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Team Leader, Strategic Merchandising Initiatives

Organization

Consumer Goods Marketing Company

Situation

This tier 1 marketing company was looking for a director-level individual to lead their category management / merchandising initiatives with their major customers. This was essentially a new role within the industry and one customarily handled in-house by the retail customers. The Client had put the search out to two executive search firms previously with no success. The ExeQfind Group was introduced to the Client company by a new addition to the Human Resources department.

Assessment

This new role required a combination of right brain / left brain skills as there was a high degree of analytical work required as well as creativity in finding innovative, strategic merchandising solutions. The candidate was required to build sophisticated business cases and have the ability to sell concepts both up the line internally and to customers – who were not accustomed to vendors providing this insight.

Challenge

Previous candidates presented by the other search firms were either too creative (coming from the visual merchandising stream), lacking strong business skills or too business focused (coming from the marketing stream) as well as lacking the creative component required by the role. Candidates presented with sales backgrounds were found somewhat lacking on both fronts.

Solution

Our search consultant implemented a strategy to specifically target companies whose primary mode of marketing was through merchandising at point of purchase i.e.: battery companies, cigarette companies, confectionary and snack food companies and the marketing services companies that provided services to these Clients. It stood to reason that companies who spent the bulk of their marketing budget on merchandising initiatives and companies that developed these programs would have the strongest potential candidates.

Candidate

The successful candidate embodied all of the requisite skills. She had an excellent foundation in marketing and sales in tier 1 consumer goods marketing companies and had moved to the more creative environment of a marketing services company where she developed her creative skills. She had been responsible for developing and implementing a number of award winning merchandising concepts for her Clients – including a number of competitors to our Client company. The candidate had the business savvy and creative flare for the role and was an excellent cultural fit for our Client.

Postmortem

At the three month update, the hiring manager stated that the candidate was likely the best hire he had made in his career. The candidate was able to build credibility immediately with their major customers and helped solidify their position as category management leaders. Three years later, the candidate has been promoted twice and continues to be happy and challenged in her new role.

Footnote

We were subsequently named a preferred service provider to this client organization and we continue to work closely with them today.

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