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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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Sean McGinnis

Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct
Sean McGinnis is Director, Digital Marketing at Sears Parts Direct. He is also a (digital strategist, blogger, consultant ) and public speaker. You can find Sean on