Mr. Noonan last week joined 1-800-Flowers.com as its first chief marketing officer. That's a little different from his last job, as senior VP-worldwide marketing for Polaroid Corp. And that three-year stint was a change from his previous position marketing package goods -- with Pepsi-Cola Co., Frito-Lay and Nabisco Biscuit Co.
But the adjustment "was part of the allure," said Mr. Noonan. His Polaroid job combined that background with a focus on hardware and technology he had not had before.
"It was a very exciting combination for my career," said Mr. Noonan. "I think 1-800-Flowers.com will be an extension of that [experience]."
The 40-year-old Mr. Noonan will head all marketing functions for 1-800-Flowers.com, including branding, positioning, the look of retail environments and the advertising built around those functions.
The company's strategy is twofold, said Mr. Noonan. It wants to move beyond selling flowers via retail outlets and its namesake toll-free number to marketing a whole range of gifts and expanding distribution over the Internet.
AN IDEAL MEDIUM
The Internet is an ideal medium for selling flowers and gifts, he noted, because customers usually are buying gifts they will send to someone who is a distance away.
Dealing with the Internet is also a new challenge for Mr. Noonan, who said he's looking forward to trying his hand on the online world.
Trying so many new things was part of the appeal of joining 1-800-Flowers. Another, he said, was working with the company's founder, CEO and occasional pitchman, Jim McCann.
"He is a great guy and an entrepreneur," said Mr. Noonan. "We hit it off right away."
While starting his new job, Mr. Noonan also was preparing to move from Cambridge, Mass., where he was living during his time at Polaroid, and searching for new digs that would be convenient to 1-800-Flowers' Westbury, N.Y., headquarters.
Moving "is something [he and his family] have a lot of practice" with, said Mr. Noonan.
RETURN TO THE COAST
It's a return of sorts for Mr. Noonan, who spent a large portion of his career with companies located in New Jersey or New York state.
After graduating from college in 1981, he joined PepsiCo's Frito-Lay unit, based in Dallas, then moved to the Pepsi-Cola unit in Somers, N.Y. He left Pepsi as director of field management services to return to Frito-Lay, where he rose to VP-brand marketing. He left in 1992 to join Nabisco, in East Hanover, N.J., where he spent four years as senior VP-marketing before moving to Polaroid.
The experience -- particularly at Frito-Lay and Nabisco -- steeped him in large-scale operations with extensive merchandising. And that's very different from the entrepreneurial spirit for which 1-800-Flowers is known, he noted.