executive positions

Confusion. Now Available in Digital.

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I’m having a LOT of conversations about the need for digital talent. There seems to be an endless stream of confusion around this topic in general and even more questions around who to hire and for what type of role.

We’re just not sure exactly what we need. We’re having a hard time distilling down our goals into a translatable job description and functional position. How do we structure the role within the larger organization; who are their cross functional partners? 

Does this sound familiar? Let’s all take a deep breath and consider the solution…

Step 1: Determine leadership level

You know you need digital leadership but maybe you can’t afford a senior level executive. Hey, no hard feelings. This is real life. Director level talent will still offer the leadership you need to develop strategy, build and guide teams while still having close hands-on experience with execution. 

Step 2: Name your price

On a budget? Forget the C-Suite, skip the VP and aim for Director level talent. This will cut your price tag in half. Literally. Decide what you can afford, realistically.

Step 3: Structure the role

You have a lot of needs but aren’t sure how to structure a position that reflects your goals. I could wax on about the various functions within DTC but instead I’ll break it down into three major camps of talent for the sake of sanity and simplicity. Emphasis sanity.

Digital Marketing: Integrated marketing channels i.e. SEO, email, paid search, paid social, PPC, etc. Highly analytical and driven by KPIs and metrics.

Brand / Content Marketing: Brand communication strategy. Establishes creative tone, content and copy through channels. Typically, more creative and conceptual.

eCommerce: Site functionality, site experience, operational and sales. Customer acquisition and retention.

Major broad strokes but most Digital and DTC roles will align with one of these three. You can mix and match or combine elements from each role as well.

Customize. 

There’s no one size fits all. When we develop digital positions, we begin by determining the long term strategic goals and then reverse engineer the position based on these goals considering the company size, needs and circumstances both immediate and future. 

Happy Hunting

Endangered List:  Chief Digital Officer

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Author: Maggie Walsh

When it comes to C-Suite positions, executives can generally count on the staying power of their position. Most companies will always need a CEO, a CFO, and a CMO. But what about the relatively new Chief Digital Officer (CDO)? Can they count on a tenured spot within the company? The strategy for most CDO positions is a relatively short-term one. Companies expect a CDO to come on board, right the digital ship, and then move those maintenance and update responsibilities to parallel executives, like marketing, technology or information.

A November 2017 study predicted that the CDO will be phased out of most companies by 2025 (gartner.com). That feels counter-intuitive, given how digital-driven life has become in 2018. The reason for the disappearing CDO is twofold. One, a lot of the responsibilities that belong to the CDO are duplicates. Two, the main goal for the CDO is to take a company who is behind in their digital strategy and bring them up to speed. Luxury fashion, for example, is an industry that is notoriously behind the technological times. Luxury has felt somewhat exempt from the digital revolution for all these years. However, they are finally realizing they can no longer hold out, and are modernizing their strategies with the help of CDOs.

In a study conducted by PwC, only 19% of organizations reported having a CDO in 2016, and 60% of those CDOs were appointed between 2015 and 2016 (pwc.com). What seems like such a vital piece of a company’s overall health appears to be in the hands of, essentially, temporary employees. The CDO comes in when the digital situation is dire, and they improve the internal and external digital user experience, and move on - acting as digital “fixers”. The CDO of Shiseido succinctly described the purpose of the CDO to Glossy.com, saying, “CDOs are temporary. We are here to inject a new way of working, one that is about ongoing experimentation, trial and error, fail forward, push forward . . . We can be successful in this job if we are out as fast as possible.”

CDOs face the exciting challenge of reviving a company’s digital scope, while maintaining its original DNA. While this can be difficult, it is a high risk/high reward situation - especially in retail, where revamped web sites historically produce a stronger revenue stream, an easy measure of success. Getting there can be difficult, as CDOs often aren’t given their own team, but rely on various marketing or tech employees for strategy execution.

Why do CDOs only exist in a short burst? Why don’t companies want to continue to evolve their digital footprint and experience even after tech mistakes have been corrected? Isn’t there room for a CDO as the importance of user experience, systems, and a company’s digital face continues to grow with the technology available? In order to continue to NOT have a digital problem, it feels essential for companies to keep a CDO who will continue to grow the digital side of the business. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2025 to get the answer to that question.

