Shelagh Stoneham: Q&A Session

Q&A Session: Shelagh Stoneham

The Shelagh Stoneham Q&A Session is happening on 3rd July 2018 at 10:00AM PST (1:00PM EST)

Ms. Stoneham is Senior Vice President, Marketing, Chico’s.

Chicos FAS, is a cultivator of brands serving the lifestyle needs of fashion-savvy women 30 years and older. The brand portfolio currently consists of three brands: Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma.

The Chico’s FAS Brands are all specialty retailers of private label women’s apparel, accessories and related products. Currently, operating 1,518 boutiques and outlets throughout the U.S. and Canada, as well as an online presence for each of our brands.

As Senior Vice President Marketing, Ms. Stoneham’s key accountabilities include: brand, consumer and marketing strategy, development of brand identity and essence, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, digital development, leading multi-channel design including store and visual merchandising, advertising, agency management, marketing creation, media planning and investment.

Prior to joining Chico’s in 2016, Ms. Stoneham was Senior Vice President, Marketing, at Shoppers Drug Mart, licensor of more than 1,300 fulll-service drug stores across Canada, with $11.1 billion in sales, as well as 57 medical clinic pharmacies, and six luxury beauty destinations operating as Murale.

Ms. Stoneham is a dynamic and innovative senior marketing leader with tremendous, experience and success optimizing shareholder value for top tier organizations. She is highly collaborative, equally skilled at creating, building and revitalizing brands as developing, inspiring, coaching and managing strong professional teams.

Her experience spans a broad range of sectors including telecommunications, packaged goods, retail, high tech, airline, brand-name and over the counter pharmaceuticals. Ms. Stoneham is an award winning brand thought leader with a relentless drive for innovation and excellence.

Ms. Stoneham serves as Director of the Vividata Board (formerly PMB and NadBank), and Director of Women’s College Hospital Foundation.

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Shelagh Stoneham – Senior Vice President, Marketing at Chico’sFAS, Inc. – Transcript

Shelagh Stoneham is the Senior Vice President, Marketing at Chico’sFAS, Inc.

The Q&A Session with Shelagh was held on July 3rd, 2018. This transcript has been edited for punctuation, grammar, etc.

Everyone, give a warm welcome to Shelagh.You have one hour to ask her anything.


How important has influencer marketing been to Chico’s?

It’s been very important for us. Third party endorsement has been critical to new customer brand consideration.

One more afterthought… What is the vetting process for influencer marketing at Chico’s?

We have a tribe of Influencers that we have established and nurture our relationships with to build brand awareness and consideration.

How do you reduce reliance on Facebook advertising for customer acquisition?

We are looking at other channels, such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Any key pointers one should follow for marketing?

Step 1: Really define your customer. Step 2: Define your brand purpose. Step 3: Bring your brand story to life [storytelling] Step 4: Plot your omni-channel strategy. Step 5: Leverage data science. Step 6: Quarterback your execution.

Hi! I’m curious how you go from 0 to 60 with a new brand campaign? Specifically thinking about: traffic to new sites, building email lists, growing social media, etc.

You need to start with a big media neutral campaign idea that can run across all channels. Define the role of each channel, what success looks like and then test, learn and reapply.

What would you say are the hard and soft skills that help you most in your current job?

Being an active learner, because marketing is constantly evolving. Also, never underestimate the importance of having a high EQ.

Have there ever been any job applicants that went out of their way to get noticed for a position in your dept?

The most impressive candidates do their homework. They tailor their introductory cover letter to link their experience with the job requirements. They ask really compelling questions during the interview. They demonstrate a strong curiosity which is a sign of interest and intelligence.

Are there any conferences for digital marketing or anything else that you attend that you recommend?

Yes! eTAIL West and GRMA never disappoint.

How do you stay up to date on trends in marketing? With so much changing, how do you prioritize?

It’s challenging. I am fortunate that I am a speed reader. I read five books per week, as well as the Harvard Business Review daily report. I subscribe to online newsletters that keep me informed as to the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

Thanks for the answer. How’d you learn to speed read?

I’m self-taught – since I was a child, I have been a voracious reader. I used to win reading competitions in my local library growing up!

What is your POV on inhouse agencies and do you have one?

We have an internal creative team, and we also have external agency partners that we have strong collaborative relationships with.

Do you have any advice for working towards a leadership role in marketing?

Make sure that you have a clear vision of what success looks like for your brand and your role in achieving it. Please never forget how critical it is to work for a company that you share values with.You will be noticed for both what you do and how you do it.

Based on your previous answer about reading five books per week, which book has been the most life changing that you’ve read?

Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek.

How do you use AI for digital marketing at Chico? Is it true that people have started seeing diminishing marginal returns on AI investment?

We use programmatic media and creative to support our omni-channel campaigns. I would not say that people have begun seeing diminishing returns yet as we have not fully realized the potential of AI and machine learning.

How have you mixed traditional branding strategies with new-faceted technologies? What has been successful and not, with this in mind?

The brand identity should be articulated in a consistent manner but fine-tuned to reflect the nuances of the particular medium.

How do you best communicate the value of marketing throughout your company? What metrics do you think matter most?

Leverage marketing metrics that clearly impact shareholder value. You are right – communication is key and a dynamic dashboard can be extremely helpful.

Hi all, thank you for your questions. It has been a pleasure!

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