Staples Brings In Former Agency Exec Michelle Bottomley As CMO

Bottomley replaces retiring Staples CMO Frank Bifulco with the goal of promoting the office supply chain's focus on delivery and digital integration.

Staples has hired Michelle Bottomley, an executive with a background in ad agencies and financial services, as its Chief Marketing Officer.

In this role, Bottomley, who succeeds the retiring Frank Bifulco, is charged with running marketing across Staples’ channels. Among her first priorities involves helping to promote the company’s new emphasis on delivery in North America.

She will report to Staples’ CEO and President Shira Goodman.

“Michelle brings tremendous breadth and balance in the marketing profession, and has a well-earned reputation as a leader of high-performing teams,” said Goodman, in a statement. “Her strong background in business-to-business marketing, including working closely with and leading sales teams, and deep expertise in digital marketing will be critical as we transform Staples to be a solutions provider for businesses.”

Bottomley joins Staples from her post as Global Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at the human resources consultancy Mercer. She has held CMO role at credit card issuer Barclaycard after a 10-year run at Ogilvy & Mather, where Bottomley last served as COO of the WPP Group agency’s New York office.

Staples’ in-store kiosks have been part of its omnichannel strategy.

Staples Faces Wider Retail Challenges

Among the challenges Bottomley faces, along with other retailers, is driving Staples’ online-to-offline integration and discovery. Over the past year, Staples has narrowed its focus to North America, having closed down operations and ceased investments in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

In May, Staples launched a campaign — the fourth such national marketing and advertising effort in its 31-year history. Under the tagline “Staples – It’s Pro Time,” the marketing effort sought to connect the brand to the daily life of professionals in the workplace.

The goal was to look beyond retail and address the complete spectrum of Staples customers, from consumers to small and mid-sized businesses, and enterprise customers.

As part of Staples new focus beyond retail, Goodman recently told analysts durng the company’s Q1 earnings that it expects 60 percent of sales to come from deliveries.

Staples’ Business Lounge is another part of it the chain’s attempts to appeal to professionals.

The company has 1,225 stores, along with 40 warehouses and “fulfillment centers” across the U.S. Goodman discussed the challenging retail environment right now and how Staples plans to combat it.

“Let’s look at retail for a minute, if you take technology as an example, technology was responsible for half of our comps decline in retail,” Goodman said (via Seeking Alpha) in mid-May. “That’s both due to the industry as well us by pulling back from promotional technology, but having said that, we sold higher-end technology. Our team did an amazing job of attaching that with services. They leveraged their expertise to find the right technology for our customers, and as a result, gross margin dollars are up. And I think that is really indicative of our strategy.”

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David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.