Becoming An eCommerce Marketing Manager: Job Description, Duties & Daily To Do’s

Brian Thron loves his job. It’s why he’s already been at the office for over an hour and it’s only 8 a.m. I ask Brian, the Marketing Manager for Yardbird, what he’s got on the docket today.

“I’m shooting out a few emails to some social influencers to get them product. We have a meeting with our PR agency today about a possible story about us. I’m fine tuning our Google Adwords. Checking budgets.

Are we on track? What can we tweak? Anything else that comes up, I’m always working on perfecting the site and site analytics. What are people clicking and what aren’t they clicking? How can we beef up the pages that people aren’t going to? Are we missing out on other opportunities and relinking to those items? I’m just doing as much as I can on the eCommerce side of things.”

All this before most people have even had breakfast. There’s a reason why eCommerce Marketing Manager job descriptions are so robust.

Getting His Start in eCommerce

Not everyone falls into eCommerce on purpose. For some, it comes organically. Brian studied advertising in college and thought he might end up in an art department at an agency somewhere. He took his first job out of college at The Tile Shop. At the time, their website was nothing more than a static site with information. But two years into working there, eCommerce became more important.

“In 2010 we started selling tile on our site to see if anyone would buy them, and they did,” he says. “We were shipping thousands of pounds of stone all over the country and it ended up being the most successful retail channel.”

For Brian, the best part of marketing is the competitive nature and the fast-paced environment, which is why he loves eCommerce specifically. “The minute you stop evolving is when you fall behind,” he says.

Marketing for a Tough Niche

After spending years growing the eCommerce presence at The Tile Shop, Brian left the company when they went public in 2012. He tried his hand at a software company, but didn’t love it. Then he tried marketing in the medical field, which was just okay. It wasn’t until he met with Yardbird Co-founder Jay Dillon that he had found his next challenge: selling outdoor furniture online.

“Higher price point items that customers traditionally like to see and touch in person can be challenging,” says Brian. But he cites businesses that are doing it well, like Casper with mattresses and Burrow with sofas. “People finally trust brands enough to make big purchases online.”

Even so, Brian has his work cut out for him. When we spoke, he and his team were right in the middle of their busiest season for outdoor furniture. One of the biggest challenges for Yardbird is conversion. “People can visit our site up to 100 times and it could take 30 days to convert someone,” he says. “It just shows us how much people shop around. We are not a spontaneous purchase.”

The minute you stop evolving is when you fall behind.

Creative Assets Are Key

A key part of any marketing department is to have killer creative. From the photography to the copy to the way customers can navigate the site, it’s all something that begins and ends with Brian.

He currently oversees all the external partners, from photographers and designers to their PR agency. His background in graphic design helps and he thinks anyone that has a creative mindset is already one step ahead for an eCommerce marketing coordinator gig.

One of the challenges is also price. “We have to show customers why we’re cheaper than other retailers, but without making it seem like our quality suffers to get to that price drop. We use creative to get that message across.” Yardbird manufactures their own product and ships it in-house, so customers can pay a direct to consumer price and get their furniture shipped quickly since it’s already in the U.S.

Serving the Customer First

Since Brian is in charge of the marketing for a small company, he has his hands in all different parts of the business. “Every morning I come in to check out the orders, make sure they are going through properly, check that there are no customer complaints, and then I’ll coordinate with our CS person to see if they have any questions on processing and shipping,” he says.

Keeping his pulse on what the customers think about the Yardbird brand is vital to a marketer. “Especially with our niche, answering questions for customers is crucial to getting the sale.”

Putting himself in his customer’s shoes is how he’s able to market efficiently.

“I get that people shop around and look at price points, I do that too,” he says. “Even in our retail showroom people come in the first time and want to measure their space, look around. We encourage people to do that. Then if we’ve done our job, they come back a month later after hitting all the big retailers.”

The Changing Marketing Landscape

Influencers wasn’t a thing ten years ago. But now it’s an entire industry. And Brian uses it to his advantage.

“When I worked at The Tile Shop, influencers were just becoming a thing. We’d get free product into the hands of DIY bloggers and people with big Instagram followings, they’d do a tutorial and we’d sell out of a product,” he says. Today, most marketing departments rely on influencer marketing to be seen. The key to doing it well, according to Brian, is authenticity.

“Now you see brands try and force messaging and it’s obvious,” he says. “I reach out to influencers and ask if they want to try us out and be honest about what they think. They can say if they love us or hate us. We’re confident enough in the brand that we’re willing to take that risk.”

