Building a Digital Marketing Campaign for the CONEXPO Tradeshow


2013 - 2014


Every few years, CONEXPO-CON/AGG (CECA) presents the largest trade show in the western hemisphere. This event represents an opportunity for Caterpillar to assert its position as a leader in the construction industry and showcase equipment, services, and technologies. CECA also provides a venue to strengthen industry contacts and better acquaint the dealer network with the company’s customer base in the construction industry.

Caterpillar wanted to take full advantage of CECA as a massive marketing and outreach opportunity. However, tradeshow efforts in the past relied on traditional marketing techniques with little digital outreach and communication. Additionally, marketing efforts within the division were disjointed, with different ads for the same company placed in the same publication.

The result was missed opportunities. Caterpillar is determined to make this tradeshow marketing campaign and digital experience different.


To fully leverage this huge opportunity, a cohesive marketing plan needed to be conceived and implemented. This is where I stepped in. As a strategist on this project, I crafted an approach that included:

  • A unified message.
  • A dynamic hook and paid media buy.
  • A process for bringing different company divisions under one umbrella.
  • A marketing plan with a strong digital presence.
  • New methods for reaching target industry contacts before, during, and after the trade show.

I worked with creative and communication teams to develop a creative and messaging approach.

In 2013, a new corporate brand theme was officially launched to serve as a unifying umbrella theme for all messaging. With this new messaging as the overarching theme, CONEXPO 2014 focused on technology-enabled solutions as core customer messages.

To attract targets, the creative and messaging centered on a sweepstakes with one clear message: “We are giving away $100,000 to help you build your success with a combination of products, services, and technology.”

To maximize the impact of this campaign, all business units coordinated efforts to deliver one voice for the enterprise during the 3-month period. During this timeframe, all business units endeavored to market under one message and one theme in all business-unit-related channels.

I collaborated with team members to create a cross-channel digital marketing strategy

I collaborated with team members to create a cross-channel digital marketing strategy that utilized a mix of paid, owned, and earned tactics, encompassing both traditional and digital channels. This strategy was implemented for Caterpillar and its dealers.

Efforts to reach targets via digital media extended beyond the 4 trade publications. Several other tactics were used to reach the right target with the Build Your Success message. Specifically:****

    • Tradeshow floor – throughout the trade show floor, signage directed people to the official CONEXPO mobile app, which was heavily sponsored by the company.
    • Email Blasts – highly targeted emails were sent to a purchased list
    • Search Engine Marketing- Text ads were delivered on Google’s platform
    • Google Display Network- Display ads were delivered on Google’s platform
    • Mobile App/ AEM– Caterpillar had a gold sponsorship within the official CONEXPO (AEM) mobile app.
    • Facebook– as the event approached there were several posts on the main Caterpillar Facebook page
    • Company webpages– Calls-to-Actions and links to the page were strategically placed within other webpages. Specifically:
      • Company – Homepage
      • Company- Complementary product pages
      • Company – Complementary story/ article pages
    • Dealer banner and print ads– dealers leveraged assets that were created for the Build Your Success campaign to use within their own campaigns

Equipment Today, Equipment World, Construction Equipment, and Heavy Equipment Guide where the top 4 trade publications within the construction industry. Within the top 4 trade publications for the construction industry, the Build Your Success sweepstakes offer was promoted via print and digital environments. This included:

    • Print executions: Print ad within in polybagged Show Planners, 2 Page Spreads, 4 page inserts, Bellyband, Inserts on heavy stock
    • Digital tactics: Banner ads of varying sizes, video ads, Email banner ads
    • Digital executions: run of site, expandables, rich media, page takeovers

I collaborated with team members to develop a media landing page

All media drove to one landing page, which was built on the platform. The primary call to action on this page was to enter the sweepstakes.

Additionally, 6 other pages were created to support 6 different ways that Caterpillar helps customers build their success. These topical pages were centered on the following themes: Productivity, Fuel Efficiency, Uptime, Versatility. Technology, and Cash Flow.

Just prior to start of CONEXPO, additional supporting content and stories were added to enhance the experience for individuals who could not attend the show.

I worked with development teams to build a lead generation form

On the website, the primary goal was to get targets to enter their information to win the sweepstakes. An Eloqua form was used to capture leads and store them in the enterprise’s database.

With 22 different required fields, the type and volume of information captured was robust. This did not appear to be a deterrent to form completion as the amount of information that we were asking for was consistent with the value of the sweepstakes.


It can be hard to put numbers to the massive gains that result from a well-executed outreach program, especially one that reaches tens of thousands of individuals at an industry trade show. We do know that in this case, a cohesive marketing strategy that integrated paid and traditional approaches paid off. Through this strategy, we were able to build awareness of our brand as an industry leader and nurture relationships with industry targets, generating new leads for the company.




2013 - 2014




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