How SEMA Kickstarted Its Digital Marketing Campaign

Before last year’s show, SEMA initiated a new multiplatform digital marketing campaign that resulted in a 36-percent increase in online visitors finding their way to the registration page.

The Challenge: The SEMA Show, organized each November in Las Vegas by the Specialty Equipment Market Association, wanted to drive up at attendance, increase its online visibility, drive more traffic to and, in general, create some buzz about the upcoming show—and it wanted to do so using digital tools.

The Plan: SEMA marketers came up with a coordinated campaign that would include traditional print marketing along with digital media like e-mail, paid search and social media to drive home its core message. At the same time, it targeted online searchers who were looking for live coverage of the SEMA Show and used differentiated paid ads by implementing advance site link extensions.

The Obstacles: “We didn’t know which marketing channel would have the best ROI,” says SEMA Senior Marketing Director Dan Hobgood.

Hobgood says they did know that “the demographic of our market was a little older,” consequently they figured traditional e-mail and Facebook were likely their best bets.

“But social media was certainly rising over previous years,” he says.

The Results: Web site traffic increased by 30 percent compared to the previous year as a result of the digital marketing campaign that incorporated paid search, retargeting ads and social media marketing. There was a 36-percent increase in visitors landing on the registration link compared to the year before. Finally, there was a documented return on advertising spend of 500 percent.

The Advice: “Make sure your goals, your strategy and your target audience are clearly defined and agreed on,” Hobgood says, “so that everybody knows what the message will be.”

He adds, “The key to our success was having a broad marketing mix that included print, search, e-mail, social media and web in order to push the right message to the right audience and at the right time.”

To stay updated on the latestEXPO news, become a Facebook fan, follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter!

Posted by Michael Hart

Michael Hart is the executive editor of Expo. Reach him at View all articles by Michael Hart →