For anyone looking to get into a marketing manager role, Brian says it’s key to look for influencers that can serve you in the long run, not just for a one-off. Find people that genuinely enjoy your brand and won’t just forget about you after a single sponsored post.

Another challenge for Yardbird is trying to get customers to shop without the promise of a big promo. “We have customers ask if we’re going to do a Memorial Day sale, and currently we don’t do promotions. We haven’t talked about our plan for Black Friday or Cyber Monday yet, but it’s not currently part of the game plan.”

Brian’s goal is to make Yardbird the every day low price brand of outdoor furniture and not have to use sales to get customers. This takes creative storytelling to showcase the brand and explain why it’s already priced right. And with any seasonal products, the winter months are always brutal for a marketing department. This year they plan on targeting advertising towards warmer climates come late fall and winter. And like any clever marketer, Brian will probably work on some other creative strategic campaigns too.

So what exactly does an eCommerce Marketing Manager do? Turns out, a little bit of everything.

Brian’s Advice for Future Marketing Managers

Brian thinks his eCommerce journey is a unique one, but believes anyone looking to get into marketing should consider being diverse. “In a lot of marketing jobs, people right out of college dive into big companies. Target (which has headquarters in Minnesota) has a million marketing jobs. I have a friend who works on email marketing for grills on Target.com. That’s all they do! Only email marketing. They don’t touch on the website or anything else.”

If you want to get to the eCommerce marketing manager level, you want your own job description to show that you have knowledge of all aspects of where you’ve worked, not just a single lane.

“My recommendation for anyone at the entry-level in eCommerce is to start at a small company where you can touch every little piece: creative, business planning, budgeting. Seeing all that makes sense for you,” says Brian. “I think even larger companies are starting to downscale and look more generalists who have that varied experience.”

According to Brian, this could be what gives you a leg up on your competitors when you’re applying for a job. “You need to know all the touch points and experiences to get into a managerial role. If you don’t know all those aspects, it’s going to be hard to report on it and move up into a bigger position. I love being involved and hands-on in things,” he says.

If you want to get to the eCommerce marketing manager level, you want your own job description to show that you have knowledge of all aspects of where you’ve worked, not just a single lane.

And if you don’t have your own marketing department to manage, Brian suggests creating one. Work on a side business for yourself or a friend and start selling something—anything—online. This will help garner experience in every aspect of the industry. “You’ll have a firsthand account of seeing what type of people come to your site and have a unique understanding of demographics early on.”

It’s also important to remain informed about the industry too. Reading articles, knowing what’s new in social media platforms, having a keen understanding of advertising outlets and how to use influencers are all traits Brian would look for in recruiting talent. “I think as long as you’re on top of that world, you’ll do just fine.”

Looking to Hire an eCommerce Marketing Manager? Use Our Example Post!

eCommerce Marketing Manager
[Company Name] [City, State]
Hello Beauty | Anytown, Idaho

About Hello Beauty
[Include a snippet here about your business’ mission statement and the background of your business. This can be pulled right from your own company website.]
We are makeup enthusiasts. We are committed to making the best beauty products for millenial women at unbeatable prices. We’ve been in business since 2015 and have tripled in size since then. Our 4 person marketing department consists of a VP, a director and two entry-level social media experts. We’re excited to see if you’re the missing link.

What We’re Looking For
[Brief description of the personality traits and experience you want out of candidates.]
A project manager! You will handle all creative support requests (estimate 30+ projects annually)
A creative thinker! You will review and develop all marketing briefs with local teams / creative to kick off projects requests
A social media guru! You’ll oversee all social strategy and need in-depth knowledge of platforms and trends in the market
A storyteller! Your ideas will help shape key storytelling moments in the company
An executor! It’s one thing to come up with the idea, but it’s another to help a team bring it to fruition. We want a true leader and marketer that can bring vision to the forefront.

Experience
[Detail what you want candidates to have on their resume]
Minimum 5 years experience in a marketing role, eCommerce is a plus
Experience working on social media
Experience in beauty is also a plus

How To Apply
[Explain what you want candidates to include along with their resumes. Here is where you can add editorial tests or a subject line in order to vet candidate applications.]
Please send the following along with your resume:
Cover letter detailing your experience and why your background is ideal for a marketing role in beauty. We also want you to include your favorite beauty brands, your favorite beauty influencers and the best marketing project you’ve ever worked on in your cover letter.

Thanks to Brian Thron for taking time out of his very jam-packed day to chat with us. Looking to find a marketing manager, eCommerce Marketing Director or eCommerce marketing executive gig as cool as Brian’s? Check out our full listing of eCommerce jobs right this way.

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