Philipp Westermeyer launched a small online marketing conference eight years ago. Now, with over 50,000 visitors, it is one of the biggest marketing events in Europe. LEAD asked the young creator of online marketing rock stars how he did it, what role the brand plays and what his future plans are.
LEAD: Did you ever think that the small digital marketing conference would be such a huge success project?
Philipp: I never thought that the festival could be that big. I started it as a hobby, more or less for fun. Because everyone has always asked me: Can you help online marketing and stuff? So the project started as a hobby. And then, at some point, people would say yes there’s no second meeting? When do you meet again? Advanced course and such.
But we had not planned everything. And so I started to organize this conference. I thought: I’ll just get some artists and invest in the experience. But there was no business plan. We just had the amazing luck that companies like Google, Facebook and Adobe have become the most relevant companies in the world over the last eight years, from small businesses. We just swam on this wave of development.
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LEAD: Is there a business plan now that the fair has become so big?
Philipp: If you want to pay 85 people every month, you can not be on the road without a plan. The plan for the next few years is to build a modern media house that stands on different pillars. We want to generate revenue with podcast business, event business, seminar business as well as content and sponsoring. And maybe even try the financial part of the classic channel beyond digital marketing.
So we want to build a real media brand just like you did 20, 30 or 50 years ago in Germany. There are sensational role models. But we will not build a news media house like the mirror. I prefer a media house with inspirational content. Let’s see where that leads us.
LEAD: What did you want to become at the age of 14?
Philipp: I wanted to be a journalist. I did not have too much entrepreneurial desire. I wanted to be a journalist, I worked in local sports, in Essen, at the WAZ. And with my podcast on the OMR, I am now half a journalist, but also half an entrepreneur.
LEAD: What do people have to bring today if they want to succeed in marketing?
Philipp: What you should definitely bring with you in marketing is a mobile phone * laughs *. That has become enormously helpful in recent years. Then you need understanding for the complex marketing topics. That’s one thing. But in addition to the whole technique, you also need a sense of content. You have to inspire and inspire people and always do things that are different and surprise you.
“I’m at most a B2B brand.”
LEAD: Do you think that you should stylize yourself as a brand and do you feel like a brand?
Philipp: Of course I do not see myself as a brand, although there is now a booklet that is named as I am. And then of course it is a bit strange to say that you are not a brand. But I see it more as a gimmick than marketing for the OMR. I am a maximum of a B2B brand. So you can say that. B2C certainly not. Nobody would recognize and address me in Hamburg’s pedestrian zone. But then at events like the OMR. So B2B brand – okay.
LEAD: You have a business, you are a brand. And you need employees. There is a persistent rumor that good employees are hard to come by. How do you get good employees?
Philipp: We have a small location advantage. Here in Hamburg it is easier than in other German cities to find people. And then a lot goes on over our network. The first employees I hired knew personally or were recommended to me by friends. And now we have 85 people. One knows one and he knows one more. Of course we also find new employees through job boards, that is through our own job market, but also through Monster and Co. But the best channel is our colleagues.
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