Julie Roehm’s Social Media Strategy Recovered and Reinvented Her Personal Brand

I Want a Second Chance

Advertising Age published the following article on January 12th:  Julie Roehm Resurfaces in Senior Marketing Post at SAP.

I started following Julie Roehm‘s marketing career when Fortune Magazine profiled her in its August 2005 article: Yahoo’s Brilliant Solution.  As Chrysler’s Director of Marketing Communications (at that time), she clearly understood online advertising’s emerging impact as a necessary and vital part of a brand’s multi-channel marketing strategy:

(Direct Quote from the Fortune Article): “Here’s the scary part: Roehm rarely misses a chance to talk about how delighted she is with online advertising. Last year she spent 10% of the budget online; this year she is allotting closer to 18%; next year, she says, she will allocate more than 20%. Do the math: In 2006 roughly $400 million of Chrysler’s money that used to go into TV, newspaper, and magazine ads will be spent on the Internet. Says Roehm: ‘I hate to sound like such a marketing geek, but we like to fish where the fish are.'”

A 34 Year-Old Marketing Executive Publicly Declares a $400 Million Bet on Digital Marketing ROI. Wow!  Here’s a gutsy, young, rising, marketing executive superstar who’s publicly stating her $360 million and $400 million bets to achieve digital marketing ROI in the next two years!  Not only did this quantitatively trained University of Chicago MBA convince a highly conservative executive management team to think and invest differently but she also commanded their $2 billion global marketing budget.   

And, Ms. Roehm achieved this with an uprecedented style and flair.   

Fast Forward to After a Highly Publicized Departure at Walmart in December 2006. After numerous high profile promotions and industry accolades, Ms. Roehm abruptly found herself at a personal and professional crossroads. Starting in 2007, her short tenure as a Senior VP of Marketing at Walmart was her last full-time, executive marketing position for the next five years.  

While looking for her next opportunity, Ms. Roehm started her own marketing consulting practice. And, to say she encountered daunting challenges and setbacks during this time is an understatement. A July 2009 Fast Company article, Behind the Rebranding Campaign of Wal-Mart’s Scarlet Woman, and a Fortune Magazine “Where Are They Now” segment discuss her obstacles in regaining a full-time executive position during that five-year period.  

She wanted back in the C-suite.  But, as articulated by Fast Company, Corporate America wasn’t willing to take on “damaged goods.”

How Did Julie Roehm Recover and Reinvent Her Personal Brand?

The Governing Question.  And, here’s how I will attempt to answer it:  

  • Examine how Ms. Roehm leveraged social media technologies to reinvent her personal brand
  • Offer my opinion on her multi-channel social media strategy and individual channel tactics
  • Conclude why I think her move to SAP fits from a social media perspective

What This Post WILL NOT Attempt.  A lot of content exists online about Ms. Roehm’s departure from Walmart.  I couldn’t avoid it while conducting the research for this post.  


  • I will not rehash any of that online content and provide my personal opinions on it
  • I will not pass any personal judgment on Ms. Roehm in relation to that online content

If you’re looking for a sensationalistic piece, please click to a different website / blog. Because, you’re wasting valuable time by staying here.

If you’re interested in answering the previously stated governing question, I hope you’ll please stick with me for just a little while longer …

1. Roehm Crafted a Personal Social Media Strategy First

It’s About Focus.  Here’s a great article illustrating this point from one of my favorite social media authorities, Lee Oden of The TopRank Online Marketing Blog.  He cites Ms. Roehm as one of “the 40 friends, colleagues, and others,” he consulted for advice on this topic.  Here’s her direct quote from Lee’s post:

Julie Roehm Social Media Strategy Quote

A Home Base Personally Branding Julie Roehm.  juliearoehm.com is her personal website where she controls every positioning aspect of her personal brand:

