Truly Great Marketers (in no order of importance)

Tom´s current Top 10 List

This is my own personal top of truly great marketing visionaries, and with just a few exceptions these are people whom I met and worked with.

Apple Founder Steve Jobs – The Visionary

Everything has been said, written and filmed about the man who created an iconic brand. We can enjoy this brand every day and still don’t get tired. Whether it is at home, at work or in the sleek Apple Stores. On and Offline 24/7.

Marty Homlish – The Game Changer

When the press and analysts said that SAP missed the internet, Marty came and changed everything.  Marty gave SAP the ‘it’ look and generated billions of dollars in brand value over more than a decade. From a sleepy boring international company to a cutting edge, sexy and cool looking enterprise software firm rivaling the top global brands. Every year, since Marty joined SAP, the company was ranked higher in the list of the most admired global brands. A man who transformed SAP from an engineering driven company to a customer driven company.

Better Place’s Shai Agassi – The Love Child

He’s ‘defacto’ successor of Hasso Plattner, Founder of SAP, Shai left his nest as a Co-CEO to make the world a better place with his grand vision to run a country without oil. Shai was so successful in raising money for his new venture like no man on earth before- simply with a vision, a pitch at the World Economic Forum and a TedTalk. His sales and marketing skills were simply amazing and Shai, seemingly able to sell anything anytime, was wearing the Black Belt. His vision was great and might be soon a reality, but his timing and execution demands made the grand vision evaporate in smoke.

SAP’s Hasso Plattner – The Artist

Hasso is a true artist who likes to explore what is possible. He does not weaver and sometimes goes over the edge, as his passion drives him in all what he believes, whether it is in sports or technology.  A man I always admired. A man who fired me (although I did not leave the company) in the spur of a moment´s passion and then rehired me a couple of hours later. An artist and entrepreneur who built a decent living for hundreds of thousands of people and does not stop giving back what he built. 

Sam and Nicolas Hayek – The Explorers

Nicolas Hayek is the Entrepreneur who built the world largest watch company from the brink of ruin of the Swiss Watch Industry. Before Hayek, most people had only one watch, and now thanks to him and his vision watches have become a accessory, an affordable one that we can buy over and over again. He defined the watch not as a tool to check the time but an accessory to make a fashion statement. His thinking led the way famous brands are leveraged today in multiple ways to extend their reach. Today his son Nic (a former film producer) is driving the company, with continuous innovation and creativity and no less passionate than his father, who recently passed away

Roger Federer – The Ambassador

The World best Tennis Player of all times. He won more tournaments than anybody else before and he is one of the greatest Ambassadors any country can have. He is humble, open and accessible. His value to his home country Switzerland is enormous, as Roger is generating brand equity for Switzerland ever since he became a super star.  Global Brands are standing in line to have Roger endorsing their products.

Stephan Sieber – The Wild Card

The young gun very few even heard of is a man I got to know quite well during joint projects. Stephan is a Swiss, hard charging, fun loving kid who is a true hybrid of Sales and Marketing with a good dose of execution excellence. At only 38, he was driving SAP to huge success in Germany and Switzerland and now works on his next gig with a global ITC Firm. People love to be around him and work for him. If he is not spending time negotiating with a customer, he is either on a Glacier with his Skis or with his old Landrover in the Wild camping, joined by his young family and telling stories around a bon fire.

Paul Wahl – The Thinker

Paul Wahl former CEO of SAP, President of Siebel and CEO and Board member of multiple Start Up is now a Venture Capitalist. As the world is flood with Big Data marketers need to know Technology and how to make Big Data relevant to drive the company’s bottom line. Paul is one of few executives in the world who masters these skills of combining Technology and Business. He is the prime example what successful CMO’s need to master to add value to their companies.

Dieter Mateschitz, Red Bull – The Adventurer

Austrian entrepreneur Dieter Mateschitz was inspired by a pre-existing energy drink named Krating Daeng which was first invented and sold in Thailand. He took this idea, modified the ingredients to suit the taste of westerners and built a global empire from his native Austria. Red Bull markets its brand with extreme sports and celebrity endorsement. Dieter co- founded the company in 1987 and headquartered it in a sleepy Austrian village. Before co-founding Red Bull, Mateschitz worked as an international marketing director for a toothpaste company. He has an uniquely keen eye for marketing a simple product on a global scale with a fun factor.

SAP’s Bill McDermott – The Motivator

When I first met Bill in 2000 in the Parking Garage at SAP, he came right to me and introduced himself, telling me that he just joined the company as the new CEO. I did not know him neither did he know me. He told me what a beautiful day it was and that it’s good to meet me. It was pouring cats and dogs and I told him I am not so sure about the wonderful day, thinking more about the awful weather. He told me that I was wrong and he made it clear: ‘Tom, it is a good day to do Business! Are you with me in this or not?’ I have to say I was speechless, but gave Bill an emotional hug and told him I will be with him. Bill is hugely successful with driving SAP and some people think he would make a good U.S. President, or maybe Senator before that.  Bill is an outstanding motivator and an excellent Chief Executive. He can run a company, a state, or a country and if you join his journey, no child is left behind.