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James Croston

Senior Product Manager

Transformative product marketing leader, brand builder, and growth architect with an extensive background in developing and executing business strategies for the global automotive industry. A subject matter expert on new product development who provides the vision and strategy necessary to lead organizations through all phases, from concept to go-to-market execution. 

EXPERIENCE
EXPERIENCE

Feb 2019 – Sep 2020

Executive Group Director

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Managed the $400M+ maintenance division (wipers and filters) for First Brands Group aftermarket products. Responsible for customer marketing programs and rebranding for the company's portfolio of leading name brand automotive products lines. Managed two direct reports.

Feb 2015 – Feb 2019

Global Director of Marketing

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Oversaw marketing activities for the current companies (TRICO, Carter, StrongArm) and four newly acquired companies (Fram, Autolite, Airtex, ASC). Managed seven direct reports.

Apr 1993 – Feb 2015

Director of Marketing

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Drove corporate and product branding strategy and positioning across all traditional and digital channels. Determined product roadmap strategy and identified new product requirements. Established pricing for all aftermarket accounts and new products. Partnered with advertising agencies, printers, and internet companies to bring support materials to market. Managed electronic catalog (ACES) and attribute data (PIES) for the TRICO brand and private labels. Managed one direct report.
EDUCATION
EDUCATION
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Master of Business Administration (MBA) Marketing 
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Business Administration
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Expertise
EXPERTISE

Strategic Planning

Market Intelligence

Lifecycle Management

Product Launches

 Customer Relations

Brand Management

Online Marketing

 Go-To-Market Strategies

Revenue & Profit Growth

Cost Savings

Budgets

Pricing Strategy

Global Marketing

  e-Commerce

Results
RESULTS
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Pioneered new rubber formulation for best-in-class performance used exclusively on a new ultra-premium line which generated $14M in new sales.

Partnered with packaging suppliers to develop industry-leading unique solutions that increased available retail space while substantially saving the company over $1.5M annually.

 Conducted consumer and trade research on installation issues resulting in a redesign of the current offering with more coherent components and instructions and a completely new $5M product line.

Meet Name
MEET JAMES
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Q & A
Q & A
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Q: What is a book that everyone needs to read and why?

A: Anything and everything by John Steinbeck

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?

A: Revolutionized the primary TRICO product offering from a standard, low level metal wiper blade to a dynamic, technologically advanced beam structure blade. This drove higher price points at retail Point Of Sale while dramatically improving corporate profitability. Over the course of the last 11 years this has resulted in a 61 point mix shift in dollar sales and 58% margin point gain per blade. 

Q: What motivates you?

A: I am self-motivated as I thoroughly enjoy all aspects of developing an idea or product and seeing that all the way through launch and its extended lifecycle. 

Q: If money were not a factor, what career would you choose and why?

A: Own and run a used music store. Enjoy talking to people about music and turning them onto something amazing that they never knew existed or are unfamiliar with.

Q: What skills do you have to offer your next employer?

A: Ability to develop and execute profitable, short and long term business strategies. Subject matter expert on new product development and implementation across multiple countries and markets. Considerable demonstrated knowledge of branding, packaging, advertising, data analysis, consumer and trade promotions and team dynamics.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: Actively looking for an opportunity which utilizes my extensive background and skills. Staying connected with colleagues via networking and attending online industry events. 

Interests & Hobbies
INTERESTS & HOBBIES
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Favorite Quote:

Buy the ticket, take the ride.

Testimonials
TESTIMONIALS
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Kevin O’Dowd
SVP Global Branding and Customer Experience, Mann-Hummel

It is with enthusiasm; I strongly endorse James Croston as a leading professional within the automotive aftermarket industry.  


James and I have been industry colleagues for over 12 years and worked side by side for eight of those years.  During our working relationship, James had been credited with developing and driving countless aftermarket programs that accelerated profitable business growth, strengthened brand equity, and delivered true product innovation.  


As the SVP, CMO for First Brands Group, my trust in James runs deep. James was my “wingman” and a solidly indispensable marketing professional supporting global product, brand, and category management programs. In my experience with James, his tenants of success are largely due to his unrelenting work ethic, a passion for quality, and keen understanding of the marketplace and customers. 


James’ unmatched aftermarket pedigree, as well as his consistent contributions to this industry has earned him a powerfully positive reputation among his peers, marketing partners and top customers.


I fully support James and his continued success within the automotive aftermarket.

James L. Phipps

President Gelia Inc

As the President of the 8th largest b2b marketing communication companies in the US, it gives me great pleasure to recommend my colleague, James Croston. 


I've had the pleasure of working with James over the past 28 years and count James as one of the most talented marketing professionals I have ever worked with. He continually brings fresh thinking and intelligence to his work which has led to the innovative development and launch of a number of category leading product solutions. He is dedicated, self-motivated, and combines sharp analysis skills with strong intuition. 


James is an excellent marketer who exhibits a rare sensitivity to the sales side of the equation. His tireless efforts to build a network of informal relationships with sales and channel partners has insured his programs and campaigns not only succeed at launch but also drive results through the entirety of the Omni-channel. 


Let me conclude by adding that James' greatest asset is that people trust him. They respect his transparency and ability to collaborate openly and honestly at all levels in the organization. It is through this underlying confidence and loyalty that the necessary cross functional alliances are naturally formed which enable him to succeed in today's interdependent world of marketing and technology. 


James is that rare breed that just makes any team stronger. 

Resume
RESUME
CONTACT
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