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Get To Know: La-Z-Boy CMO Doug Collier
As La-Z-Boy’s CMO, Doug Collier serves a dual role, heading up the brand’s marketing functions, while also serving as the President of its international division.
Collier’s responsibilities also include IT, as the company’s CIO reports to him.
La-Z-Boy Incorporated is one of the world’s leading residential furniture producers, with 315 La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries® Stores, 570 independent Comfort Studios® locations, and in-store gallery programs for the company’s Kincaid and England operating units.
Collier rejoined La-Z-Boy as the brand’s CMO in June 2007 after serving as CMO for Select Comfort. He had previously held various leadership positions within La-Z-Boy between 2002 and 2005, including vice president of marketing and Furniture Galleries development.
From 2000 to 2001, Collier was the senior vice president of marketing and product management for technology company Iomega Corporation, heading up their Asian and European businesses. Before Iomega, Collier held various positions with NIBCO, Inc., a private manufacturer of flow control products, including general manager and director of eBusiness and marketing.
Earlier in his career, Collier was a product director of laundry for Whirlpool Europe, based in Comerio, Italy, and director of business development for Whirlpool North America. Prior to 1992, he held several positions with GE Appliances in his native Canada after graduating with an MBA from the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.
Collier hails from Winnipeg, Canada and graduated with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Manitoba. He is a member of the CMO Council of the National Retail Federation (NRF), is on the advisory board of the Global Retail Management association (GRMA), and a board member of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.
Collier and his wife Ronda currently live near the La-Z-Boy headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
CMO & President International @ La-Z-Boy
- Age: 47
- HQ: Monroe, MI
- First Job: Pizza place busboy
- Apple or Android? Apple
- Hobby: Golf, reading & travel
- First Car: Chevy Beretta
What mobile device can you not live without?
Can we take a peek at your iPad’s home screen?
Which apps do you use most often for work?
Evernote – I operate on a mostly paperless basis, and Evernote provides me the ability to capture almost anything I want within a note and then access it from any device I use, wherever I am.
I also hugely rely on DropBox and GoodReader.
What social media network or website do you frequent most when you’re not working?
I use Facebook, mostly to keep up with what friends and family are up to.
What’s the first thing you check on your phone in the morning?
Email and news.
Take me through your typical workday.
There really is no typical workday, as I bounce between my marketing, international and IT responsibilities.
I’m as likely to be in somewhere like Hangzhou, China working with our partner there, or in Santa Monica with our agency RPA, as I am to be in Monroe at our headquarters.
What has been the most exciting work development during the past year?
Achieving 38 straight months of same store sales increases, averaging double digits for our La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries system of stores and reaching more than 100 La-Z-Boy stores in China this past May, only two years after we started there.
How many miles have you traveled in the last 12 months?
Due to my international responsibilities, I generally fly around 150,000 miles a year.
My most enjoyable trip last year was to Thailand, to which I travel a couple of times a year as we have a manufacturing plant there and our La-Z-Boy Asia business is headquartered in Bangkok.
I particularly enjoyed this trip is I had my wife Ronda join me for her first trip to Asia. She loved it, mostly because of the lovely people, culture, and climate, but also as we continually challenged each other as to who could handle the spiciest dishes!
What traits does a person need to succeed in your position?
Above and beyond all, curiosity. The world is changing so fast, particularly from a marketing standpoint, that if you’re not interested in learning new things you’ll be left in the dust very quickly.
Almost as important, an intensely analytical mindset. There’s no reason to rely on gut instinct when we are all awash in data.
Why did you go into marketing?
When I was wrapping up an undergrad in Biology (long story) at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB – my Canadian hometown – and was contemplating going into a career in music (even longer story), I visited my oldest sister in Toronto.
A few years before, my sister Cathy, now CEO of OMD Canada, had embarked on a career in advertising. I had an amazing time that week and was enthralled with the world of business in general. At her suggestion, I took my GMAT and began my MBA the following Fall at the University of Toronto.
I have enjoyed my time in general management and marketing ever since.
What other career would you like to try and why?
I would have loved to pursue a career in music, but a pesky lack of real talent got in my way.
What does your desk look like?
I don’t spend much time in my office, not just because I’m rarely in Monroe, but also because we are in the process of shifting to a flex-mobile workspace without assigned offices as we prepare to move into a new World HQ early next year.
We have installed a pilot workspace in our current HQ to get our team members used to the new environment, and that is where I spend the vast majority of my time when I’m in town and not in a meeting. It consists of a variety of different work environments, from collaborative to private, enabling individuals to work the way they want based on their current task and preference.
What’s the last business book you read?
The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business by Erin Meyer of INSEAD.
In spite of a large part of my career being involved in one way or another with different countries and regions, I found countless insights and approaches in this book to help me operate in a much more culturally sensitive way in all of our business markets.
Outside of your company’s efforts, what ad campaign or video caught your eye recently?
I love Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty for three reasons. First, it has taken a commodity-like product and developed an incredibly distinct persona for the brand while at the same time bringing attention to a real social issue, all the while increasing sales.
Second, it has managed to keep the campaign fresh over the last decade since it launched, with a couple of its more recent evolutions being its “Real beauty Sketches” video and Dove Mirrors.
The third reason is that it has used social media extremely effectively as one of the key drivers of visibility.