Chief Commercial Officer (CCO)
CONTACT: Jason Navarro:
Insights About this Role
With 5+ years of operational history and success across all metrics, Exploding Kittens (EK) has already flexed its furry muscles as a highgrowth, high-margin, cash flow machine with a LONG and diversified runway for continued growth and expansion.
What EK needs now is a proven BUILDER who can scale, scale and scale some more to make the EK machine not just purr but growl across an ever-broadening array of potential growth levels. The CCO will know which of those levers to pull, how hard, and when.
The CCO will report to Carly McGinnis, currently Head of Production, Sales and Logistics. Carly – who will be moving up to the President’s role – owns a wide range of responsibilities (as does everyone at EK), from eCommerce (DTC), marketing and production, to logistics, product development and others. The CCO will take over a number of these responsibilities.
The CCO must be a world class visionary, true leader of teams and companies, but also highly hands on and ready to jump in and take on whatever tasks need taking. This is what everyone at EK does. There are no “sit back and tell others what to do” roles – including this one.
EK saw growth rates soar during COVID. While such 90% growth rates aren’t likely sustainable, the company continues to build momentum from a secular trend that has consumers returning to games and Game Nights as a more attractive alternative to yet more screens. This trend contains a major word-of-mouth component (something the CCO should understand and foster) that will continue to fuel the fire. In short, EK has no plans to slow down one iota.
Primary Mandates of the CCO
- EK’s CCO will be responsible for expanding sales and optimizing the customer journey, across the entire North American mass market plan. This will include exploring new potential high-value markets such as driving into “Dollar” stores and gauging whether this channel will work without devaluing the EK brand, among others.
- The selected CCO will think creatively about and optimize marketing; bring the big vision and the BIG ideas. There’s already a great marketing team in place that can execute; the company needs the visionary to lead and propel the effort. This isn’t about shining a spotlight on a big shiny brand. It’s about building community and engagement, driving people into retail outlets, and attracting them to EK’s evolving ecommerce experience – something the CCO will also own and build.
- A proven ability to set the DTC strategy and execute it against plan. The CCO will control the DTC brand story & narrative, and further expand EK’s overall brand reach.
- The DTC strategy will help EK better understand customer demographics and behaviors, and the CCO should be steeped in data and analytics necessary to gather, interpret and act on the insights gained from this new DTC-driven data trove to grow customer engagement and improve margins.
- Own EK’s ecommerce effort – a high-potential but still underdeveloped part of EK’s channel mix. The CCO will envision and build a highly differentiated online experience, unique to EK’s voice, community focus and curated assortment of games (including possible 3 rd party games). This effort will include charting the right balance of investment in community, editorial, reviews and team across product, engineering, and design.
- EK is highly proficient at talking to existing audiences and doing such things as running ads on Amazon (they have smart people who can nail that). What’s missing is someone who can think about the potentially huge audiences that EK doesn’t currently have access to and would eagerly partner with EK if they only knew it existed.
- For example, the CCO might identify a new game in the EK pipeline as perfect for Las Vegas, and say “I know several people at casinos, let me go talk to them” or “I know an influencer with an incredible following who’d be perfect for this, let me see if I can get a partnership going.”
- The CCO should bring an understanding of games (and love of playing them), along with knowledge of EK’s key competitors – primarily Cards Against Humanity, and What Do You Meme? – and what their secrets to success have been.
- An ability to recognize, understand and fill what EK’s leadership perceives as a “gap” in its process that revolves around fostering customer discovery and helping them take the next step to engaging with EK, purchasing other games, etc. What else, for example, might be included in the box? The options are infinite, and it’s totally up to EK. By purchasing the game, the customer has become part of the EK family. The CCO will devise new ways to draw them in deeper and keep them there. Get them to realize that what they just experienced is only the tip of the iceberg.
Keys to the Fit:
- Revenue/Sales Owner & Driver with a record of exceeding plan and steady growth?
- Strategic oversight of Growth/Performance Marketing (ideally in a D2C/eCommerce company)?
- Growth to hyper growth experience and muscle memory?
- Startup Veteran, Agile and resourceful with the energy, stamina and work ethic; unafraid of the chaos and ambiguity that are the hallmarks of a startup environment?
- Builder & Leader: reputation as coach and mentor of highly successful team members with a passion for recruiting and developing high performance teams?
- Presence (polished, confident leader who ideally is also charismatic)
- Cultural fit?
- Scrappy, hands-on, get s__t done
- Lead youthful, inexperienced teams without adding multiple layers of middle-management
- Fire and Hunger (something to prove)
- Multi-Function GM (led cross-functional teams) with P&L experience?
- Partner Marketing & Promotions? EK should be engaged with global consumer brands from McDonalds to NASCAR and beyond. Get the Burrito into Taco Bell and the Avocado into the Super Bowl Guacamole!
- Physical Goods and Retail channel experience?
- Business Development superpower?
- Digital Media/Entertainment (mobile/social/web, video games, streaming, etc.) experience and commercial success?