Marketing Director - Profile Manufacturer
Collingwood was asked to recruit a new Marketing Director for an existing client with whom it had built a successful partnership. A global, €1billion turnover, family owned window & door profile manufacturer within the UK, this company is the genuine market leader and viewed as a pioneering innovator. It is are also known for huge investment into the UK manufacturing site and high staff retention rates.
The existing Sales & Marketing Director was leaving the business after 20 years in the role. Consequently, the MD took the opportunity of introducing a change of strategy and split the role in two – Sales Director and Marketing Director.
For many years the manufacturer had a thriving commercial / trade market arm, however, the residential division had been neglected. The company was, therefore, looking for someone with a rounded B2B and B2C experience.
Responsibility was to be placed on driving strategy for the domestic market, whilst developing a more collaborative marketing message for and with trade clients. It was agreed that the two new executives would take dual ownership of strategy to grow the business 6% in FY 17/18.
As this was a new position, it was imperative that Collingwood brought in a Marketing Director with a strong presence who would inspire, mentor and coach the marketing team of 7.
THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
Up to this stage, much of the existing marketing team’s activity had been reactionary rather than forward thinking, dynamic and strategic.
Therefore it was important to the MD that the person appointed would not only challenge what had been done historically, but also win the hearts and minds of fellow senior colleagues. Many of the team had worked for the company for a number of years and so it was perceived that the change could meet with some resistance.
Collingwood's initial brief was to research companies from an allied industry. This would include sizable building products and industrial manufacturing companies based regionally.
It was also recognised that, as the company is not based close to a major city, the location could be a limiting factor in attracting candidates.
From research 31 target organisations were identified and from these only 25 had in-house Marketing Directors. After engaging with the 25, 6 candidates were interested in the position. In addition to the headhunt a further 2 candidates came from an advert response. Collingwood’s Building Products consultant, Mark Goldsmith, felt that 6 candidates had the right skills and experience and set up face to face meetings with them to assess the competency and behavioural skills required in order to carry out the role effectively.
3 of the 6 candidates were recommended, with the client taking 1 individual through to a third and final interview.
Having provided feedback, and with assistance from the company’s external marketing consultant, all parties agreed to further refine the search. Collingwood's brief had been to research allied industries, but it was thought the candidates were too B2B focused. Mark, therefore, opened up the search to include candidates who had delivered strategy in both a B2B and B2C environment.
On completing the additional headhunt Mark interviewed 6 candidates and recommended 4. The client took 3 of these to a second stage. The preferred candidate was taken back for a final third meeting with the board, and subsequently offered the role which was accepted.
As with the Sales Director position, (see Sales Director case study), both the client's HR Manager and MD worked in collaboration with Mark to reach this conclusion. Management information reports and conference calls were exchanged weekly to keep both the search and expectations on track.
Having worked with Collingwood previously I did not hesitate to re-engage with them. We wanted to create two new board level appointments. These were viewed as critical additions for us having never split the Marketing and Sales disciplines into two separate director roles.
Collingwood took the time to take a full brief of the current situation, where I envisaged VEKA being without the appointments and what key improvements the investment would make. They also suggested a programme of executive coaching support to help transition the Directors into their new roles, de-risking the hire process and advancing the point at which the new Directors will contribute more value to my organisation than that which they consume from it.
One of Collingwood's main strengths was their ability to help shape the strategy for recruiting, based on the strengths I was looking for. Post meeting they reflected that the Marketing Director was unlikely to come from building products given the brief. Through Mark's understanding of the building products market he was able to guide in the sub-sectors that would broaden the talent pool. Sectors were then clearly outlined in their Strategy Document. As it goes, both offered did not come from direct competition, or companies I would have envisaged.
Throughout the process of research, approach and interviewing myself and VEKA's Head of HR were kept abreast with challenges, opportunities and updates, both via the phone and face-to-face meetings. This allowed for a collaborative "partnership" approach, especially when shaping Mark's thoughts to those he had interviewed against our initial brief.
The appointments were followed by a structured tripartite coaching programme involving myself, the Board Director and the Collingwood executive coach. This executive transition coaching enabled the new Board members to get up to speed efficiently, helped them to integrate their previous experience into the new environment and reduced the risk of disruption to the business brought about through a change in leadership.
In short, I would have no hesitation in recommending Collingwood - in fact I already have!