As senior vice president of marketing and strategic planning for West Marine, Michelle Farabaugh is one fast moving target. Her day begins with a 40-minute a.m. commute, during which she returns a entire voice mailbox of calls. In charge of creating and executing sales and marketing strategies for the Watson, CA-based company’s online, catalog, retail and wholesale sales channels, she typically works a 12-hour day, not including her morning drive.
Farabaugh’s mission is to create new programs that drive profits and increase customer loyalty. As a young senior vice president, she subscribes to the motto that to succeed, you need “wrinkles or results.” Having worked at only a handful of catalogs, including Catalog Ventures and PETsMART Direct, Farabaugh already has quite a record of success. In her first year at West Marine she increased profits by 50 percent and recharged the online store for a 500-percent increase in sales.
Getting Things Done
Most of her job is communicating with her marketing team, other departments, vendors and customers. She attends as many as 30 meetings a week, handles customer complaint calls, visits stores and pores over customer e-mails.
Farabaugh begins her day walking around the company offices. Here she catches up with employees from many departments.
“I learn more about what is going on and what issues may be brewing from these informal or coffee pot meetings than I do in structured meetings,” says Farabaugh. “The front-line associates always have the best pulse on what our customers think of our marketing efforts and how they are being executed. They offer an invaluable insight into the business.”
She and her 36-member team review West Marine’s marketing programs on a weekly and daily basis, delineating what is working and what is not. Then, they toss around ideas about how to improve.
“We put together very comprehensive reports monthly to look at our business on a different level,” she says. “We review sales by catalog and by store. We also review in-depth catalog and flier results every time we put together a new catalog or flier, which is about once a month.”