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Ducks Unlimited
Chief Marketing Officer

Explore Company PosterDucks Unlimited seeks to recruit an innovative, conservation-oriented, entrepreneurial individual to serve as Chief Marketing Officer.

About Ducks Unlimited

Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) has conserved more than 14 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. Hindsight explains history, but foresight builds a legacy. DU’s history evolved from the foresight of a small group of sportsmen who launched an unprecedented, international effort to save waterfowl by conserving habitat. DU’s founders and early members stepped forward to make a difference for North America’s waterfowl at a time when our country was in the grip of economic depression and severe drought. That spirit of volunteerism and of rising to meet profound challenges remains a fundamental part of the organization’s culture today.

Over 80 years, DU’s mission of waterfowl habitat conservation has resulted in its working across the continent to serve the habitats that make possible the abundance of wildlife. Waterfowl, upland birds and other species of wildlife are not the only beneficiaries of DU’s habitat work. Wetlands also provide vital ecological benefits for people. Wetlands improve the overall health of our environment by recharging and purifying groundwater, moderating floods and reducing soil erosion. Wetlands are North America’s most productive ecosystems, providing critical habitat to more than 900 wildlife species, clean water for our communities, and invaluable recreational opportunities for all people to enjoy, but just in the last 50 years, our nation has lost more than 17 million acres of wetlands.

Last year, in the United States alone, DU conserved more than 226,000 acres of critical breeding, migration and wintering habitat. Each year, the organization’s conservation success stems from the passion, commitment and dedication of Ducks Unlimited supporters, volunteers, partners and professional staff. DU has approximately 500 employees across the country and an annual operating budget of more than $220 million. Headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, Ducks Unlimited has offices in Mississippi, California, North Dakota, Michigan, and Washington, D.C., with sister organizations in Canada and Mexico.

Ducks Unlimited Inc., Ducks Unlimited Canada, and Ducks Unlimited de Mexico work together to generate critical support and deliver habitat conservation in the most important waterfowl landscapes across North America. DU’s highest priority landscapes include the Prairie Pothole Region of the Northern Plains, the Gulf Coast, the lower Mississippi River and its tributaries, California’s Central Valley, and the Boreal Forest. Ducks Unlimited is anchored by its volunteer-led grassroots fundraising system. DU’s fundraising events are an integral part of its culture and play a large role in positioning DU as a lifestyle brand. Each year, more than 55,000 volunteers host nearly 4,000 fundraising events for DU. These events raise vital dollars for conservation and are a key tool for engaging a majority of DU’s members, volunteers and major donors. In addition, members engage with and donate to DU through direct response mail, social media, TV, and the website.

Ducks Unlimited is able to leverage these fundraising activities into increased opportunities for conservation delivery. Private dollars are leveraged against public dollars. Corporate partners engage to support conservation, reach common audiences and deliver relevant messages. Examples of partners who engage with DU through a variety of channels include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, state agencies, and many corporations such as First National Bank of Omaha, ConocoPhillips, Inc., Axalta Coating Systems, and Mossy Oak. These partnerships have enabled DU to leave a much larger conservation footprint across North America.

Because the scope of DU’s conservation work has the potential to connect broadly with the American public, DU seeks to maintain and even strengthen its core segment of waterfowl supporters, while increasing donor diversity by engaging water-centric constituencies, near endemic supporters, the agricultural/rural community, and institutions, organizations and a growing number of corporations in ways that are appealing to these diverse demographics. At the same time, we must maintain clear brand definition and integrity in accordance with our stated mission, history and culture. Engaging more diverse market segments will require DU to communicate about the water quantity and quality issues addressed by work in DU’s conservation priority areas. This effort will provide the basis for expanding partnerships and policy efforts focused on the value proposition that DU’s wetland conservation provides to constituencies with broader water-based interests. DU’s water-based component of the overall marketing strategy will promote wetland conservation as an important element of improving water quality for all stakeholders and advancing our mission. The larger objective of the overall marketing strategy is to identify current and potential market segments and to develop and implement marketing plans that will maximize engagement and support from key segments.

One of the most important of these key segments is DU’s current core market, which is largely composed of supporters who enjoy waterfowl hunting and wish to pass on the waterfowling and conservation lifestyle to future generations. As DU pursues new supporter segments through targeted marketing campaigns, it will be important not to weaken its relationship with its waterfowling core but instead to reinforce and grow this vital relationship. Throughout DU’s history, a large majority of its supporters have been waterfowl hunters, and these sportsmen and sportswomen will continue to be the backbone of DU’s support. The goal of a more strategic marketing approach, therefore, will not be to replace supporters who have already taken a seat at DU’s conservation table but rather to build a larger table and have others join the hunter-conservationists who have sustained the organization for eight decades.

For more information on Ducks Unlimited, please visit their website: www.ducks.org.

Chief Marketing Officer

Reporting to the CEO, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) is a newly created position. The CMO will serve as a strategic member of DU’s executive leadership team. The CMO, working with the CEO and DU senior executive team members, will provide critical leadership in identifying and executing a marketing strategy to capture investment in DU’s habitat conservation related work.

As a strategic partner to the CEO, DU’s Board leadership and DU senior professional staff, the new CMO will drive DU’s work to capture productive and revenue enhancing opportunities for the organization. The CMO serves as a strategist, facilitator in support of DU’s core membership and in reaching out to new constituents and investors to broaden the reach and impact of DU. Much of the authority of the position will emerge as a result of the CMO possessing a skill set that is tailored to DU’s corporate culture– problem-solving competence, humility and alignment to DU’s mission and values.

