Julie Roehm | Marketing + Strategy

Fearless in the face of marketing complexity

Month: March 2015

On fearlessness

I recently contributed a piece to Medium.com on the subject of embracing fear. The topic came to mind in my recent adventures on the high wire. Literally. As in Trapeze. To be fair, they make you wear a safety harness, but the fact remains that it is pretty hard to just let go of the bar and fling yourself into space. Trapeze artists are experts in fearlessness. Or to be precise, embracing fear and getting their crazy on in life.

Visual communications summit

Recapping storytelling from cave painting to Pinterest, this presentation includes simple steps to creating compelling brands stories both from internal sources as well as from customer experiences.

This is a fully fleshed out presentation on the topic of storytelling in a business and brand context. All rich content, videos, etc is embedded in the presentation, so if there is one version of this deck to view this is it.

Created for the Visual Communications and Infographics Summit keynote  2015.

Queen Bee on Ora.TV

Queen Bee is a reality TV show focused on finding the next great female entrepreneur. I was lucky enough to be one of the judges on the panel along with Divya Gugnani, Lawrence D. Lenihan Jr., and host Tonya Lewis Lee.

The show recently completed it’s first season. We had some great business ideas presented by some great women.

Queen Bee can be seen on Ora.tv here: Queen BEE

NYC Lean In event

I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at a NYC Lean In event recently.

The book Lean In is focused on encouraging women to pursue their ambitions, and changing the conversation from what we can’t do to what we can do. LeanIn.Org is the next chapter, enabling active participation and enabling women to reach their goals in life.

We are committed to offering women the ongoing inspiration and support to help them achieve their goals. If we talk openly about the challenges women face and work together, we can change the trajectory of women and create a better world for everyone.

NYC Lean In Event | Julie Roehm

Thanks so much to the NYC Lean In team for inviting me to this great event!

3 pillars of customer centricity

Julie Roehm Cutomer Edge Article

I was recently invited to write an article for The Customer Edge. Here it is, presented in it’s entirety:

In today’s business world where the customer reigns supreme, we hear lots of talk about the importance of becoming customer-centric organizations. But many companies struggle to bring this to fruition. And for good reason. Responding adeptly to each unique customer journey is no small feat. Yet it’s nonnegotiable for companies that want to effectively attract, engage, and retain customers – and rise to the top of their industry.

At SAP, we are so convinced of the value and power of customer centricity that we partnered with the CMO Council to expose the gap between the vision and the reality. The outcome is a 72-page report that summarizes our survey of 319 marketing executives across B2C and B2B brands. In it, we reveal why organizations are struggling to achieve adaptive customer engagements.
For a summary of the biggest hurdles facing marketers, check out “Why Aren’t Marketers Accomplishing Customer Centricity?” If you want a deep understanding of those challenges, give the full report a read.

Here at SAP, we truly get how hard it is to pull all this together. We see our customers grapple with these challenges. And we take those challenges head-on in our own organization. While we can never claim that we’ve fully mastered customer engagements, we have made amazing headway in a relatively short time. And we’ve done that by embracing the three key attributes of a customer-centric organization:
•    Executive support
•    Alignment across the organization
•    Customer-centered corporate culture

 

