On The Market is a new series debut featuring Valerie Davis:
Let’s start with the most obvious question: why are you leaving Bulk Reef Supply?
I started with Bulk Reef Supply (BRS) in 2012 as a marketing coordinator, primarily for email marketing. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to fill each seat on the marketing team which put me in the unique situation two years ago to accept the Director of Marketing role.
I’ve been able to acquire a wealth of knowledge, develop an amazing marketing team who achieves 15%-30% YoY growth, and build a brigade of extreme brand loyalists and at this point. It recently became apparent that my skill set is now overlapping with the co-founder and Visionary of BRS, and I’m ready to bring these skills to a new brand looking to achieve similar growth to BRS!
How long were you employed there for, and what was your role/title?
I’ve been with BRS for 6½ years, I’ve had many titles, but I am currently the Director of Marketing.
What did you day to day responsibilities entail? Any software/tools you used?
BRS practices Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) which provides both a structure and extremely fast paced environment. Day to day responsibilities could vary vastly, which is part of what I love at BRS! For a general idea, team leadership, marketing & content strategy, project management, budgeting, forecasting, product lifecycle management, vendor relations. Software: Magento, Listrak, Bronto, Analytics, AdWords, Merchant Center, Slack, Trello, Sage
On a scale of 1-10 how effective would you say you were you at fulfilling your objectives in the role?
9. There’s always room for improvement, so I couldn’t in good conscience say 10, but I have a passion for e-commerce which gives me an incredible drive to succeed.
What was the most difficult obstacle you encountered while at Bulk Reef Supply?
Growth, both personal and business! With each new position I took on, I had a slew of new skills I had to acquire. I was lucky to have great mentors who were patient and viewed “failures” as growth opportunities. It was also very challenging reacting to our growth, maintaining our defined way of business, while modifying the business to accommodate inventory, employees, sales and customers.
What do you see as your greatest strength(s)
Leadership, understanding what customers want in order to create brand loyalists/advocates, taking ideas and seeing them through to fruition, non-traditional marketing strategy.
How about your weaknesses, areas for improvement?
I don’t believe one person needs to be an expert at everything, but should have the confidence to admit their weakness and be open to hiring someone to fill the gap. That said, I currently utilize an outside resource to manage our paid traffic, retargeting and Google shopping. I wish I had that specific skill set to get in the weeds every day, but I have enough knowledge to manage them to hit 18/1 ROAS.
How much overall experience do you have in the role you held, in the industry?
Two years as Director, but I believe my entire career at BRS is relevant to my current expertise, as I understand the inner workings of each marketing role.
If you could create your ideal next role, what would it look like?
Leading the marketing efforts at a younger e-commerce store, building their marketing strategy and team, and help them be the best and fastest growing in their industry!
Are you seeking a full time w-2 position, and when are you available to start?
I would love a full-time position. I have considered offering consulting services since there seems to be some amount of need for that in the Twin Cities, but I really love pouring myself 100% into something. I’m available as early as December 10th.
What is the best way to reach you?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I was recently asked what my hobbies are outside of work, and I realized, e-commerce is my hobby. I had no idea what an incredible nerd I was previously, although it was staring me right in the face! Outside of work, I have a blog www.hackedecommerce.com, a store www.themontessorihome.com (brand new) and I’m now working on creating a forum for people in Minnesota working in e-commerce (coming soon – email me if interested)!
A Letter of Recommendation from Ryan Batcheller, Bulk Reef Supply Cofounder and President
I have worked directly with Valerie for 6.5 years and as an owner of a growing company I think there are three things I would like to share with anyone fortunate enough to be discussing adding her to the team. The first is the hardest thing to identify in an interview is someone who “cares”. Meaning that its more than a job, there is a commitment to the customer and internal team that goes beyond a list of duties and a paycheck. Valerie cares and it is in her DNA to seek out what matters most to the business, take accountability and execute to the best of her ability.
Second her approach to marketing not just current with today’s standards but on the forefront. Meaning a understanding that marketing is not about how many times you get your advertising in front of customers faces or how often it is on sale. It is about being real, speaking in a voice worth listing to and trusting, building long lasting relationships with the customers. Eventually creating an overwhelming amount of brand advocates. Valerie was an invaluable component of building and maintaining our 82 Net promotor score. This is one of the rare metrics where when you nail it you know exactly why it is such a critical component of any brands stability and future.
Third, in terms of skill sets I would say her sweet spots are, customer facing brand management and communication. Primarily with social media, facebook, forums, email, website messaging. She also is organized and brings projects home. Big projects meaning standard 6 month projects like Black Friday planning but also as a company leader my primary role is to dream up the big ideas to 20% and then identify who can make the dreams real by bringing them to 100%. She can bring 20% to 100%
Lastly I get asked a lot of I would hire X person again. In this case I can confidently say unless I wanted to quit myself, no I would not. Valerie has grown from a entry level position where the company did 7 million , helped us topple the largest competitor at 20 million. Worked her way up to director and in that time doubled our nearest competitor with now 40 million in sales. In many ways I think her skill set overlap with my own is redundant and she has outgrown the company. It is a great loss to us but my goal is for everyone to leave here better than when they came in and there isn’t a better example of this here.