Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Director Marketing, Sales, and Licensing.

Series and Grade: IS-1010, GRADE 12



This position is responsible for directing all Marketing, Sales, and Licensing operations for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, an internationally prominent nonprofit record label with highly recognizable branding, located within the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage at Smithsonian Institution. The incumbent develops marketing strategies, oversees national and international marketing campaigns for al l Smithsonian Folkways products, directs the label’s physical and digital sales operations both internally and externally, directs licensing-out of audio content, and advises the Director/Curator on the development of new products and on a wide range of policy issues. Responsibilities arc within broadly assigned areas of marketing, sales, licensing, and public education, and they require a high level of expertise in the present-day realities of the music industry and in independent planning and implementation of programs, campaigns, studies, and special products.



Major Duties

Working with a wide cultural and stylistic range of audio products, markets Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on audio formats, video formats, and other media to mainstream, niche (e.g. children’s), and alternative markets, based on expert knowledge of online and physical sales. Creates and implements marketing strategies for the catalogue based on appropriate targeted audiences and within fixed budget limitations. Working independently, originates and executes publicity, promotions, and sales campaigns in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Asia, and other territories worldwide. In concert with the Director/Curator and Associate Director, identifies and cultivates new sales territories, distributors and licensing opportunities.


Operating within broadly defined program priorities, strategies, and goals, provides administrative direction for marketing assistants, sales representative, licensing manager, contracted national distributor, public relations firm, radio promotions groups, special events and special project person(s), and other contractors in the area of marketing, including (web) designers, writers, and printers.


As part of the management team for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, along with the Associate Director (Production and Acquisitions), Financial Operations Manager, Production Manager, and Audio Engineer and Production Supervisor, provides expert advice to Director/Curator concerning all aspects of policy concerning marketing, product development, production process, manufacturing, royalty payment, budget priorities, internet strategies, and business plan development.


Monitors sales performance of all products―evaluating their success in the marketplace and the effectiveness of marketing campaigns employed. Provides Director with selected sales analysis data pertinent to ongoing policy development and evaluation and to new product development.


Develops and supervises design and production of col lateral marketing and merchandising materials. Oversees delivery and usage of point-of-purchase materials and monitors results. Prepares advertising copy, coordinates designs with designers, and proofreads advertisements for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Negotiates and contracts with selected journals and websites for advertising space, coordinating the production of the advertisements and their arrival in a timely fashion. Negotiates design fees and contracts. Supervises design and production of marketing materials. Researches and obtains graphic elements for design, negotiating fees and contracting with photographers and others. Approves advertisements for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Reviews demographics related to periodicals and websites, determining best use of resources and widest reach to audiences. Monitors effect of advertisements on sales of recordings. Assures proper use of Smithsonian name and logo in design.


Supervises software programming related to marketing, sales and licensing, and contributes contacts to the expansion and updating of specialized media and sales mailing and contact list. Supervises regular distribution of promotional mailings of recordings and high quality publicity materials to media, field sales representatives, and an account base of over 3,000. Implements direct mail promotions by obtaining and contracting for usage of target lists and mail house. Creates direct mail pieces. Prepares, modifies, and updates mailing lists for promotional copies and handles relations with media representatives and record reviewers. Oversees all promotional mailings.


Plans, initiates, and directs the execution of web marketing strategies within broadly defined parameters set by the Director/Curator. Works closely with Director/Curator, Associate Director and web development staff to ensure adequate representation of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on the Internet. Supplies new product information and marketing updates to the web development team. Exerts editorial control at every stage of web publication process. Ensures accuracy and high quality of web-based publications by consulting curator, other professional staff members of SI, and outside experts. In conjunction with Director/Curator and Assistant Director, selects, negotiates fees, and sets up contract with web designers and programmers.


Plans, initiates, and directs the execution of media campaigns. Manages activities of contracted publicity firms, radio contractors, special project contractors, and marketing assistants to maximize media coverage. Coordinates with all levels of the media to establish and assure effective coverage and to develop and sustain professional, diplomatic, and productive relationships. Supervises and or fulfills media requests for fact-checking, illustrations and graphics, story ideas, story development, background materials, and coordinating interviews for SI staff, compilers and artists. Writes and issues news releases, catalogues and press kits. Exerts editorial control at every stage of publication process. Ensures accuracy and high quality of publications by consulting curator, other professional staff members of the SI, and outside experts. Selects, negotiates fee, and contracts designers and printers for catalogues. Supervises design and production process as well as distribution of catalogues.


Enhances the account base by developing new accounts and undertaking to increase buy­ins of existing accounts (including retail, wholesale, catalogue, magazine, and others). Notifies accounts of new product and recommends existing appropriate product. Negotiates for product space and visibility in account catalogues. Writes text and provides graphics for account catalogues.


Oversees Folkways Mail Order Department to recommend procedures to ensure smooth flow of orders, invoices and paperwork. Works with Mai l Order Manager to troubleshoot problems with consumer accounts, including fill rate, product availability, and establishment of policy and pricing procedures. Recommends stock maintenance and inventory management procedures to Inventory Manager.


Following curatorial guidelines set by the Director, evaluates the marketability of artwork and information on CD covers at the design stage and makes recommendations to Production Manager. Provides Director with professional advice on the marketability of recording projects and evaluates scheduling options. Coordinates with Financial Manager to develop and administer annual marketing budget in the most cost effective fashion.


Contributes to multi-year organizational strategies regarding branding, sales and marketing, and creates annual budgets to optimally contribute to their aims. Keeps accurate financial records of marketing activities. Monitors the financial execution of the marketing budget and measures results. Develops justifications and supporting documents for budget submissions. Consults with Contracting Officer on financial matters and overall operations.


