Meet Julia Roy Professional marketer, early adopter & growth hacker

I'm a professional marketer with over a decade of experience leading digital marketing strategy and teams. As the first hire and Senior Strategist ​at Undercurrent​, I developed, executed and measured cutting-edge digital campaigns for Pepsi, Ford, CNN, BMW. As the first Senior Manager of New Media at Coach Inc.​, I built the new media department from scratch, planning, executing and measuring all of our new media marketing efforts. As VP of Marketing at Manilla (a startup inside the Hearst Corporation​), I was responsible for every aspect of digital marketing, establishing the brand and our user base from the ground up. As a digital consultant for ​Citrix​, I planned, executed and measured outside of the box digital campaigns to drive awareness and growth of their SaaS business. I’ve lead successful marketing strategies and campaigns for agency clients, big brands, growing startups and as an outside consultant. I’m a marketing ninja.

the brands I've worked for
a few projects I've lead

I'd like to tell you a bit more about myself, but resumes and cover letters are outdated and boring. I'd much rather tell you a story...

I’ve built marketing departments and teams from the ground up

In 2005, the air in Boston was crisp, the Red Sox had just won the World Series and Digg still dominated Reddit. I had just graduated from Simmons College in Boston with a triple major in International Relations, Public Policy and Political Science, which guaranteed me a job... as a bartender. (I didn't want to be a diplomat and I'm not sneaky enough to be a spy.)

I was a damn good bartender but knew it wouldn't (and shouldn't) last. I saw the rise of platforms like Twitter, Second Life and YouTube and figured I might be good at helping companies and brands learn how to play in this new digital and social world.

I was hired by a local PR agency in Boston, Schneider Associates as their first Social Media Coordinator. My only prior marketing experience involved selling Long Island Iced Teas, but social media was the Wild West and I really did know more than anyone in the room. It was an exciting time. Clients were blown away by their shiny new Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. It was a whole new way to communicate with their customers, and I was thrilled to show them how.

In 2007, I was poached from that agency by two entrepreneurs from Boulder, Colorado (Josh Spear and Aaron Dignan) who were starting a new kind of digital agency in NYC. I was the first person they hired to help them get it up and running. (I accepted my job offer on AOL Instant Messenger!) They moved me from Boston to NYC and together we built Undercurrent from the ground up.

Me and the chimp making funny faces at the Undercurrent startup office.

I worked directly with the founders of the company to create, sell and implement our new digital media services. Over the course of two years I lead the strategy and implementation of digital campaigns for our clients including Pepsi, Ford, CNN, BMW, Tennis Channel and Yahoo.

My time at Undercurrent was both difficult and amazing. I was pushed to my limits, well beyond my comfort zone (in a good way), and I grew more professionally and personally than I ever thought possible. Undercurrent became my family. I haven't had that relationship with a team since, and I miss it.

I believed (and still do) that a company should manage their own digital presence, rather than an agency, so when it was time, I left Undercurrent to take a position at Coach (that luxury handbag store that you or your girlfriend wander into sometimes.)

The beautiful bag my boss gave me after joining the company.

Coach saw the importance of digital and social and hired me to build their new media practice from scratch. I worked with our media buying, creative, retail and traditional marketing teams. My role was to translate and integrate everything those teams were doing into social initiatives and create new, innovative social campaigns and programs that would rival what our competitors (like Louis Vuitton and Kate Spade) were doing.

(Ask me about my crazy hiring story from Coach.)

Not to brag, but I crushed it. I grew the brands social media presence by 150%, driving over $500,000 in online sales in just 12 months. I also managed the creation and execution of the Coach Poppy Project, a social media campaign that generated 47,000 tweets and 20,000,000 earned impressions in 30 days. This resulted in the project beating Burberry's ArtoftheTrench.com and Gucci's gucciguilty.com and was named the #1 Social Media Campaign of 2010 by L2 in their anual Digital IQ report. #boom

One of the successful social campaigns I built at Coach

In 2010, I was approached by the former Chief Digital Officer of Hulu, George Kliavkoff to help him in his new role as CEO of Manilla, a new startup funded by and incubated inside the Hearst Corporation. The vision was to build Mint.com for bills and statements to help everyone go paperless. I was brought on as VP of Marketing and worked directly with the CMO and CTO to develop and launch the first version of the product to the public.

