Julie Roehm, Chief Marketing and Experience Officer at Party City has made some vast changes at the organization in just a few months. Her marketing techniques are unique and she has played an important role in guiding the company through the pandemic.
Julie Roehm was recently featured in Vivaldi’s Interaction Field Series — a conversation with the founder of Vivaldi, Erich Joachimsthaler. Julie and Erich delved into how she navigated her way through the pandemic, from the perspective of a marketer.
You can read the first part of their conversation below, or watch the video.
“I believe this Halloween will look different this year, but it doesn’t have to be bad. I know Halloween is many people’s favorite season. It’s one of mine! It’s the holidays that sell. But when you think about the Halloween season, it’s about dressing up. It’s about decorating. It’s about trick or treating.
“Maybe we’ll trick or treat in the same way. So we’re already seeing decor taking a more significant role because people want to celebrate in some way outwardly. The decorating is an easy way to do that, but they still want to have a memorable experience on the day. So we’re leaning heavily into the ghosting. For people who don’t know what that is, this is when you get a bag, and you fill it with treats and things, and you leave it on somebody’s doorstep. You ring the doorbell and run away. They don’t know who left it for them. Also, anothet big one is the ‘trunk’ or treating. When trunk or treating, you put goody bags in your car trunk at the end of your driveway, and people can take an item.
“So you do not necessarily have face-to-face interaction since there’s certainly a social distancing. But we’re seeing we have many influencers on staff and other people buying plastic Easter eggs. I thought that seems pretty early to be buying eggs. But, I wondered if something is reassuring about handing a safe easter egg, and sure enough, a couple of things came to mind. You can use these plastic Easter eggs like a mask for your candy. You put your candy in the Easter egg and hand those out. It’s a much safer way for kids since they aren’t all reaching and grabbing candy. Think about all those kids! They’re touching the bowl of candy, potentially spreading germs. This way, they’re taking the Easter egg out and the candies inside of that. So that is a genius idea! We saw postings of this idea from people who put lights in the Easter egg and put them all around. At night, they light up lots of things. We are trying to lean into this same notion too, so when people order online and have it shipped from our distribution center, it’s all in one box.
“Our Halloween boxes are orange, and they feature black jack o’ lantern on the faces of them. We include instructions for how to carve out that black part of the jack o’ lantern. Put a glow stick in it and then stack them on your yard, and it appears like an actual pumpkin. These boxes can become your decor! The creativity is there, we have to lean into it, and we want to inspire people. We wish for it to be easy for people to do these things. We follow and see what people already starting to do and recognize who are our influencers are. The ideas they have are amazing, and we jump on them as quickly as possible. It’s a part of having that “can-do” attitude. People see something and say we can do this. Let’s do that. Let us test it, and if it doesn’t work, that’s fine. So we do a ‘fail’ fast forward mentality too. There’s no punishment for trials. If it doesn’t work, we learn from the experience.