Client is a multi-billion-dollar retailer and distributor of electrical products. In business for over 100 years, their operations are primarily in Canada however also conduct business throughout the Americas.

They identified eCommerce as a priority for their business and set ambitious growth targets. However, its eCommerce platform and digital marketing function was lacking, and they needed to prioritize its revenue growth opportunity. With no expertise in-house, they decided to look externally for a subject matter expert to lead this endeavour. Adding to the challenge, The Client had been acquired by a large public company within the last decade, so it was crucial the parent company was engaged and kept in the loop throughout the search.

Andrew Todd

Andrew is a Director in the Executive Search & Interim Management practice at B. Riley Farber. He specializes in end-to-end national and international professional executive search.

Since the pandemic began, eCommerce and digital marketing professionals have been in greater demand. In fact, candidates have been receiving reach-outs from multiple recruiters, targeted by companies looking to enhance and grow their online revenue streams. Clearly, a proactive search would be necessary to attract and engage qualified candidates.

The Solution

B. Riley Farber was a good fit to take on this recruiting assignment. We were closely connected to The Client’s CEO from previous search and human capital work with their former employer, and we had just completed a similar search with another client. A budget had been approved for the role and based on a call with The Client’s C-suite team, we were able to demonstrate our understanding of the assignment and acumen around eCommerce and digital marketing.

Our solution involved a nationwide search for suitable talent —providing weekly updates to keep The Client well informed. We needed to source an executive with demonstrated experience in building a platform from the ground up to a significant size. However, in addition to technical capabilities, we required a strategic thinker with exceptional emotional intelligence (EQ).

As the search progressed, it became apparent that a key skill of the candidate would be the ability to manage the relationship with the parent company, given the corresponding efforts in developing a platform for both entities. This placed a premium on relationship development, management skills, and the ability to partner with all levels within the business as well as other external stakeholders. B. Riley Farber narrowed down the search to a shortlist of four candidates—including two from within the client’s direct industry sector and two from aligned industries. In addition, two were local to the Client while two would require relocation. At this point, the parent company and the CEO were both actively involved in the final selection.

The Outcome

Given our detailed knowledge of the candidate’s compensation and benefits package and their expectations, The Client, with our guidance, produced a fair and attractive offer that the candidate accepted without hesitation. Although growth and career progression were of greater interest and value to the candidate, in such a competitive market, The Client demonstrated their intent to hire and fairly reward based on the deliverables the candidate will undertake.
Within the first few weeks, feedback from both sides has been excellent. The Client has found their leader and the candidate relished the opportunity to build an eCommerce and digital marketing platform from scratch. In addition, the career opportunity included leveraging the platform for use by the much larger public company parent.

The candidate is doing exceptional work, connecting with the executive team and handling the relationship with the parent company well. They are going above and beyond what is expected of them and, as a social and personable individual, they are spending as much time in the office as possible and having a positive impact on the company and the people they interact with on a daily basis

Three months in, The Client’s website is up and running, the backend is underway, and adoption, training, and rollout are all progressing extremely well. It appears that The Client is well on its way to its targeted revenue growth.

Value of an External Search Partner for Emerging Leadership Roles

As the company was in growth mode, they were looking for a leader to evolve the function as the business expanded and took on new initiatives. Discover how we helped.