Julie Roehm : A Profile Interview

Julie Roehm She’s been called Fearless.  Resilient.  Dynamic.  Even… “Unruly”.

Julie Roehm is all that and more.

Bold and brilliant, Julie is a powerful, charismatic marketing visionary.  Her keen ability is the result of calculated daring, deep experience and wide range.  She is a catalyst for change— the best at what she does.  Her penchant for taking on the greatest challenges and come out ahead, on top and up high is legendary.

Julie, who finds inspiration in smart quotes by an eclectic group of thinkers, sprinkles her conversation with words that shape her own philosophy and experience.

You immediately know she is courageous, brave, in command.  When I tell her this, she smiles that trademark Roehm smile, mix of fine intuition, confidence, fierce focus and remarkable intelligence.  “Fearlessness is like a muscle.  The more you exercise it, the more natural it becomes to not let fears run you…that’s a favorite from Arianna Huffington.”

Clients seek her because she’s a warrior with a guru-like ability to feel and predict what makes consumers need, not want.  Believe, never doubt.  Buy, not browse.  Rev up, not idle.

Notoriously unafraid of controversy and a good, clean fight for the right, Julie is an intrepid, yet infinitely calculating innovator.

She is famous for her tactical savvy, known for looking an obstacle in the eye and pushing it aside, and highly respected for her ability to win the challenge that has yet to show itself.

Julie pours her soul and her passion for results into everything she does.  And like Edith Sitwell, she is patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.

Today, Julie Roehm soars as one of the most successful, in demand global marketing, new media, advertising and innovative brand building consultants in the country for one simple reason: she’s right on target more often than most.  She is never afraid to call it as she sees it…popular or not.

Julie’s strength is rooted in her education, experience and personal devotion to excellence. She’s a Purdue University civil engineer with a University of Chicago MBA.

Julie wins for her clients because she leverages emotional intelligence and a gift to ideate, strategize and maximize— rare breed.

Nothing Julie does, from evaluating the subtleties of research insight and advertising, to scrutinizing measurable returns on investment, is gratuitous.

She is always ten moves ahead of the game, the competition, the obtuse.

Julie is a marketing and new media chess master, the equivalent of Bobbie Fischer in an international consumer arena.  Her client roster swells with high-tech players, international firms and European conglomerates.  Why?  Because avant garde thinking matters, and Julie’s compelling need to succeed produces tangible measures and results.  Bottom line, she delivers the goods— always.

Julie possesses an alchemist’s touch for identifying and strategically targeting the needs of the consumer.  She gathers, balances, analyzes, refines and divines.  When she bottles the final result, consumers buy it because it’s…just right.

Take for instance her footprint in the automotive industry, where she landed after successful stints at Bristol Myers and American Airlines.

First, Ford.

Julie did what very few have been able to do in modern automotive history: shoot to the top in a dizzying ascent propelled by slam dunk win after outta-the-park hit.  Always ahead of trend, predicting, feeling and shaping desire, she was responsible for the astounding success of the Ford Focus launch and virtually redefined viral, multimedia, multiplatform marketing, advertising and promotions.

Accountable to the last penny, Julie over delivered on sky high goals:  she sold 300,000 Focus units in its first model year with 50% of the sales contributed to consumers under 35 years old, and Launched two Special Edition Focus’ in partnership with Sony and Kona bikes, providing incremental sales of 12,500 vehicles, profit of more than $20 million as well as improving residual unit value.

Before leaving Ford, Julie was responsible for a half-billion dollar marketing budget for Ford Division cars and minivans, she brilliantly negotiated and executed a partnership between Nickelodeon’s Blues Clues and the Windstar as part of an integrated marketing program including Blues Clues TV, Blues Clues magazine, website, and Blues Clues Live tour, led communication strategies for Ford Thunderbird launch, as well as Ford Focus episodic launch.

Fast Forward to DaimlerChrysler.

She rocked the truck market with Aerosmith and Dodge Ram.  She sponsored the provocative, controversial and unforgettable Half-Time Lingerie Bowl, gave birth to the Mayor of Truckville campaign, and created one of the most valuable, equitable ad tags ever: Dodge. Grab Life by the Horns.

When I asked Julie why she was so passionate about potentially controversial tactics, she responded with a remarkable quote from Beaton,  “My personal ethos is to be daring.  To be different, to be impractical, to be anything that will reassure integrity of purpose and vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace and the slaves of the ordinary.”

She then added, “That depth of daring and innovation “sears” a brand in the soul of the consumer. If they truly believe we’re as authentic, bold and original as they feel, our brand will become a projection of their personality, a necessary and essential part of who they want to be.  And make no mistake, it’s always about who they wish to be, and become.”

Julie also directed the launch of the groundbreaking “That thing gotta Hemi” campaign, touted as the most successful automotive advertising campaign of  recent times, contributed $15 million to turnaround plan, achieved a 20% production improvement, reduced advertising development by 65%, and propelled the website development of dodge.com resulting in over 300% increase in unique hits, and multiple awards including Ad Ages Top Automotive Sites.

