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In a late-morning session on direct marketing, Inga Broerman–the senior manager of interactive marketing for Siemens–explained the unique challenges facing her company's medical solutions division.

* Siemens is already well established with its core American market: The big hospital. As Broerman puts it, "You don't have a new hospital popping up on every corner.
* And though one of Germany's best known brands, with a presence in 130 countries and worldwide sales of €87 billion, the company has relatively low name recognition in the United States.
Further challenges for new lead generation:
* How to locate an estimated 14,000 small-scale customers.
* How to reach them when smaller deals don't justify significant expenditure.
Siemens' solution? "What sells our equipment," said Broerman, "is the quality of the images. We need a great way to deliver them." So they rely heavily on a digital marketing mix of online brochures with Flash-animated graphics, e-mail campaigns, podcasts and search optimization.
Then Siemens streamlines the qualification process by routing all inquiries through a single 800 number and a single e-mail inbox--between 6 and 8 percent typically qualify, and are forwarded to sales.

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Christian Gulliksen is a writer who has authored several of the Get to the Po!nt newsletters for MarketingProfs. A former editor at Robb Report, he has also contributed to Worth, Variety, and The Hollywood Reporter.