Women to Watch 2009

Wanda Young

Senior Director-Digital Marketing, Walmart

By Published on .

Previous: Shari Weisenberg

BATAVIA, Ohio (AdAge.com) -- Making an impact at a corporate behemoth such as Walmart isn't easy, but Wanda Young, senior director-digital marketing, already had significant progress to show in less than six months.

Wanda Young

Having joined Walmart only late last year, she led a digital-agency review that by March brought in R/GA, New York, as agency of record. The same month she helped lead a major digital success story with the launch of the "Twilight" DVD, backed almost entirely by digital and social media, which set a Walmart record for preorders and had moms and daughters lined up outside stores nationwide at midnight on the release date.

Ms. Young, 40, joined Walmart from Alltel Wireless in Little Rock, Ark., about a two-hour drive from Walmart headquarters in Bentonville. As interactive-marketing director, she drew national attention for digital work that poked fun at Alltel's four bigger rivals.

Now her challenge is finding ways for the biggest retailer on earth to tell its stories millions of times over on a micro level.

"One thing I really loved from my last position is that I was able to grow digital as an overall part of the marketing arsenal," Ms. Young said. What intrigued her about Walmart was when it began telling its story a new way too, through the "Save money. Live better." campaign from the Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.

"Without question," she said, digital marketing will play a more central role in marketing for Walmart going forward. "Realistically, digital is part of a really important marketing mix. ... Walmart is so huge. How do we possibly let everyone know what's available for them in our huge stores?"

Walmart has always been willing to spend money on digital, said Kelly Mooney, president of Resource Interactive, Columbus, Ohio, which has worked with the retailer for years. But Ms. Young's appointment signaled it was getting more serious about having an impact, she said. "That admission that [digital] really required a senior person at the helm to change the emphasis as a strategic priority rather than a tactical execution of other campaigns I think was a pretty big deal and a smart move," she said.

Walmart already had a big digital advantage with Walmart.com, the second largest online retailer, Ms. Young said.

Previous: Shari Weisenberg
Most Popular