Promoting the Grounds Management Association’s trade exhibition

When our reputation preceded us

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Our reputation in the turfcare sector preceded us when it came to being appointed to work with the Grounds Management Association (GMA) to promote its annual trade exhibition – SALTEX, Europe’s largest free sports turf, amenities, and landscaping trade exhibition. We achieved a 15 percent uplift in attendees: 76 percent of which were key influencers in purchasing decisions. And 94.7 percent of attendees said they would likely attend SALTEX in future.

Aware of our long-standing relationships and great work with clients in the sector, including Reesink, The Toro Company and Kawasaki, among others, GMA put us on the pitch list. Then, our comprehensive presentation on how we would build brand awareness and increase footfall saw us appointed.

So far, so good, but throw in a new exhibition launching in the same sector targeting the same niche audience, and the normal 12-month programme concentrated into five months, and we knew we had our work cut out.

Combining quality and quantity

We were tasked primarily with generating footfall of at least 8,250 attendees equating to a 75 percent conversion rate of the 11,000 pre-registration target. In addition, we needed to increase awareness and the profile of the show and its exhibitors to those working in and with the industry.

This wasn’t just a case of getting ‘people through the door’ though, attendees needed to be the purchasing decision makers and we wanted to see all aspects of the show, such as the Learning Live seminars, accessed by visitors. It needed to be positioned as the must-attend exhibition in the annual event calendar, delivering value in attending.

A PR piece written about SALTEX shown on an iPad and iPhone

Leading the way with PR strategy and advice

PR strategy and strategic advice led this campaign. Messaging and tone of voice was vital in the face of new competition, and it became more important than ever to cement media relations and support.

The exhibition landscape is fast moving and fluctuating, and we had weekly meetings with our client to stay on top of developments, but with the foundations of the campaign set, we were able to react to the changing and challenging sector conditions swiftly and with authority.

The campaign was equally as proactive as it was reactive. We negotiated media partner contra deals, engaged with journalists, and put an increased focus and extra support behind the exhibitors attending.

That was combined with a comprehensive content campaign covering everything from press releases, interviews, website, newsletter and eshot content, features, editorial, and thought leadership pieces, in both print and online.

Media reach averaged 6.4million for the six-month period preceding the show, exhibitors responded positively to the additional promotion they received and felt value was added to exhibiting and media support was robust with over 60 media correspondents attending the event.

Promotion of the SALTEX event in a magazine

Taking media relationships to the next level

Working with media partners was key to achieving the levels of awareness and understanding needed to attract both returning and new visitors. Each partnership package was specific to each publication’s requirements and was carefully considered to bring best value for both the publication and SALTEX. Clever negotiations secured print and online coverage, social media support, video coverage, as well as ad support, all designed to increase engagement and registrations.

Multitude of marketing assets produced

Over 250 separate marketing assets were produced from full page advertisements to weekly e-blasts encouraging early registration. Working in harmony with the SALTEX integrated marketing campaign, the media channels delivered and in turn had an enhanced presence at the event. There were on-site promotional banners, magazine distribution and, when desired, a show stand providing the opportunity to engage with readers/customers.

Boosting the creative

A refreshed logo and creative identity for both offline and online activity was designed and implemented across all assets. With a brief to ensure that the event did not look like a new one and paid homage to the established ‘look’ but was more modern and authoritative, the design was subtle but impactful. The creative solution was designed to work across a multitude of assets from large format displays and signage at the event to social media posts, email signatures and website banner ads. We created all the assets exhibitors needed to promote their own attendance at the show to spread the web of engagement further than had been seen in previous years.

The SALTEX website shown on a laptop

Visitors numbers are up

Despite the challenges, it was an incredibly successful campaign. We cemented our working relationship with the client marketing team and team work delivered a magnificent result in terms of attendance, positioning and credibility. Visitor numbers were not affected by the new competition in the marketplace, in fact, the target set was exceeded by a fantastic 15 percent uplift in attendees and there was a higher-than-normal re-booking level. 76 percent of those who attended had influence in the purchasing decision making and 94.7 percent of attendees said they would likely attend SALTEX in future.