Media Magazine FutureM interview

Julie Roehm, former SVP/marketing of Walmart and guest editor of Media magazine’s upcoming “CMO Issue,” notes that the industry must appreciate the Kane Kramers (MP3 player inventor) among us. “It was so long ago [1979]; it was way ahead of its time,” she said. “He sparked a thought, a notion in somebody and laid the ground to what was possible.”

For the issue, she wanted to identify the “rebels, renegades, young at heart, the risk-takers never satisfied with the status quo,” and then, beyond the print product, work with MediaPost Communications to develop an event, “Change: The Digital Transformation Summit,” to host panels where others could hear the stories of challenges faced, risks taken, things done differently. “Media companies and technology providers are doing these things,” she says, “but without a marketer to give ideas a platform, they don’t happen.”

The 24-hour summit takes place Oct. 5-6 in Boston. Marketing Daily spoke with Roehm to find out what we can expect to learn from some of the presenters of brand case studies.

“Gillette takes the rap for being so process-oriented, yet, because they have their act together, they take really smart risks,” she said. “There is a lot to learn from them, such as how you can be thoughtful and take calculated risks.” Bernhard Glock, former VP of media for Procter & Gamble and founder of the Media Leadership Company, will present Gillette’s case study.

Mark Neirick, VP/GM of pre-paid interactive at American Express, will co-present a case study, about which Roehm is excited. “I can’t wait to hear what they have to say. They have so much data; they are data-rich beyond our imaginations. These guys have the power to do great, amazing things simply because of their understanding of the data they have.”

Then there is Peter Farrell, who is in brand development and strategy at QVC, Inc., of which she enthuses: “It’s such an interesting business model. They have taken the idea of direct-response TV and literally created a retail platform. How do you take that into a world that is so digital?”

As for Pepsi, Roehm is a big fan of the No. 2 position. “I think there is something about that which makes you edgier, makes you reach farther. Pepsi’s had lots of missteps along the way, but I think they’ve had more big successes.” Plus, she adds, “Pepsi is consistent at great, really out-of-the-box ideas. There’s an element of fearlessness.” Shiv Singh, director of digital, North America, PepsiCo, will present that case study.

And then there’s Jeep, whose brand manager, Lucas Frank, will present “Jeep TripCast, the Power of Location-based Sharing. From 2003 to 2006, Roehm was director of marketing for Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler, so this is “a hometown brand for me,” she notes.

“The Jeep brand is one of the strongest automotive brands out there. Even to this day, and particularly since it is associated with Chrysler, it is the most valuable franchise owned by the Chrysler brand. Had it been a stand-alone, it wouldn’t have suffered. I drive a Jeep, a four-door Wrangler.

“We broke a lot of new ground at Chrysler when I was there. A lot has changed; it’s not the same game. They have a lot of DNA for being scrappy. They’re No. 5 or 6. They’ve got a lot to prove, having taken government money. But Jeep hasn’t lost cachet.”

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