  • Brand Persona Attributes: C-Suite Executive, Marketing Expert, Smart, a Likable Personality
  • Targeted Buyer Persona: C-Suite Executives in Marketing, Branding, and Public Relations
  • Target Industry Expertise: Retail, Financial Services, Automotive, New Media


Julie Roehm-Website 1

Online Assets Focusing on a Cohesive Brand Message.  And, she showcases these personal brand attributes by delivering and linking a cohesive and consistent marketing message among each of these online, personal branding assets:  

  • Her Personal Blog: “I’m an authority who publishes insights on marketing strategy.”
  • Videos (especially from Fox Business News): “A major news network has me regularly comment because I’m a marketing strategy authority.”
  • The Julie Roehm Twitter Feed: “I read, study, and share interesting content on marketing strategy.”
  • LinkedIn Profile: “I’ve held several marketing strategy authority positions or consulted for large organizations as a marketing strategy authority.”

Julie Roehm-Website 2

A Multi-Channel Hub and Spoke Model with Both Long-Form and Short-Form Context.  The multiple channel strategy executed here is worth highlighting in this age of real-time streams via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+:

1. The Marketing Pull.  Her website, blog, and videos contain the long-form context demonstrating her expertise to the target audience.  These online properties give her the runway to provide more details and examples of why she’s a bonafide marketing authority in her target industries.

2. The Marketing Push.  Her LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter contain the short-form context to share content she’s provided on her “pull assets” (i.e., a recently published blog post or tweeting an article link relevant to a specific industry or area of marketing expertise).

Julie Roehm Twitter Page


2. Roehm Leveraged Online Video to Her Advantage 

The Julie Roehm Personal Branding Killer App.  Ms. Roehm leverages online video brilliantly.   These videos demonstrate her personal strengths as well as different views of her personality:

  • Articulate and Smart
  • Subject Matter Expert
  • Thinks Quickly on Her Feet 
  • Confidence: e.g, she knows this stuff cold
  • Humor: e.g., she pokes fun at herself and doesn’t take herself too seriously

Plus, notice how each video positions her as one of the following:

  • Julie Roehm, Consumer Analyst and Marketing Expert
  • Julie Roehm, Marketing Strategy Consultant
  • Julie Roehm, Marketing Expert

* Example: Leveraging Online Media in Branding Strategy

CATFOA 2011 – Julie Roehm 2.28.11 from Ech03 on Vimeo.

Additional examples from Fox Business News highlighting Ms. Roehm’s diverse expertise in multiple industries, public relations, and branding strategy.

Note: I provided the Fox Business News videos this way because (1) Fox doesn’t allow the use of video embedding in external sites and (2) The URL in one of the videos produces funky-looking “duplicates” on my published blog post.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

3. Roehm and Her SAP Senior 
Marketing Executive Colleagues Share a Common Ground: Think Like a Publisher 

Both Her New Boss and a Senior Marketing Executive Colleague Self-Publish a Blog and Use Twitter.  Ms. Roehm, her new boss, and one of her senior marketing executive colleagues agree on an important aspect of a global brand’s marketing strategy: self-publishers win in social media.

How can I make that type of a statement?  Her SAP senior marketing executive colleagues also actively self-publish online content:

And, during the interviewing process, I’m sure Ms. Roehm showed this online content portfolio to her SAP colleagues to make the case for her knowledge, expertise, and creativity in executing a successful social media strategy.

Thinking Like a Publisher Means Creating “Show-Me” Content.  Ms. Roehm started actively blogging in March 2009 and opened her Twitter account in May 2007. That’s given her significant time to create, publish and build a sizable online content portfolio.  To her credit, she aggressively self-published content for the past five years to position herself for senior marketing executive positions.