The development team was based in San Francisco and sales and marketing was based in NYC. It was a great opportunity because I was able to build a brand from nothing and work directly with the creative and the development team in a way that allowed product and marketing to work together (not in their own separate silos). I created all of our marketing plans, presented those plans, executed on those plans and delivered detailed reports on the results.

Speaking on a panel at Harvard

I enjoyed the challenge and I liked the people, but I quickly realized that Manilla wasn't really a startup at all. I walked into the iconic Hearst Tower everyday and took the elevator to my office on the 30th floor. Our CEO didn't even sit with the team. George's corner office with the other bigwig executives sat 18 floors above us. Because Manilla was built and funded from within Hearst, we were playing with "daddy's money" and the decisions at the highest level were those of a bloated corporation, not a lean startup. Our burn rate was $1M+ per month before we had true product-market fit.

Not what a startup's office looks like

In 2012, I gave my 30 day notice at Manilla. As I was deciding on my next move, I started consulting for Citrix, a big Fortune 500 brand and I liked the flexibility of being an outside expert.

I worked mainly with Citrix Online on their GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar, GoToTraining and Podio SaaS products. For 3 years, I helped them establish global KPI's, marry sentiment and reputation to NPS and correlate social engagement and retention improvement. I helped them with industry events and designed unique campaigns for their presence at SXSW every year. I did a lot more, but essentially, I was a hired gun for digital and social. 🔫

I understand digital marketing and social media at a deep level

I was selling social media services to brands before it was popular. Undercurrent wanted to prove to the big clients they wanted (Ford, Pepsi, BMW, CNN) that they understood social and could grow a brand using these new tools. Since they were new, they didn't have any good case studies, so my boss Aaron Dignan gave me the strangest task I've ever been given by an employer....

"Julia...get internet famous."

Did you really invent the selfie?

Invent is a strong word, but I was taking selfies before that's what they were called. For a year in 2008, I took a picture of myself at my desk and posted it online (often from my webcam). I used iMovie, my "selfies", and a little whiskey-fueled narcissism to create the video you see below.

The experiment worked...

Engaging consistently online helped me grow my social presence and my personal brand, which led me to being profiled in Vanity Fair as one of  America's Tweethearts, being named one of the The Top 100 Power Influencers by StatSocial, being called one of the 20 Best-Branded Women on Twitter by Forbes and one of the 16 Tech Titans on Twitter by Huffington Post.

I live and breathe digital marketing, personally and professionally.

From left to right: social strategist Julia Roy, publicist Sarah Evans, travel journalist Stefanie Michaels, actress Felicia Day, lifecaster Sarah Austin, and marketer Amy Jo Martin. Vanity Fair photoshoot.

I am a geek

I don't know much about code, just enough to break the CSS on my Wordpress blog, but I love new technology. Friends and colleagues always come to me for new app and tool recommendations, which is why I started my weekly newsletter Tool Candy. If my website doesn't make it obvious, I love using new tools and technology to design better systems and workflows and just be more productive.

I'm fascinated by how successful people get so much work done, so I host and produce a weekly podcast called How We Work Now where I interview successful people about the habits, tools and workflows they use to get their best work done.

My Writing Samples

After being approached by a NYC literary agency and publisher earlier this year, I'm "working on" my first book, which means a lot of time thinking about writing my first book, interviewing writers for my podcast and buying overpriced Levenger notepads.

Despite the lack of progress on my book, I love writing and below are a few samples that I actually finished and shipped.

Fast Company: 3 Changes To Your Physical Environment That Can Make You More Productive

The Downside of Internet Fame

The Truth About Willpower

Professional Résumé

Get in Touch

I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me: julia@workhacks.com

Whew. That was a lot. Thanks for reading.
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Julia Roy
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