"Just go for it," says OMR boss Philipp Westermeyer
Philipp Westermeyer, entrepreneur and founder of Hamburg’s Online Marketing Rockstars, is juggling plans for the next festival, podcasts, platforms, a book and a TV tower simultaneously. Two years ago, OMR drew more than 50,000 visitors to Hamburg's exhibition halls, but then coronavirus struck. Meanwhile, the company has grown from 120 to 200 employees with turnover of EUR 30 million. And now OMR is aiming for significant growth. Hamburg News spoke to Westermeyer about his recipe for success.
Hamburg News: The pandemic almost drove you and your team over the brink. How did you get your act together?
Philipp Westermeyer: We've expanded our business to four pillars - live events, podcasts, software review and education portal, and the Hamburg TV tower as a bonus. We hope to eventually reopen it. The pandemic put paid to live events forcing us to set other priorities. That saved us and we have notched up significant growth.
Hamburg News: You have also published a book entitled "Digital unplugged" by Econ Verlag. A real hands-on book to leaf through. That's quite unusual for a digital entrepreneur...
Westermeyer: "Digital unplugged" is for reading in bed - not at a desk. The target group is broad and not only digital experts. It describes extraordinary phenomena and movers and shakers of our time. And a book is not as unusual as you might think. The brands complement and fuel each other. We can do still do things that don't earn us money immediately, but fit into our portfolio.
Hamburg News: Where and how do you come up with ideas for your projects?
Westermeyer: Everywhere and anywhere ...in the shower, on the couch. I just walk around with my eyes wide open and wonder what I find exciting. The good thing is that I am practically my own target group and develop products and services that I need and use myself.
Hamburg News: What are you going to surprise us with next?
Westermeyer: I probably won't be able to lease as many towers or write as many books as I would like. But I read a report about working mothers recently. That gave me an idea for a job portal especially for that target group...maybe next year. Our USP is just doing things and seeing how that goes.
Hamburg News: The last festival in 2019 attracted more than 52,000 visitors, 500 exhibitors, 700 speakers including the YouTubers Fynn Kliemann and Rezo. The next OMR Festival is scheduled for May 17-18, 2022, the first in three years, and is likely to have all the ingredients of a rousing festival. What's the main theme going to be?
Westermeyer: Apart from our gigantic, but ordinary agenda, we will also focus on fintechs and mobility.
Hamburg News: Surely, you are already in contact with Elon Musk in relation to mobility?
Westermeyer: We were in contact with him once. But it's much too early to say anything about that now.
Hamburg News: Regardless of whatever else you come up with, will Hamburg remain your location of choice?
Westermeyer: I'm originally from Essen, but I and my family have lived in Hamburg for many years now. I like Hamburg especially as a centre of media and a city where plenty is happening. It's the best city in the world for several months of the year..
Hamburg News: Philipp, many thanks for the interesting talk!
Interview by Karolin Köcher
Philipp Westermeyer, 43, is the founder of Hamburg's Online Marketing Rockstars (OMR) festival. A native of Essen and of Hamburg by choice, he studied business administration and media management and was later Executive Assistant at Bertelsmann AG. Eventually, he became an entrepreneur and founded an online marketing agency, which was sold to Gruner+Jahr. Westermeyer later founded an advertising technology company and sold it to Zalando. As a sideline, he began establishing OMR as a conference and series of seminars.