Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 14
14 HALL OF FAME Q&A | JAMIE SOHOSKY
SHOPPER MARKETING MAY 2018
Jamie Sohosky, center, with Walmart colleagues, from left to right, Matt Parry, senior director, customer experience;
Alan Dranow, senior director, Walmart Museum; Steve Rogers, senior director, visual merchandising; Stephanie
Stoddart, senior director, omnichannel; and Shayne Wiedemann, associate marketing manager.
Q Did you work retail as a kid?
I sure did. First, I had a whole cottage
industry going in babysitting. But the day I turned
16, I went out and got my first "real" job at a little gift
shop that specialized in gift baskets. Every Saturday
and all summer long I'd be in there. New baby, weddings, birthdays, any occasion you can think of - I
can make up a gift basket.
Q Where'd you go to school?
I, along with almost my whole family,
went to the University of Missouri. I went to the
journalism school - the best school in the country
- and I worked on the newspaper and the magazine,
and even had an internship at KMOX in St. Louis. I
learned about what I didn't want to do, although all
along I was thinking advertising.
you a tough copy editor around
Oh, yeah. I have little pet peeves. I
have no tolerance for bad spelling, and I still use a
graduation, you went into
My first job was as a media buyer and
planner at TBWA\Chiat\Day in St. Louis, a very
strong creative-led agency. I learned how the pieces
work together in the agency world, and I also got a
feel for the importance of building relationships and
respecting what each area brings to the party.
I then went to work at the Waylon Co., a sales
promotion agency that, although I didn't know it at
the time, was probably my foundation for learning
shopper marketing. We had great clients including
Anheuser-Busch, Tropicana, Nike and Jim Beam.
We were doing all sorts of things: on-premise and
off-premise promotions, new product launches, instore events and corporate programs.
I got married in 1996 and moved to Cincinnati,
where I joined Northlich Stolley LaWarre, working
mainly with P&G, plus Cincinnati Bell and Jack
Daniels. P&G had a group called the "corporate
new ventures team" that was charged with driving
innovation in areas outside P&G's current sectors,
such as applying technology
in new areas and working
with R&D. I worked on a lot
of fun projects, one of which
resulted in them buying
Iams pet food.
Q How did you find your
way to England?
was in the bedding division
of Leggett & Platt, and they
were looking to expand in
Europe. At that point we
didn't have kids, so we decided to try it, although we
did not know a single person
over there. We loved it and I
ended up going to work for
Campbell Soup. I figured
we'd be in the UK for two
years and ended up staying
for eight, doing a variety of
things in new product development, brand management, portfolio innovation
and running a category team. Both of my boys were
born there; they have dual citizenship, which is fun
because we still love to travel.
Q How did you make your way to Walmart?
The grandparents wanted us to come
back to the U.S., and my in-laws had moved here to
Bentonville. I was thinking Chicago, but my fatherin-law had other ideas; he gave my resume to Mike
Duke and the rest is history.
was in 2006 when you were named
Senior Director Marketing - International.
A SOHOSKY: I worked on, among other things, the
launch of a Walmart partnership, the "Easyday"
retail chain in India. It was complicated because we
were in a joint venture, and the government wouldn't
allow us to just come in and open as Walmart. So it
was very much like launching a new brand. I studied the customer, how she shops, where she shops,
whom she shops with, how often - all of that. It was
all informal trade, so we had to decide everything:
How big should our store be, what should we sell,
the layout, the marketing - everything.
imagine "Easyday" was foundational to
reinvention work you do today, correct?
SOHOSKY: Absolutely. For some reason people
A think that if you work at Walmart, you can't be
scrappy. Well, you've seen how we're set up here - it's
no ivory tower. We joke that we have no "executives"
at Walmart - there are only "working executives."
Eventually Steve Bratspies, who runs our
merchandising organization, said it was time for
me to come join the U.S. business. I started in a
Walmart brand job, working for Tony Rogers, who
is still my boss today.
four years, though, I see you headed
back to Europe. Why?
In 2010, I made a presentation at our
global marketing summit, which was being held in
the UK. Rick Bendel, then the head of Walmart's
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shopper Marketing - May 2018
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - Intro
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 1
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 2
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - Contents
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 4
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 5
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 6
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 7
Shopper Marketing - May 2018 - 8
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