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Tom Haas

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Title: CMO
Company: Siemens Corp.
Years in current job: 8
Quote: “It comes down to consistency and persistence. We've been consistent in our message and persistent in our delivery in terms of making sure we've got a well-funded and multifaceted campaign that works across all levels.”

After shifting a “significant” portion of the company's marketing budget to digital media in 2007, CMO Tom Haas said, Siemens Corp. has found a nice balance between digital tools and traditional marketing channels to help get its messages out.

Haas said about 30% of his budget is currently devoted to digital channels. However, he is quick to point out that those dollars do not include investments in search.

“We feel strongly in the value of search, both paid and organic because, when people are looking for Siemens and Siemens solutions, we want to be front and center,” he said. “So we continue to put a good bit of emphasis on that and attach [a robust search strategy] to various initiatives and programs.”

It's been a busy year for Haas, who has played a key role in developing new iterations of the “Siemens Answers” campaign. The estimated $145 million global effort, launched in 2007, highlights ways in which the manufacturing giant provides answers to business problems across such industries as high-speed rail, security systems, traffic management and water technologies.

“We still have a very strong budget; it's down a little [from 2009] but not considerably,” Haas said, “All in all, we feel very good about it.”

Last week, Siemens kicked off its Future of Florida High-speed Rail Tour, a traveling exhibit featuring a full-size model of Siemens' Velaro high-speed railcar. The tour was inaugurated with a VIP event at Tampa's Museum of Science & Industry, with additional stops planned for Orlando, Miami and Tallahassee. The presentations are designed to educate the public about the potential benefits of high-speed rail service. As part of the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus package, Florida is slated to be the first state to create a high-speed rail network.

Haas also hit the road earlier this year for a nationwide Smart Grid Tour that featured an interactive exhibit allowing attendees to experience firsthand the company's energy technology.

Siemens' various products and services, Haas said, lend themselves to more “experiential” marketing. “It's about engaging the customer and taking the story to them, and we do it in a variety of ways,” he said. “We feel physically going and giving them the opportunity to see [Siemens] technology and what it can do is important, and we reinforce that message through digital and other media.”

The High-speed Rail Tour, for instance, is complemented by a dedicated website with examples of how long it would take to travel from one city to another via high-speed rail compared with other modes of transportation. To recognize World Water Day 2010 (March 22) Siemens developed a personal water-use calculator application for a Facebook page. As of September, the page had garnered 2,000 fans.

Haas has also been getting the word out about “Answers” by sponsoring blogs such as The Energy Collective, which runs on Social Media Today. He envisions a similar sponsorship for Siemens' “Cities Initiative,” which will roll out later this fall.

—M.S.

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