Marketing Director - Aluminium Building Products Manufacturer

THE COMPANY

This manufacturer of an external building product generates annual revenues of nearing €2 billion internationally. Speed and creativity are now key drivers for the UK business, with revenues doubling to £60 million in the past six years.  The UK business is geared for further growth and investment with the ultimate aim of hitting £100 million.
 
The manufacturer engaged with Collingwood to recruit for this newly created Marketing Director role, which would be an addition to their UK senior leadership team.
 
Previously, marketing has been managed via a manager level role. They did not come from a structured marketing background and instead learned largely “on the job”, with most of the specialised work being done via the business's £1 million spend with one marketing agency.

There was a need for the newly created position to hold strategic responsibility across all facets of marketing, including communications / brand management; product and market insight; digital and PR.

THE ROLE AND ITS CHALLENGES

Whilst taking the brief it was outlined to Mark Goldsmith, Collingwood's Head of Building Products, that the UK Managing Director had budgetary sign off for a specific salary band. Having worked on a number of similar roles, Mark highlighted that it would be a challenge to attract the level of candidate needed to drive the strategy based on this figure – sign off was for around 20% less than the average director's salary within construction products.

By way of a solution, the client highlighted that this person may currently be holding a management position but would be ready for the step up.

Further compounding this challenge, the incoming director would only inherit one person within marketing. They would therefore be expected to create and execute a marketing strategy, whilst doing the day-to-day tactical activities. It was agreed that Collingwood needed to make headhunted candidates aware of this from the initial engagement stage as to not waste anyone’s time.

Another aspect of the client's requirements that would prove interesting was their hunger to enter the B2C market. Given that many building product manufacturers target the B2B market, Mark suggested opening the research of target candidates up to include other sectors.  This was agreed by the Managing Director and HR Director although they stated the person would have to come from a technically biased product background.

It was highlighted by the client that they needed to progress the chosen candidate to third and final interview with the foreign head office during an industry event in seven weeks’ time. 

Ahead of progressing to researching for the position Mark outlined the above factors in Collingwood's Strategy Document which was signed off by the client and so allowed both parties to have a clear understanding of what was required and how Mark was going to progress the headhunt.  This also incorporated a stiff timeline to ensure the two UK stakeholders were free to interview ahead of the foreign event.

THE SOLUTION AND RESULT

Mark agreed to headhunt from a 50 mile radius of the client’s site in Buckinghamshire, drawing in talent from numerous sectors to include construction, building products, electronics, automotive, aerospace and utilities. In total this led to 56 companies to research Marketing Directors and, more appropriately, Marketing Managers from.

Given the discipline, Collingwood also put together a social media campaign to attract interest from Mark’s c.4000 contacts within the built environment on Twitter and LinkedIn.

In total this led to 77 potential candidates to engage with. Having spent a week speaking with these candidates it did became obvious that candidates with the right level of experience were north (often by some distance) of the salary ceiling on offer.  Consulting with the HR Director it was therefore agreed to focus in on Marketing Managers.

Having met with the best seven candidates enticed into the recruitment process by the above methods, Mark recommended four to move forward to first interview stage with the MD and HR Director.  Three of these were at management level, with one holding full directorship responsibility.

Feedback from the manufacturer was disappointing; with the HR Director stating that only the directorship level candidate was of interest.  From the conversation held it was clear that what was required was a genuine strategic leader. 

It was agreed that Mark spent a further week speaking with the higher calibre candidates yet to be engaged with in full.  Two additional candidates were attracted to the position and interviewed by the client.  This said, Mark highlighted that these two were not quite at the level of the preferred candidate from first phase.

The client fed back that this was the case and decided to progress with the one standout first interviewee.  After a successful second meeting Mark arranged the logistics of getting this preferred candidate over to Germany for the final stage.  An offer was made with Mark managing the process to a successful conclusion.