Sunday, June 22, 2008

An "Unfair" Advantage on the Web: Director of Conversion

image There are still huge opportunities to get a competitive advantage on the Web. Naturally, I believe that being a leader in conversion strategy is one of those opportunities. While "progressive" marketing departments are creating positions such as "Director of Search Marketing" to build traffic to their sites, a company that markets online courses is taking the lead where it counts: at the point of action.

For most marketing departments, conversion is a metric. For this company it is a discipline worthy of a director level position. In creating the Director of Conversion position they are saying:

  • We want to fully leverage the qualified traffic we are getting to our Web properties
  • We want to get the most from our advertising spends
  • We want to provide our visitors with the information and experience they are looking for
  • We want to kick our competitors' asses

Does your business need a Director of Conversion? The company was kind enough to provide us with the text of the job description that they used to find their Director of Conversion. I will say that it was a long search, but the conversion team is dealing in terms of orders of magnitude improvements in conversion and new clients.

Imagine what this team will know about their market in a year.

Following is the full job description, and I think they nailed it.

Job Description

Position: Director of Website Conversion

Reports to: Chief Marketing Officer

Supervisory Responsibility: Site Conversion team

Job Description:

As the owner of the presentation layer of our websites, you and your team are responsible for optimizing our conversion from site traffic to lead inquiry and student production across all web sites, micro sites, and landing pages in the company. Project management, web site usability, testing methodologies (A/B and multi-variant), and managerial skills are required as you will be expected to generate, execute and analyze the results of a testing plan for each website in our rapidly growing portfolio of university partnerships. In this highly visible role, you’ll partner with business unit leaders and other core process owners to positively impact the lives of thousands of people each year and improve ROI for our partner schools and fellow employees.

Ideal candidates will have a combination of extensive HTML experience, solid project management ability and past responsibility for managing a team.  This person should have an understanding of the general concepts related to content management systems, search engine optimization, web analytics and user experience design.  A strong set of communication skills is also essential, as the Director of Website Conversion will work closely with many departments company wide. 

A. Daily Duties:

  1. Responsible for hands-on development of the front-end presentation for all company student facing program web sites
  2. Stay informed of continuing developments in the industry and apply best practices.
  3. Recruit, select, train, performance manage, and develop staff
  4. Continually improve ROI for dollars invested through this phase of the value chain company wide.
  5. Lead and manage a team engaged in implementing tests, building new and maintaining existing web sites at the sales and marketing level (presentation layer).
  6. Develop systems to ensure quality and optimize for high volume throughput
  7. Collaborate with business unit, infrastructure groups and other core process leaders to plan tests for marketing message, new sales tools and lead generation features, promotional offers, impact of graphical elements like, colors, logo’s, layout, etc.
  8. Ensure exceptional quality and usability of all web sites, while optimizing performance and scalability

B. Weekly Duties:

  1. Design multi-variant tests to achieve maximum insight in the shortest time possible
  2. Develop measure and publish key metrics for site conversion per web site and roll up company-wide
  3. Serve as functional process owner on Operations team
  4. Publish key learning’s for the benefit of other stakeholders and roll global enhancements across all sites
  5. Work in partnership with the IT team to define optimal technology solutions and processes for constructing web applications
  6. Work in partnership with various business owners from sales, marketing and product management to ensure the successful launch of short and long term initiatives

C. Monthly Duties:

  1. Formally record test variations and results for later reference
  2. Manage departmental costs to meet or spend less than budget
  3. Apply knowledge gained in accumulating test results into new web sites created
  4. Develop and maintain testing plans for each web site and landing page
  5. Determine length of test to reach statistical significance for data set
  6. Formally present summarized test results to operating team.

D. Annual Duties:

  1. Review and refresh team training materials
  2. Develop and maintain job descriptions and conduct annual performance reviews
  3. Participate as department head in the budgeting process
  4. Provide strategic input toward the future evolution of the department and function as the company grows.
  5. Develop standards and document best practices as it relates to the web sites development
  6. Conduct research into current and emerging Web technologies and issues in support of on-line initiatives; identify influencing industry developments and trends; present recommendations to management in clear and concise manner


  1. Bachelor’s degree in related field or an equivalent combination of skills, training and hands-on experience
  2. At least 2-5 years experience designing high-impact web sites using emerging technologies, including management responsibility in an on-line technology environment
  3. Familiarity with web site analytics/web site statistics software, such as Google Analytics, Web Trends, etc.
  4. At least 2 years experience selecting, managing, and growing teams of at least 3-6 staff members
  5. Ability to manage, motivate and teach a team of front end web designers to successfully deliver multiple, concurrent projects with quality
  6. Strong organizational skills and attention to detail required
  7. Proficient with Microsoft Office
  8. Strong analytical and problem solving skills. Ability to work at management level, but willingness and acumen to provide hands-on support when necessary.
  9. Experience with testing methodologies as used in marketing practice
  10. Project management experience with formal training preferred
  11. Expert knowledge of web-based presentation layer technologies, including HTML, CSS, XHTML; solid understanding of content management systems; experience with AJAX and Javascript a plus
  12. Knowledge of search engine optimization techniques and experience leveraging web analytics tools to gain insight into user behavior
  13. Knowledge of the principles of user-centered design;  experience facilitating usability testing

I don't think I would have changed a thing about this job description. Thanks to Jeff Hoogendam for his contribution.

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