Represents Folkways at professional and industry meetings, conferences, conventions, workshops, trade shows, and professional association, and travels in order to meet with special market distributors. Conceptualizes Smithsonian Folkways Recordings displays at conventions.


Other duties include advising on marketing of other products produced by the Center for Folklife Programs, ensuring synergies with the Folklife Festival and other activities; recruiting and supervising interns working in Marketing Department; and directing sales representatives in soliciting orders from special market accounts.


Carries out other duties as assigned.

Knowledge Required

In-depth knowledge of online and physical retail markets, licensing, and industries in areas of responsibility to enable identifying sales and licensing opportunities, monitoring branding and label performance in the marketplace, and evaluating product pricing and placement.


Knowledge of wholesale markets and sources sufficient to identify appropriate candidates for educational and distributor accounts and licensing opportunities. Familiarity with industry business standards, practices, terms, and peculiarities in order to successfully negotiate contracts favorable to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.


Knowledge of print, electronic, and Internet media sufficient to ensure effective public representation of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings products and to manage contracted public relations and web development fim1s. Ability to work with a variety of other professionals to produce high quality publicity materials that encourage sales.


Understanding of audio product development and manufacturing techniques and processes as well as the technical requirements of items to be produced in order to ensure product excellence and effectiveness in the marketplace.


Familiarity with Smithsonian audio collections and the vision, along with the constraints imposed by the museum or the curator, in order to provide valid product ideas and opportunities in the marketplace.


Extensive knowledge or a wide range of facets of the recording industry, including audio production techniques, business practices, manufacturing standards, product distribution, retail and wholesale pricing, record label planning and management, and artist relations–sufficient to provide effective policy recommendations to the Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings regarding overall management and vision.


Familiarity with Smithsonian contract terms, restriction, copyright and trademark regulations sufficient to negotiate and draft contracts, letters of agreement, and amendments prior to review by the Director and the Office of Contracts.


Excellent written and verbal communication skills to successfully promote an idea and to negotiate sensitive issues with curatorial and administrative staff as well as with outside contractors, account representatives, news media, and clientele.


Understanding of retail pricing and accounting techniques as well as of the budget process in order to ensure adequate management control and accurate projections.


Proficiency in utilizing computer applications including spreadsheets and databases.


Ability to recruit, support and supervise marketing and sales personnel and to manage numerous concurrent projects in an effective fashion.


Supervisory Control

Reports to the Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, who assigns work in terms of broad, general categories and suggests priori ties and objectives. Independently develops yearly budgets and multi-year strategies, set priorities, and provides accurate and timely revision as the year progresses. Follows through with each program and product independently, resolving conflicts and production problems while keeping supervisor informed of progress.


Conducts business meetings in absence of the Director/Curator and makes delegated business decisions in absence of the Director. Director offers general guidance regarding techniques or strategies for handling unusual situations with no clear precedent, or situations that could impact overall Smithsonian pol icy. Work is reviewed in terms of achievement of objectives, contributions to the advancement of overarching program goals and priorities, and overall effectiveness.



Guidance in implementing duties is based on overarching Smithsonian policies, budget    limitations, and general curatorial guidelines set by the Director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings for appropriate product development, placement, distribution, licensing, and sales. The incumbent must exercise judgment and discretion in interpreting guidelines and in negotiating prices and terms for products, licensing agreements, and contracted services. Proposes valid new policies and practices within these guidelines aimed at improving organizational effectiveness.



The incumbent is responsible for directing and managing a broad range of major categorical functions and activities concerning the branding, marketing and promotion of the entire independent label. Decisions require a broad mental store of experience, a high level of creativity, sound judgment and strong conceptual skills in translating Smithsonian objectives into saleable products. Simultaneously eliciting cooperation from numerous sources requires maturity and sensitivity to varying needs and priorities. Leads in developing and administering effective marketing campaigns, committing resources, and making decisions affecting Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Supervises and guides contracted public relations firms and acts as first line of communication of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to top-level media and other professionals. Creates and implements short and long-term plans for marketing. Oversee operations and effectiveness of distributors and stays abreast of curatorial direction and activities within Smithsonian Folkways Recordings that can impact marketing. Undertakes research of shilling marketplace trends and analyzes market performance, yielding new information aimed at maximizing the business effectiveness of the organization. Supervises a variety of projects, tasks, staff, interns, and contractors.


Scope and Effect

The incumbent takes the lead in representing Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to a broad public audience through the development of publicity and marketing materials and the management of the contracted public relations firm, as well as ensuring the generation of sufficient revenues to support the ongoing activities of the operation. Engages a variety of shifting issues, needs, and opportunities to effectively represent the label nationally and internationally. Effectively interrelates with personnel of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage staff, other sales and marketing directors throughout Smithsonian Institution, music industry and other professionals, the public, Folkways artists, writers, television and radio programmers and crews, and those in top management


Purpose of Contacts

To market, promote, publicize, and advertise the productions of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. Incumbent must display professionalism, tact, persuasiveness, and the ability to deal effectively with a broad spectrum of professional persons.



Physical Demands

The work is primarily sedentary, with occasional trips to marketing meetings,

conferences, and other important events and functions.



The work is mostly performed in an office setting.

HOW TO APPLY: Interested candidates are invited to send a letter of interest and a resume before COB on 8 September 2016. A complete position description is attached. Website: For applications and enquiries, contact Keisha Martin: [email protected]; phone 202 633 6447