VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing – Varsity Tutors (St. Louis, MO)

The Company

Founded in 2007, Varsity Tutors operates the leading curated marketplace for high-quality, in-person and online tutors, mobile learning apps, online learning environments, and other tutoring and test prep-focused technologies. A major, Silicon Valley venture capital investor (with $10 billion in AUM) has led a major unannounced growth round in Varsity Tutors, making it the best-capitalized tutor marketplace—or online tutoring platform—in the U.S. Since its launch, the company has experienced explosive growth, acquiring more than 13,000 tutors that service tens of thousands of satisfied students and parents. In addition to the standard college entrance prep (PSAT, ACT, SAT) and graduate (LSAT, MCAT) entrance exam courses, Varsity Tutors offers assistance across almost every conceivable subject—Foreign Languages, Language Arts, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Statistics and many others.

By disintermediating the traditional tutoring model via their digital platform, Varsity Tutors has built an intelligent, unique and curated tutor/student marketplace that delivers a superior tutoring experience for both tutors and students. The company’s current satisfaction rate is 98%. In addition, they are able to do so at a lower cost, and better margin vs. the traditional brick and mortar options that are forced to charge for their installed capacity and heavy fixed cost structure. Varsity Tutor’s mission is to help deliver a highly-personalized and seamless learning environment, where students engage with their tutors using the company’s digital platforms, or they can choose to meet in-person.

Varsity Tutors has been focused on developing major metro U.S. markets—Atlanta, Boston, New York City and its boroughs, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington D.C.—and is now pursuing aggressive market expansion. For more information, visit www.varsitytutors.com.

Position Overview

The “VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing” will be a key member of the Varsity Tutors senior leadership team, responsible for driving revenue and profitability by generating quality leads that feed the student and tutor acquisition machine. They will also work with colleagues to keep students and tutors happy, and committed to Varsity Tutors, long-term. This senior Direct and Digital Marketing leader will be responsible for filling both the student and tutor conversion funnels, with high-quality, qualified leads, with outcomes measured by Revenue, EBITDA, CPA, and LTV. This VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing will also help ensure that all student and tutor communications reflect and embrace the brand’s strategic positioning and brand essence.

Scope of Responsibilities

  • Strategic Targeting – The VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing will be responsible for helping identify the highest potential customers (both students and tutors) who offer the greatest lifetime value (LTV) and appropriately allocate both Online and Offline Marketing resources in order to capitalize on these segments and convert them into qualified leads. This individual will help improve various analytics and customer dashboards to provide insight into customer behaviors and buying decisions.
  • Lead Generation – As a top priority for the company, and critical to maintaining the long-term health of the business, lead the Customer Acquisition process by generating quality leads, to ensure Varsity Tutors ultimately meets its net add goals for both students and tutors. The Marketing leader will work to optimize statistically rigorous testing capabilities (A/B, Champion/Challenger, Multivariate, Attribution Analysis, etc.) and protocols, across an integrated an omni-channel Marketing mix (TV, Radio, Print, Collateral, Direct Mail, Social Media, Traditional PR, Referral Programs, Display, SEO/SEM, Email Marketing, Retargeting, Outdoor, and Mobile Media). This VP will develop and monitor performance of all Marketing activities, defining which channels and tactical programs lead to the highest conversion rates, and which drive the optimal LTV.
  • Retention & Loyalty – With input from the rest of the senior team and colleagues (e.g., Product, Educational Advisors, Customer Service, Research/Insights), and with activation support from CRM staff, help lead the definition of the company’s contact strategy to help determine “who gets what, when and how” in order to maximize tutor and student transactions, loyalty, and LTV. In short, design the optimal contact strategy based on Research, Insights & Marketing Analytics to deepen Brand engagement and transactions.
  • Financial Delivery – Play a key role in the definition and delivery of agreed-to financial goals, including Revenue, Margin, Market Share, EBITDA, CPA, LTV and MROI. Gain alignment to, and effectively help manage the annual Marketing operating budget, ensuring appropriate funds are allocated against priority initiatives. Manage appropriate vendor and external consultant projects and delivery.
  • Digital Analytics Leadership – Collaborate closely with Marketing, Product and Educational Content colleagues to improve forecasting efforts, better evaluate Marketing programs and assess new business opportunities as to what “must come next” for Varsity Tutors. Develop a keen understanding of all sources of customer data and partner with the software development team to optimize how data is effectively utilized across the organization. Develop automated reports and ad hoc requests that monitor both tutor and student behaviors and provide a benchmark for actionable insights.
  • Organizational Development – Review and enhance, where necessary, all lead gen, loyalty and CRM processes, measurements, information systems, analytics capabilities etc., that are needed to enable the Varsity Tutors Marketing team to operate efficiently and effectively in pursuit of its CPA and LTV objectives. The new VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing will be responsible for hiring, developing and promoting high-performing Marketing talent, as needed.
  • Agency/Supplier – Seek, develop and manage external relationships, seeking “best practices,” as well as a value-added approach whereby external resources are viewed as partners vs. merely vendors or suppliers.

