I’ve Accepted a New Job with Sears

Posted by on May 12, 2013 in Career & Networking | 59 comments

As 2012 wound to a close I made the decision to start my own entrepreneurial journey. As I started 2013, I had very high hopes for 312 Digital.

Things were off to a very fast and exciting start. I brought on a handful of clients and was referred some terrific opportunities. I completed a handful of projects and engagements and we conducted a few day long training classes.

I was happy with the progress we were making and was in discussions with a couple of different places trying to find a place to house 312 Digital’s operations come Q2 or Q3 2013.

Then something crazy happened.

The right full time job found me…in one of the least likely businesses I could possibly imagine. And it happened so FAST, I hardly had time to breathe before it was over.

I’m going to work for Sears

Yes. You read that right. I’ve accepted a position as Director, Digital Marketing for the PartsDirect business which is a part of  Sears Home Services. My official start date is May 20th.

My primary responsibility will be to oversee the digital marketing at http://searspartsdirect.com with a strong focus on increased revenue via the existing channels and expanding capabilities in other channels. I’ll also be lending my expertise to other business lines  inside Sears Home Services (I’m reporting to the CMO of the Sears Home Services business unit.)

What does this mean for 312 Digital?

One of the questions that keeps coming up is “what are you going to do about 312 Digital?”

It’s a good question. One best answered by detailing what I will and will not be doing outside the core responsibilities set forth above:

I will be:

  • Speaking at conferences (for example the @Midwest Conference June 7th)
  • Teaching an MBA class on social media at Elmhurst College (Begins in October 2013)
  • Taking on the occasional consulting client about SEO and Digital Marketing. The client has to be both an interesting and good fit for me personally as well as present no conflict with the broader Sears business.

I will NOT be:

  • Taking on any new significant projects of any size, whether SEO, website development or otherwise.
  • Offering any new digital marketing training classes through 312 Digital for the time being. I may decide to offer some personalized classes in the future on weekends, but that will probably not happen for at least six months as I ramp up and get acclimited with my responsibilities at Sears.

Exciting Times

I’m very excited about this career move for a number of reasons.

  • Sears is a  “Legendary Business.” Yes Sears has taken a beating in the business press over the last several years, but at least some of that is unwarranted IMHO. They are still #71 (down from #65 last year) on the Fortune 500 list with close to $40 billion in revenue.
  • Exceptional Leaders. The Home Services division is committed to growth and the leaders I’ll be working for are top notch.
  • Breaking Away from Legal. One of the biggest issues for me professionally is that no matter where I go or what I accomplish, the focus always returns to my  law degree. Yes, I spent 15 years working in the legal services industry. But my contention is (and always has been) that the skills of any digital marketer are transferable. From vertical to vertical; from B2B to B2C and beyond. What we do applies broadly across industries, sectors, business models and geography. I’m very pleased to be entering a business that will finally put to rest the notion that I’m “just” a legal marketer (not that there’s anything wrong with being a legal marketer).

I’m fired up to begin work for Sears. Initially, I will be working out of their Hoffman Estates headquarters. After the first few months on the job my bosses and I will jointly determine whether I spend most of my days at that location or whether I start spending more time at the downtown Chicago office. There will also be periodic visits to offices in Florida, Arizona and Iowa as well.

My current contact information will work well and I’ll be sure to update my LinkedIn profile with the Sears contact info as soon as I have it.

Stay in touch and thank you for your support of me personally and of 312 Digital! Your encouragement has been an inspiration to me these last 5 months.

Featured image courtesy of Todd Klassy via creative commons on Flickr.

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Let’s Work Together In 2013!

Posted by on Jan 1, 2013 in Business & Leadership, Career & Networking, Content Creation, Marketing & Advertising, SEO & PPC, Social Media, Speaking, Usability & Conversion | 18 comments

As I reflect back on 2012, it was an awesome year; a year filled with a lot of learning and growth. I deepened friendships and relationships, built new relationships that changed my life in myriad ways and took on massive professional challenges. It’s a year I never want to forget. In fact, I want to build on the many successes I’ve had during the year.

That’s why I’m kicking off 2013 unemployed.

Big Changes in 2013

That’s right, I’m entering 2013 with no full time employment.

My contract with my former employer ended on December 31, 2012 and we will not be renewing into 2013.

Despite this fact (or maybe because of it) I’m more excited about 2013 than I have been about any year in recent memory. Not since I began law school in 1990 have I faced this much change in one year – and this coming from a guy who has relocated three times over the years for exciting job opportunities.

I’ve already made a group of people aware of my plans for 2013 via emails and phone calls – and those efforts have been rewarded with an amazing number of potential projects and assignments (the one lesson I learned in 2012 is you never know what’s possible until you ask your connections for their help). I’m writing this blog post in an effort to cast as wide a net as possible by letting you know of my plans and to see if there’s a way we might work together in 2013.

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Reflecting on 2011 with Gratitude

Posted by on Dec 19, 2011 in Career & Networking, Social Media | 66 comments

A year ago, I was sitting in my office in downtown Chicago minding my own business when I decided to get more involved in social media. What a strange (and wonderful) year it’s been. Somewhere around November 2010, I decided to ramp up my social media activity. I liked it so much I decided to get even more involved and *gasp* attend a tweet-up in December.

The last year has changed my life. Dramatically. In ways both small and large; profound and mundane. I’ve met hundreds and hundreds of people online; taken dozens of those relationships to the level of real life trusted friendships by meeting, consulting, collaborating and kibitzing with a great many generous, smart and hungry people.

During the past year, I’ve come out of my shell a little bit. I still don’t blog nearly as much as I would like, but I hope to change that in the coming year. I marvel at those who are great writers, big thinkers and prolific bloggers. I’m grateful for so much and for so many people who have taught me so many things in the last 12 months.

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2011 Themes – Mentor | Inspire | Balance

Posted by on Jan 5, 2011 in Business & Leadership, Career & Networking | 4 comments

This being the first week of 2011, many friends and colleagues have been busy looking backward and forward – assessing their performance for 2010 and determining their focus areas for 2011.  One of the most interesting ways to look forward is to create broad themes for the oncoming year.  Online friend Margie Clayman (one of my favorite bloggers) has taken Chris Brogan’s idea of building themes around 3 words and created a hashtag.  The idea is to blog about your three words and then share them on twitter, using the hashtag #cb3words so we can all check out each other’s developmental themes for the year.

After thinking about this for the last couple days, I’ve decided that my three words for 2011 are Mentor, Inspire, and Balance.  Here’s what each means to me:

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How Strong Is Your Network?

Posted by on Jan 1, 2011 in Career & Networking | 11 comments

Here’s a question for you. Someone you know casually asks for your help to win an award for the book they’ve just written. How do you feel? What action, if any, do you take? Let’s bring that hypothetical situation into reality.

A few weeks back, I received the following message:

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