Live from OMMA: Roehm, Womack Discuss The Future

"The future is now," marketing gurus Julie Roehm and Sean Womack told a ballroom full of eager listeners at OMMA yesterday--using a timeline of landmark advertising and branding campaigns to define the current iteration of Marketing, which they called 2.x, and prescribe ways to upgrade to 3.x.

(Watch Laurie Petersen interview Julie and Sean.)

The duo declared Marketing 1.x dead with the one-time airing of Apple's iconic "1984" Super Bowl spot in 1984, which over the past few days has been remixed as an anonymously authored piece of Barack Obama campaign fodder. Marketing 2.x, they said, has been enabled by the technology born of its era, resulting in the rise of multimedia, multiplatform, user-generated content campaigns.

Ads in the Marketing 1.x era, Roehm and Womack said, were narrative, in the Marketing 2.x era, informational, with the audience going from passive to active and a focus on experiential content.

They highlighted six marketing campaigns illustrative of Marketing 2.x. The first three are examples of trendsetters in their genres, which paved the way for a boon in a particular type of marketing:

~ BMW Films' "The Hire," which gave rise to high-quality, Web-only films and content

~ Burger King's "Subservient Chicken" campaign, the most prominent early example of viral marketing

~ the Web site built for the film "The Blair Witch Project," which validated the idea of Internet marketing and heralded the reality storytelling era.

They also highlighted three recent user-generated content campaigns, all of which combine elements of viral marketing, reality-based content and Web-only content:

~ Lonelygirl15

~ the Diet Coke/Mentos eruption (although they said neither company probably intended for this product feature to be showcased)

~ Doritos' Crash the Super Bowl

When outlining their visions for the Marketing 3.x world, Roehm and Womack discussed a fully integrated, networked world "that transcends the current three-screen campaigns that everyone is talking about. There will be four or five screens, and they will all talk to each other," Womack said.

Branding in the Marketing 3.x world also takes on a different, more holistic relevance. "Brands don't live in isolation," Roehm said. "Context is more complicated today, and brands must relate their offerings to the lives of the consumer. It will take the right partners to help brands develop their content skills, and in the Marketing 3.x world, we move from brand managers to brand integrators."

Two companies they feel already are upgrading to the Marketing 3.x world are 3M--whose culture of continuous innovation is legendary, spending north of $1 billion on R&D each year--and Google, which invests 20% of its capital on "whatever you think will most benefit Google."

Roehm and Womack borrowed from those examples to develop their own model for upgrading to the Marketing 3.x world: the 70-20-10 model. They recommend companies spend 70% on their day to day/base operations, 20% beta testing new ideas, and 10% on experiments on what Womack called "what's on the tip of the spear."

Roehm then further advised companies learn to treat marketing as an investment, and to speak the languages of CFOs and COOs. She cited GoDaddy.com's Super Bowl ad, in which corporate bean counters envy champagne-swilling, babe-watching marketers as an example of the image of marketing marketers should work hard to defy.

Editor's note: It was quite a job concentrating on what the pair had to say after details of their alleged affair were reported yesterday. What were reporters to make of the couple who, just days after being fired by Wal-Mart, posted recommendations for each other on LinkedIn.com? Here's one commentary.