Senior management centered on the customer
Bill McDermott, our CEO, believes in putting the customer first. As our leader, Bill understands the imperative to tell our story through our customers’ eyes. He’s also committed to helping every company, including SAP, to Run Simple. As a result, our customers are doing amazing things on a more frequent basis.
It’s obvious that Bill embraces the customer-first principle because he has dedicated resources to transforming this idea into a formal initiative and program. While there are literally dozens of examples, the one nearest and dearest to me was his creation of the position of “chief storyteller.” By doing this, he gave me the job of shining a light on our customers’ successes – and on their customers’ successes. That’s a far more interesting and powerful way to demonstrate the true value of what SAP brings to the table than beating our chests and declaring our supremacy.
Cross-functional alignment around the customer
While the fact that Bill is spearheading a customer-first approach is critical, it’s equally important that the rest of the company’s leadership and their teams climb on board. We all know a leader can set the tone, but it’s the everyday workers who execute on the vision. Bill has done great work rallying his leadership team. And what could be a better illustration of that than the fact that our marketing and sales teams have partnered in telling our customer stories? Yes, we’ve helped close the great sales and marketing gap to take a cross-functional approach to delivering and speaking to the customer experience.
I’m not trying to sugarcoat this and claim that it’s been a breeze. But if you believe you’re part of One Team, you have to trust your teammates. So we have developed cooperation and trust between sales and marketing. Sales has bought into marketing’s going forward with customer-centric stories and experiences, and we in marketing are committed to delivering on that as our part of the bargain. In turn, we trust sales to hold up its end of the bargain by keeping the focus on the customer instead of on SAP.
Customer-first corporate culture
Bill’s leadership and the marketing-sales alignment are both signals that SAP is walking the walk, that SAP is building a customer-centric culture. But I can share even more examples. Our corporate portfolio marketing team has developed the corporate story, which we weave into all our external events, our thought leadership efforts, and our sound bites. And the “red thread” throughout the storyline all comes back to the needs, successes, and experiences of our customers.
We are also relaunching some amazing SAP Executive Briefing Centers around the globe. Again, marketing is working hand in hand with sales to create something truly experiential for our customers. Instead of customers sitting in the briefing center watching a PowerPoint presentation, we are designating our briefing centers to be more immersive, interactive – and fun. Interactive touch-screen walls allow participants to immerse themselves in the experiences of our customers using SAP technologies to better serve their customers.
For example, in our London experience center, customers enter a glass room with an authentic Formula 1 racing car backed by an interactive screen. In essence, we show how the McLaren Formula 1 team uses the SAP HANA platform to evaluate billions of data points in real time. As a result, the pit crew can make the optimal decisions to help get their team’s race car to the finish line first. But that’s not all – we then let our customers “race” to see how they stack up against a professional McLaren race car driver. This lets them see what’s possible in a fun way. But it’s not all fun and games – we find that these immersive, interactive environments open our customers’ minds to what is possible. And they drive deeper conversations and collaboration.
We’ve also built a design thinking room featuring iPads and walls of interactive touch screens. Here, our customers can draw on the iPad and, with the touch of a button, share their drawings on the interactive screen. They can then move elements around on the walls. This lets our customers get creative in the way that works best for them and creates a co-innovation environment where we work to craft customized solutions. Participants find this stimulating and inspiring, allowing them to do what was traditionally done in a design thinking session in a more experiential fashion.
What is your organization doing to become customer-centric? Where are you succeeding, and where are you falling short?

SWSI interview

I recently sat down for a Q&A  with Smart Women, Smart Ideas.

\You can see the discussion on Vimeo here: Julie Roehm on SWSI

Finsider interview

Bloomberg TV: Consolidation in the industry

I was recently on Bloomberg TV discussing the latest round of consolidation in the advertising industry. Digital technologies are driving massive change in advertising as well as the corporate forms and structures that deliver it.

Go here for the full interview: Julie Roehm on Bloomberg TV

ad:Tech 2014 interview

ad:tech is the leading advertising technology conference. It brings in thousands of leading marketing and advertising leaders to New York, San Francisco, and six other major metros worldwide. I was interviewed by the team at ad:tech after my attendance at the kickoff panel in 2014.

Go here for the full interview: Julie Roehm at ad:tech

Inspiring the next storytellers

Julie Roehm | Inspiring a new generation of storytellers

This is a version of my core presentation I was fortunate enough to give to the  inaugural class of high school kids at the new BTech school in Queens, New York. What a great experience and wonderful group of kids and teachers. Business Technology Early College High School (BTECH) is a new concept in education that is aimed at creating the next generation of information-age leaders.  It is located in Queens Village, NY. If you are interested in learning more about this great place, check out their website here:

http://www.btechnyc.org/ More on BTech: Designed like Brooklyn’s PTECH and emphasizing a STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — curriculum, the school is in partnership with SAP, an international company that specializes in business enterprise software, and Queensborough Community College. Students will enroll in dual-credited courses and participate in work-based learning experiences, such as mentoring, job site visits, apprenticeship and internships. Successful completion of the high school and college degree programs earns the students opportunities for employment at SAP or in the thousands of companies around the globe who run SAP software.

Thanks so much to the team at BTech for inviting me to speak.