In her last position at DC as Director of Marketing Communications, Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge, Julie made magic with a $2.1 billion marketing budget, led domestic and global marketing communications strategic plans, directed worldwide development and integration for advertising, merchandising, licensing, events, auto shows, motorsports, CRM, Internet, games, promotions and media across the brands.

Showing her touch once again, Julie invested in hugely profitable latent markets before they became mantra for most Fortune 500 Companies.  She was a powerful advocate and supporter for the strategic development, communication and execution of Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep dealer advertising and marketing tactics targeting urban, African American, Hispanic, Asian and GLBT markets.

Julie also launched the Chrysler “Inspiration Comes Standard” campaign,  ideated and directed the launch of the all-new Chrysler 300, leading to over 100,000 handraisers in the pre-launch phase as well as a sold-out vehicle position.

And because she’s got the stamina of Secretariat and Man O’ War, she oversaw 11 product launches in a calendar year, led a gaming strategy touted as one of the most progressive in the industry, and achieved more in her tenure than most top-suite, corner-office execs do in a decade.
Above all, Julie is the indomitable innovator companies need to thrive today and tomorrow.  “It’s a simple choice,” she says.  “My work is a revolution, not just an evolution.  That’s what my clients deserve. That’s what they need to win in a flat world: SMART REVOLUTION.”
Julie’s smarts and bravura strategically lead the pack to war and victory no matter what the challenge brings.

Example? She single handedly spun the media selling industry into frenzy with her courageous and brilliant proposal for a new, market driven media buying process based upon the NASDAQ system.

The Rainmaker also predicted a future where media would mean broadband and two-way devices. Results? Unending buzz in Ad Age, Automotive News, NY Times, Jack Myers Report and other notable publications.  Julie also created a marketing and agency executives forum that in turn formed a partnership with eBay to build an online Media Exchange.  In August of 2007, the forum’s goals came to life and the Oxygen network became the first to sell its media via the exchange to Intel.

Here Comes Wal-Mart

So, what did Julie Roehm do at Wal Mart? Rethink, reshape, challenge and innovate. The rest is fodder for the water cooler, or as Julie herself quotes from Brinkley, “I am successful because I’ve learned to lay the strongest foundation with the bricks that others have throw at me.”  In a year, Julie took massive steps to empower, transform and increase brand image and profitability with Wal Mart’s $800 million marketing budget.  She completely redirected and refined Wal- Mart’s marketing approach to project and reflect new corporate direction.

Almost single handedly Julie ideated, developed and implemented a world-class, global marketing communications strategy and the structure needed to successfully execute. In order to maximize results in record time, she also revolutionized marketing direction for Wal-Mart stores in the US, directed overall development and integration for advertising, merchandising, signage, events, interactive communications, promotions, media and TDMs, captained a comprehensive advertising agency review for advertising, media, interactive marketing, direct marketing, in-store marketing, new media, Hispanic, Asian and African American marketing communications, and led several, highly successful campaigns such as the HDTV campaign, Holiday campaign, Back to School online campaign, and the development of a toy youth project led by two animated characters named Wally and Marty.

Her Wal-Mart Toyland micro site with Internet based wish list for kids resulted in 175,000+ unique visitors a week spending 10 minutes +, and browsing 35+ toys.  Julie also expanded Wal-Mart’s Latin Grammy Sponsorship to better reach a younger demographic, led the “Everyday Green” partnership with MTV to engage 18-30 year olds, launching with a pop-up store in Times Square, managed the $40 million marketing production budget and realized savings of over $2 million through more efficient production.

The Rainmaker, Today.

Julie was most recently sought and cast as a judge on JINGLES, a show from executive producer Mark Burnett, currently in production and slated to premiere later this year on the CBS Television Network.  She was chosen for the show for three simple reasons: marketing acumen, courage and charisma.

As co-founder of Backslash Meta, LLC, Julie jets around the globe advising and building new models for clients like Credit Suisse, Sports Illustrated, BIAP, GLG, MCC, MediaLink, OTX, SpeakWithMe, Hispanic Market Weekly, Blue Diamond Ventures, Clear Story Systems and many more.

Along the way, Julie has earned numerous awards.  She has been named, quoted, touted, praised and inducted.  She has also been criticized, accused and attacked. But when I ask Julie about that she laughs and waves a graceful hand.  “I’d be worried if people didn’t talk about me, because it would mean I stopped doing the bold and visionary thing that needs to be done, that no one else has the courage to do.”

She sits back, tall and regal, smiles and quotes Alex Bogusky, “Life conspires to beat the rebel out of us all.” Then she leans forward, hands intertwined, elbows on knees, full court presence.

I’m expecting heavy words, Tolstoy or Joyce.  But no— always a delightful and surprising thinker, Julie gives her closing statement with gravitas, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

When I ask her if that’s Whitman, she explodes with elegant laughter and shakes my hand. “Nope.  Doctor Seuss.  And don’t you forget it.”

Julie Roehm is indeed, unforgettable.

Arlette Torres
Senior Editorial Director for Hallmark Cards


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