Just a little over a week ago I posted part 2 of my series about digital agency pitches. The summary: a client who demands that bidding vendors have expertise in the client’s industry is a hypocrite for not requiring the same level of experience from CMO candidates. I cited as an example the recently departed CMO of Sears, who had a long prior tenure at nonretailer IBM.
A week later, here comes a press release from Sears announcing a new CMO for its “other” store, Kmart. (As an aside, the most-recent Kmart CMO, who worked for at least five prior companies, only two of which were retail related, opted for a volunteer position over a full-time corporate paycheck from Sears. Not a good sign, no?) You might guess Kmart proved me wrong, and tapped someone with years of retail experience.
You would be wrong.
Kmart’s new CMO is Mark Snyder, who has worked for roughly a million years in the hospitality industry. Harrah’s, Embassy Suites, and Holiday Inn were his most recent employers. To Snyder’s credit, his 2007 effort to develop a new Holiday Inn brand logo was excellent.
But Kmart doesn’t need a new logo. And with Sears’ continuing zeal for all things apparel (you can read my “How Would You Save Sears?” post to see what I think of that strategy), one can only scratch his or head as to why the company wouldn’t pick a CMO with some merchandising background.
The press release detail adds fuel to my “experience” fire:
"Mark comes to Sears Holdings with over 20 years of experience in hospitality branding, competitive market positioning, consumer experience development, advertising and promotional marketing…He is a proven leader who has designed and implemented successful branding strategies, along with building and developing results-oriented teams."
Now, pretend that press release was written to announce the signing of a new digital agency, following a hotly contested pitch. Substitute the name of any agency where you see “Mark” and “He.”