In the July 2009 Fast Company article cited earlier, Ms. Roehm made the following observation:

“She now ranks cultural fit — geographic and corporate — at the top of her list, adding that her ‘aggressive-aggressive’ personality, as she describes it, doesn’t jibe with the ‘passive-aggressive’ politeness of the South. ‘I wanted to be able to show that I can adapt anywhere, I can do anything. The thing I learned about myself is that I’m not a full-on chameleon, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

I have no knowledge of SAP’s corporate culture.  But, I do know these three (3) things after analyzing her personal social media strategy:

1. Julie Roehm maximized her online personal branding opportunities.  

2. She strategically self-published content that’s tactically distributed via multiple social media channels.

3. Her content delivered and reinforced a consistent brand message highlighting her marketing strategy capabilities and expertise.

Did her online activities alone win her this new professional opportunity?  Of course not.  

But, her online content strategy significantly contributed to winning her new senior executive postion at SAP.  I look forward to tracking Ms. Roehm’s progress because she’s always been someone to watch.

And, I wish her good luck.


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Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist.  He writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy for organizations and individuals in his marketing strategy blog, Social Media ReInvention.  Follow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.   


Photo Credt by Alyssa L. Miller via flickr

7 thoughts on “Julie Roehm’s Social Media Strategy Recovered and Reinvented Her Personal Brand

  1. I’ve worked with Julie Roehm, and here’s all I have to say about her. She is a BRILLIANT marketing strategist and capable tactician. She is no b.s., the real deal, and is a giant among marketers. What’s more? The biggest, baddest global brand couldn’t crush her, no matter how hard they tried. Why? Because you simply CANNOT make ‘real’ disappear.

  2. Thom, it’s so thoughtful of you to share your comment especially because you personally know Julie Roehm. I’ve never met her but I’ve followed her career since she was a fast-rising star at Chrysler.
    I’m a management consulting guy in way of professional training. So, I examine things through fact-based analysis (At least, I hope I articulated that type of analysis in this post).
    There’s no question Ms. Roehm understands how to focus the power and influence of new media in marketing strategy. To your point, she “leveled the playing field” by creating, publishing, and distributing content that favorably marketed her strengths.
    And, she consistently and strategically created that content over a five (5) year period. That grit and resolve served her well.

  3. I can attest that Julie Roehm is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant minds I have come accross, and I consider that I have been among higly intelligent and technical people considered brilliant. She is extremely sharp, shoots ideas, marketing concepts, crafts a strategy, an extremely good one, while the whole idea is still being pitched to her… nothing short of amazing… But more importantly, she is an uncommonly kind, helpful, and thoughtful person especially given her talent. I have a huge amount of admiration for her, and I am not at all surprised that it was only a matter of time before she would regain her ranks among the leading marketing experts in this country…

  4. Marieme, thank you for taking time to write your comment. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting or personally knowing Ms. Roehm. Therefore, your personal experiences working with her are sincerely appreciated. Thank you for sharing those experiences with members of this community. Like you, I’m looking forward to seeing how Ms. Roehm’s marketing expertise will shape SAP’s future branding strategy.

  5. Thanks for sharing Julie’s story. I’ve recently started up a blog and twitter account with no real strategy, but knowing that I needed to display some of my skills, abilities and personality in some “public” place. My goal in getting started was to build a new set of skills for my current job, while also getting my name out there a bit more with something I can show for my next job, whatever that may be. It helps to see a reasonable strategy that any one of us can tweak and follow in our own similar efforts.

  6. @Vicarious: Thank you for this thoughtful comment especially because you personalized it. You’re way ahead of the game by taking the initiative to not only build new skills but also build your own online content portfolio. It takes time, patience, and experimentation to create and publish content that genuinely differentiates you as a personal brand.
    I have no doubt you’ll be successful! Why? Because your positive attitude identified what you needed to do. And, most importantly, you’ve already started! That’s HUGE. Good Luck and thanks again for stopping by.

  7. Hi,
    This blog is informative for me because I am going to write my thesis about digital marketing that’s why I am getting points and different reviews about it from different blogs and here I found enough information about..!

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