The market share of online in food retail is still small, currently at 2.2% (source: GfK). But growth is significant at 25-35% YOY. Estimates run up to a 25% market share in 2030 (source: Rabobank). Online markets tend to develop differently from offline. It is a winner-takes-it-all business, defined by economies of scale. The first mover’s advantage is huge and market leader Albert Heijn has not hesitated to grab the absolute market share. With their current market share at 53% (source: FD.nl), an unparalleled brand awareness and customer loyalty, they have the best starting point to lead the consumer in the transition from offline to online grocery shopping. To maximize return on the high level of customer intimacy, a fully customer-centric marketing strategy will be key.
About the position
Albert Heijn boasts best practices across the full spectrum of retail marketing. The Senior Director Customer-Centric Marketing (new role) guides the consumer in his journey from offline to online grocery shopping. The way to do so is to complete the transformation from traditional marketing methods to customer-centric marketing. Putting the individual customer at the center of marketing design and delivery will significantly increase the return on investment.
Scope is AH Online with close to half a billion euros in revenue. The role is at Management Team level, reports into Selma Postma (General Manager AH Online) and leads approximately 30 direct reports.
- Marketing strategy development: Multi-format (home delivery and pick-up points) and multi-device (desktop and mobile). Fact-based validation of strategy, balancing the mix of performance marketing (SEO/SEA, Affiliate) with above-the-line campaigning, in line with Albert Heijn guidelines but made specific for AH Online.
- Unleashing the power of data: Significant investments have been made in both data warehousing and data collection, with the AH Bonus Card as iconic example. This director is responsible for creating action from insights and tracking commercial performance in terms of NPS, shopping frequency and new customers.
- Customer lifecycle management: Guiding the consumer in its customer journey from the offline dom ain to the online domain. Small steps for newcomers, big steps for experienced users.
- People leadership: Developing the team of approximately 30 direct reports. Coaching key employees. Stakeholder management within the broadness of the Albert Heijn organization. Being part of the sector’s incumbent is both a weakness and a strength. It manifests as a strength when one effectively aligns the enormous resources of the bigger AH organization towards the direction of impact.
- Concept development: Client-first development of new concepts, propositions in the digital formulas and business models, and backing these with fact-based business cases. Fail fast, finding proof for new concepts before scaling.
- User experience: With the customer at the center of every step, user experience is under continuous scrutiny. Validating the improvement process by fact-based reviews, keeping innovation processes lean by focusing on value add for the customer and advocating the spread of agile work methods in the retail-oriented organization.
Candidates for this position can come from a diverse range of origins:
- Strategy Consulting: a Principal from the Marketing Strategy or Digital practice at McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group or Bain & Company.
- Pure-player: CMO or Marketing Director in a B2C online industry (e.g. fashion, travel, electronics or retail banking).
- Retail: Marketing Director for the e-commerce or omni-channel division at a large retailer.
Competencies that are considered key to this position are:
- Education: an academic degree in a hard science, ideally combined with a business school’s MBA.
- Communication: convincing at board level, empowering at middle management, empathic at operational levels.
- Customer focus: unrelenting at putting the customer first.
- Running meetings: your impact will maximize when leveraged.
- Strategic skills: maintaining absolute market share requires anticipating market developments years ahead.
- Track record: hands-on experience with online marketing will instal credibility in the team.
- Stress management: when running the spearhead for growth in a 33 billion company, people are watching you.
- Persuasiveness: insights become valuable when they spark action.
- Analytical skills: data has to drive, not confuse the decision-making process.
- Vision: this is pioneering, a strong inner compass will help guide you.
Given the all-round nature of the position, this can be an excellent launching pad for the role of General Manager.