Ducks Unlimited has a comprehensive strategic communication, digital communications and publishing program. DU’s website was started about 20 years ago. In fiscal year 2016 (July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016) the website generated 71 million page views, a 7 percent increase over the previous year. DU developed five mobile apps between 2010 and 2014, and in 2015 these were consolidated into one new mobile app, with more than 300,000 users so far. In FY16, mobile app usage was up 48 percent over the previous year. In less than a decade, social media has developed into a powerful communications platform for Ducks Unlimited with more than 1.5 million fans across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Social media channels have allowed DU to increase brand awareness and brand affinity, especially among younger supporters. Sixty percent of DU’s Facebook fans are under age 25, and 25 percent are female. DU has a larger Facebook fan base than the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and many other large non-profits.

Ducks Unlimited’ s TV public service announcement program has helped increase awareness of DU’s brand and mission. Since the current campaign’s launch in June 2016, DU PSAs have aired more than 37,000 times on 96 stations and networks, generating 500 million audience impressions and more than $16 million in donated media value. These PSAs are produced by DU’s video department and distribution nationally to 800 stations and networks by Connect360 Multimedia.

DU TV celebrated its 20th season in 2016. It’s America’s longest running waterfowl show. DU TV’s viewership on the Pursuit Channel was 2.4 million households for the 2015 season with 1.5 million views on our website and social media channels. DU TV enjoys sponsorship support from Drake, Ram, Purina Pro Plan, Mossy Oak, First National Bank and others. The show is produced by MOOSE Media in conjunction with Ducks Unlimited. DU Films is an online short film series that explores the lives and stories of waterfowl hunters and conservationists across the country. Produced in partnership with Rock Road Creative and airing exclusively on the Ducks Unlimited website, DU Films is available in high-quality video format to anyone with internet access. The 2016 series of six short films has been viewed by more than 1 million people. DU’s Communications and Development departments collaborate on this project, and the films are frequently used by the Development team to help tell the DU story to donors. Ducks Unlimited magazine has been DU’s flagship publication since 1963. The magazine is a valued member benefit that is widely respected as an authoritative source of information on waterfowl, wetlands conservation and waterfowl hunting. The magazine’s circulation is approximately 600,000, and its total adult readership, as measured by Mediamark Research in spring 2016, is 3 million. Puddler, DU’s youth magazine, has a circulation of approximately 20,000 DU members under age 12.

DU’s Communications team sends out about 300 press releases every year, and that effort, plus media outreach work (media camps, in particular), paid good dividends in 2016, generating more than 7,000 articles and mentions in print media across the country. DU’s Waterfowling Heritage Center in the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid in Memphis is a 4,600 square foot interactive museum and educational center focusing on the history of conservation and waterfowl hunting as well as the central role that America’s sportsmen and women have played in conserving wildlife and habitat. More than 600,000 people have visited the center since its opening in 2015.

Supporting the work of CMO is a team of professional staff. The position is based in Memphis, Tennessee.

The broad strategic goals for the CMO are the following:

  • In partnership with the CEO and senior leadership, align business related activities to ensure an integrated approach to DU’s corporate relation efforts that reinforces DU’s brand value and reflects its business and policy goals.

  • Develop and utilize market segmentation tools and information resources, expanding DU’s opportunity to capture private sector investment and partnerships, while also coordinating effectively with DU’s senior leadership to support DU’s traditional waterfowling and membership.

  • Advise and assist the CEO in preparing and making presentations to targeted private sector companies – both domestic and international opportunities.

  • Conduct benchmark research to establish a baseline of DU’s brand penetration so that the effectiveness of the branding tactics can be measured over time and results conveyed to Board, members and staff.

  • Support investments in data acquisition to convert earlier acquisition and enhanced messaging efforts to fully support a sustainable marketing program.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The ideal professional qualifications and personal attributes the CMO ought to possess are the following:

Professional Experience:

  • Demonstrated record of success of adeptly growing a business.

  • Demonstrated experience prioritizing business opportunities for revenue generation and the analytical background to prioritize investment based on the data and other information-related tools.

  • Thorough knowledge of marketing principles, brand, product and service management.

  • Deep understanding of changing market dynamics.

  • Superb analytical skills.

  • Demonstrated ability to lead and inspire a team.

  • Excellent verbal and written communications skills, including effective presentation and negotiation skills.

  • A bachelor's degree with an advanced degree in marketing or business (MBA) highly preferred.

Personal Attributes:

  • A commitment to DU’s mission and a demonstrated conservation ethic.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit.

  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.

  • Stature and confidence to gain the credibility, respect and buy-in for a wide range of audiences and stakeholders.

  • Strong work ethic and willingness to travel extensively, often for weekend and evening meetings.


Compensation for the Chief Marketing Officer includes a competitive salary, and an excellent package of health and other employee benefits.

How to apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at resumes@explorecompany.com. Refer to DU/CMO in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

It is the policy of Ducks Unlimited, Inc. to afford equal employment opportunity to all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, military status, disability, age, or genetic information except where age or gender is a bona fide occupational qualification as allowed by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

All correspondence will remain confidential.


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