Virtual Parties — Celebrating During a Pandemic — Julie Roehm

Image by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Julie Roehm, Chief Marketing and Experience Officer at Party City, has made some notable changes at the organization in just a few months. Her marketing techniques are unique and she has been instrumental 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. In this second part of their conversation, Julie and Erich discuss how Party City created ‘virtual parties’ when the pandemic hit.

You can read the second part of their conversation below, or watch the video.

“I started at Party City in December as CXO. Then just after the pandemic hit, I was made CMO as well. I have very much been focused on the web, and on our marketing and messaging. When we had to shut down our stores, people still needed what we were offering. They needed it more than ever because of the uncertainty.

“We understood what customers wanted and went for it. Birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations were still happening. Even in a pandemic, there was reason to celebrate. Of course, these were not usual celebrations, but we tried to make it easy for people in the given scenario.

“We got into the virtual party ‘creation mood’. For birthdays we created drive-by birthday kits. For example, if your kid likes Spiderman, we created kits which would have all the things needed — party favors and more — to be delivered to your house. You would then put the kits in the driveways of all your ‘guests’, including an invitation to a Zoom party. Your guests could then attend a virtual party with their Spiderman masks and other fun stuff. We made free downloadable games so that children could play party games as well. Along these lines, graduation parades were so massive. We created kits and personalized signs for lawns or banners — we did a ton of that.

“I am always amazed by people’s imagination. People want to celebrate and want to be happy and create joy, even in this situation.”

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