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Close-Up with Tom Haas, CMO, Siemens Corp.

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Tom Haas, a 20-year veteran of manufacturing company Siemens Corp., has served as CMO for the past 10 years. This year, he continued the evolution of the “Siemens Answers” campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York, and focused on what he calls “agile marketing.” In the following interview with CMO Close-Up, Haas discusses his marketing priorities for the year and how he is expanding Siemens' marketing into areas such as social media and real-time marketing. CMO Close-Up: What are your top marketing priorities this year? Tom Haas: One of the top priorities is to continue with our brand campaign, “Siemens Answers,” which we started a few years ago, and make sure the topics we're addressing in the campaign convey the innovations of Siemens and carry key messages relevant to our target audiences—focusing on energy, infrastructure, making industry more productive, making cities more sustainable, and providing affordable and personalized healthcare and medical equipment. We're also doing more real-time marketing, taking advantage of some of the topics that are part of the national discussion and relevant to our target audiences. CMO Close-Up: What is an example of real-time marketing? Haas: We played a part in the development of the Mars rover Curiosity [which landed on Mars in August]. The whole product development [by NASA] used Siemens software—it was virtually tested to work out all the bugs. Our software is used by manufacturing people from all different industries. We did a congratulatory ad in the Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal when the rover landed; we did online banners and had Twitter and Facebook pages. It was a good way of getting involved in the conversation, reminding people what part we played and engaging our audience in real time. The results were very good—we had over 3 million Facebook impressions in the first day or two and a lot of tweets about the rover. Another way of looking at real-time marketing is the “Salute to Moms” campaign Procter & Gamble did during the Summer Olympics. It's really a great campaign on their part [showcasing the mothers of Olympic athletes in spots that ran immediately after the athletes won an event]. This idea of real-time marketing and agile marketing is something we will do more of. CMO Close-Up: What do you mean by agile marketing? Haas: We do a lot of great things, but sometimes I think we get lost in the idea of “We need to produce a TV ad.” Sometimes we need to be more nimble and agile. For example, we are a corporate sponsor of TedMed, which is produced by Ted Conferences and is focused on the healthcare industry. We sponsored an exhibit there [in April in Washington, D.C.], and we also sponsored live feeds of TedMed, which expanded our audience and got us more recognition. We also did Facebook and Twitter campaigns around the event. We look for those types of opportunities to do agile marketing. CMO Close-Up: Are you still using traditional media in your marketing? Haas: Yes. The “Siemens Answers” campaign had very integrated, traditional elements. This year we produced two new TV commercials—one on energy and one on healthcare. We also created a series of print ads for our verticals. We used radio in the spot market, and we also used out-of-home. In addition, we're using online marketing and social media. CMO Close-Up: How important is television to your overall marketing? Haas: TV is still very important; it helps maintain awareness. For a company our size, it establishes us as a key player in the industries we serve. TV may not work for everyone. We are, globally, a $100 billion-plus company, and in the U.S. we are a $25 billion-plus company. We're a major enterprise and we're primarily b-to-b. TV helps establish us as someone businesses can turn to for their solutions, and the public as well, including cities and government markets. We use TV selectively—Sunday morning talk shows, news, public affairs, sometimes sports, maybe some science and technology. CMO Close-Up: What are your advertising plans for the rest of the year? Haas: We don't plan to have much television in the fourth quarter. The feeling is [that] the elections will be all-consuming. That drives up the cost and drives down the availability and inventory. We don't have a political agenda, so we're not looking to advocate for one thing or another. Our feeling is, let the elections pass, then we'll come in with a fuller program after the new year, which is our second fiscal quarter. We will still be doing online and some targeted campaigns, but we are not planning a massive broad-based effort in the fourth quarter because of the elections.
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