 

 

The Nebulous Role of the Chief Digital Officer

Author: Cammy Pedroja, Ph.D.

Your business is fashion and retail. So, if you already have a chief technology officer, a chief information officer, and a chief marketing officer, you have no need for a chief digital officer, right? Wrong. Well, probably wrong. Continuing in our writing series of topics within the tech, digital, and online retail spheres, we at Find the Fit want to address any questions you may have about the role of a CDO in fashion and retail, and whether or not your company or brand really needs one to succeed.

The continuously shifting borders defining what should be inside a CDO’s purview may have kept many leaders in the fashion industry from investing the time, money, and talent required to define this position and to recruit enough top talent to fill it. But fashion brands and retailers, especially in high-end and luxury, have been notoriously slow to adapt to the complexities of the new consumer-centric market. That’s where the need for an executive with true digital vision comes in.

Near the beginning of the title’s conception several years ago, many CDOs had marketing backgrounds. But now, according to CIO Magazine, more and more executives coming to fill this title are armed with plenty of hard tech experience. So, what’s the most effective type of talent for the role of CDO? It’s our guess that the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle.

In 2018, there’s no such thing as a successful fashion business whose inner workings don’t look a lot like a tech business. And no matter how incredible your product is, if you’re not working to stay out in front of consumer-centric selling and manufacturing innovations, you won’t be thought of as a top-notch business, and won’t survive the final years of the digital revolution of industry.

What many of the best CDO’s have in common is a mixture of digital/technical know-how and skill, combined with a talent for customer strategy and service, as well as the ability to tie all of these aspects of modern business strategy together into a cohesive vision that works in real life. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to have the people skills necessary to weave all these disparate threads of modern business together. As CIO Magazine puts it, “The best chief digital officers are able to envision a company’s digital future and also bring other executives and users on board with that vision.”

Are you a CEO considering how you’ll adapt to the marketplace of the future? Or an underling looking for a good idea to run up the chain to the boss? Creating a role for a CDO could be a winning strategy. Just make sure you have clear goals about what that role will contribute before you take the plunge.

 

 

 

Leadership Resources for Women in Fashion

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Author: Cammy Pedroja

You don’t rise and grind every morning to be ordinary. Still, who says you have to succeed in the fashion business without any help? Check out our carefully curated list of resources for professional women who have their sights set as high as 1990s hemlines.   

 

Business of Fashion Education

You may already be familiar with the British-based organization and publication, The Business of Fashion. But did you know that in 2018 they’re offering a killer selection of online courses (called BoF Masterclasses) on need-to-know subjects from how to build your own beauty brand to nailing the art and science of buying and merchandising for your fashion company? Now you do.

Catalyst

This powerhouse organization is aimed not only at supporting women in their workplaces but is also concerned with helping workplaces work for women. In addition to providing online learning courses and materials for individuals, via their knowledge center, Catalyst also does consulting and training for businesses on how to support, retain, and take full advantage of their female talent.

Camber Outdoors: Resources and Women Role Models

Historically, women have been left out of the pack when it comes to the business of outdoor adventure and the more rugged side of athletics apparel. That’s why Camber Outdoors’ commitment to connecting and championing female talent is so refreshing. From networking events, to a curated job board, to mentorship, to a coveted women’s leadership award, you’ll love what they do.

Lean In Education

Named after the bestselling book by Sheryl Sandberg, the Lean In Organization is a network of women from over 150 countries that support each other’s passions and careers. Members meet routinely in smaller regional groups and prop each other up with advice, encouragement, and resource-sharing.

Girlboss Academy

Started by Sophia Amoruso, the founder of Nasty Gal (and yes, the subject of the short-lived Netflix show) this online learning hotspot offers access to top female mentors “…over 40 hours of talks, panels, keynotes, and workshops from renowned creatives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders.”   

WIFI: Women in the Footwear Industry

Part of the very cool Two Ten Footwear Foundation, WIFI’s founding mission is to “harnesses the collective power of women in the industry to support each other, advance the cause of the Two Ten Footwear Foundation, and to create a strong sense of community.” Not content to let the footwear industry function like a boys’ club, WIFI founders Diane Sullivan and Carol Baiocchi, are now at the head of over 4000 members who have access to mentorship programs, bi-annual national enrichment events, and the support of local chapters in addition to distance learning.

 

 

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