Building a Digital Marketing Campaign for the CONEXPO Tradeshow



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

This industry leader wanted to take full advantage of CECA as a massive marketing and outreach opportunity, however, tradeshow efforts in the past revolved around traditional marketing techniques with little in the way of digital outreach and communication.  Additionally, marketing efforts within the division were disjointed. There were instances of different ads for the same company placed in the same publication. 

The result? A lot opportunities. And a determination 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, the approach that I crafted 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.


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.

Additional Details

A new corporate brand theme, officially launched in 2013 and served as a unifying umbrella theme for all messaging. With this new messaging as the overarching theme, technology-enabled solutions was the focus of CONEXPO 2014 core customer messages.

To draw targets in, 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, during this 3-month period, there was a coordinated effort between all business units to deliver one voice for the enterprise. During this timeframe, all business units endeavored to market under one message and one theme in all business-unit-related channels.



Within the top 4 trade publications for the construction industry, the Build Your Success sweepstakes offer was promoted via print and digital environments.  

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


Equipment Today

Equipment World

Construction Equipment

Heavy Equipment Guide 


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: 

  • 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


Additionally, throughout the trade show floor, signage directed people to the official CONEXPO mobile app, which was heavily sponsored by the company.


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.

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.









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