Performance & Success Measures

• Lead Generation – # Qualified Student/Tutor leads, CPA ($) and LTV ($)
• Financial – Revenue, EBITDA and Profit
• Marketing Effectiveness – Increase ROI
• Performance Feedback – From colleagues and external work partners

Reporting Relationships

The new “VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing” will report to Founder and CEO, Mr. Chuck Cohn. Chuck earned a BSBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Washington University in St. Louis and started Varsity Tutors during his junior year of college. Upon graduation, Cohn worked in the Energy & Power investment banking group of Wachovia/Wells Fargo and then later worked on the deal team of Ascension Health Ventures, a Healthcare growth equity fund. In 2011, Cohn left his venture capital opportunity to focus on scaling Varsity Tutors nationally. He has won numerous entrepreneurial awards and writes a weekly column for Forbes and Entrepreneur Magazine.

Staff & Resources

• Search Engine Marketing Directors (2) • Search Engine Marketing Manager
• Executive Assistant

As the business scales, the VP, Acquisition & Loyalty Marketing will continue to build the team, as-needed, likely covering other channels including Direct Mail, Email, Referrals, etc.

Key Internal Operating Relationships

• Chief Executive Officer
• Chief Technology Officer
• General Counsel
• Vice President, City Operations
• Vice President, Content Marketing and Communications • Chief Product Officer (open position)
• Head of Human Resources (open position)
• Chief Financial Officer (open position)
• Vice President, Analytics (open position)

Compensation & Benefits

• Competitive base salary
• Annual performance bonus
• Stock options
• PTO/Vacation, Health/Dental Care
• Relocation assistance (as needed) to the St. Louis, MO area

Experience Base

Candidate Profile

• Direct Marketing – Candidates must be highly analytical and quantitatively oriented and have current experience leading a multi-channel Lead Generation/Acquisition/Retention- based Marketing operation in a Direct Marketing-driven business.

• eCommerce & Digital Mktg. – Candidates should have recent experience managing Lead Gen, Customer Acquisition and/or CRM/Loyalty for an online business or an online Retail channel (for a business also selling through brick & mortar). Must be familiar with a variety of Interactive and Digital Marketing tools, including Email, Retargeting, Display, Affiliate/Partnership, SEO/SEM, Social Media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and Mobile.

• Entrepreneurial Experience – Ideally, experience in a smaller, more entrepreneurial, brand-driven, consumer-facing company. Of particular interest, experience in lean businesses within industries with multiple communication and distribution channels. Key here is learning how to be resourceful, adaptive, and moving to market with urgency and clarity of purpose.

• Vendor/Agency/Functional Management – Experience building a roster of external Marketing, Agency, Consultant and Supplier partnerships, leading the RFP and SOW processes, and negotiating mutually beneficial agreements. Demonstrated success building organizational capabilities through process design, organizational development, recruiting and training.

Skill Set

• World-class Direct and Digital Marketing skills (technically proficient)
• Innovative and creative thinking balanced with pragmatism (fresh, big-picture thinking)
• Organizational leadership and team development (leads through influence)
• Intellectual horsepower (highly analytical & strategic)
• Drives for results in prioritized manner (balanced sense of urgency)
• Listening skills, minimal ego (listen first, then respond)
• Complex problem-solving, with hands-on ability (create options, then converge)
• Organized and attention-to-detail approach (strong tactical execution)
• Highly resourceful (stretches people and money; compresses time)
• Collaborative (works with peers across many functionalities within the company)
• Financially minded (P&L responsibility)

Personality Profile

• Strong leadership skills
• High degree of emotional intelligence
• Self-directed/motivated
• Flexible and adaptable
• Results orientation with keen commercial mentality
• Enthusiastic with pride and passion for winning
• Blue-collar work ethic
• Frugal – treats company resources as his/her own
• High integrity and trustworthy
• Flexible intellect and highly flexible work style
• Comfort working in a fast-paced, highly dynamic work environment

Search Contact

David Wiser
Principal Partner – Cincinnati, OH Office david@wiserpartners.com
513.919.4000 (M)