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2019 Art of the Show Competition Winners: Attendance Promotion Campaign

Congratulations to the 2019 Art of the Show competition winners in the Attendance Promotion category: mdg, CSG Creative, and LoSasso Integrated Marketing and SmithBucklin! Read more about their winning attendance marketing campaigns.

Although the event landscape has changed significantly since these pieces were created, some things prove to be timeless. Specifically, the roles that creativity, innovation and a strategic approach to marketing play in driving results. IAEE’s Art of the Show Competition recognizes outstanding marketing activities directly related to successfully organizing and executing an exhibition and/or event. As such, it is the only marketing competition tailored specifically to our industry. Each year, event organizers submit the work they did to promote their show experience across 14 categories and an independent panel of marketing and graphic design experts selects the winners.

In today’s IAEE Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle, we highlight the winners of last year’s Attendance Promotion Campaign category, which evaluates a series of pieces used in a marketing campaign to promote attendance at a show (attendance promotion brochure, printed/digital ads, website, mobile app, etc.). Judging criteria includes overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity of the campaign; clarity of information, overall message and content usefulness; how each piece plays into the “big picture” (how it suits its intended role in the campaign); how the campaign relates to the overall “theme” of the event; and how well the campaign met its intended goals.

Under 75,000 nsf
mdg for NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA Institute & Expo (I&E) 2019

mdg for NAFA Fleet Management Association

The NAFA Fleet Management Association teamed with mdg for NAFA’s Institute & Expo (I&E) 2019, the world’s largest and most comprehensive fleet management event. An immersive, three-day experience, I&E is the best place to learn how to navigate the changing fleet management landscape, including first-class education and a full exhibit hall built around process automation, mobility, connectivity and other emerging technologies.

In addition to growing attendance, NAFA looked to mdg to refresh the I&E brand and marketing by developing a foundational creative concept that could be updated and implemented for the next one to three years. Upon performing a strategic analysis of the event, mdg implemented four key guiding principles for the 2019 campaign:

  • Develop messaging that spoke to the rate of change and complexity of the fleet management industry (mobility, telematics, etc.). This was critical to the campaign theme, as fleet managers are experiencing rapid change, to the point where their job description may look fundamentally different in the next 5 years.
  • Clearly communicate the comprehensive value of the show and the CVP of individual features, with a specific emphasis on the exhibit hall and how it serves as an extension of the knowledge attendees would attain in the more “traditional” setting.
  • Target content to three core audiences: corporate, government and law enforcement, with unique messaging and content mapping throughout the entire campaign.
  • Emphasize that this is the premier event for the fleet management industry: “by fleet, for fleet.”

 mdg developed a multi-channel attendee acquisition campaign achieving a 35% email open rate on average (above industry standard). The digital campaign generated more than 8,000 clicks and the added exposure increased year-over-year traffic to the I&E site by 21%. This comprehensive communication strategy also led to more NAFA members participating in 2019 over the year prior.

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
CSG Creative for FPSA

CSG Creative for FPSA


Produced by Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA), PROCESS EXPO is dedicated to bringing the latest technology and integrated solutions to all segments of the food and beverage industry. The industry sectors served include beverage, bakery, dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk, and ice cream), meat, poultry, and seafood, prepared foods (fruits and vegetables), pet food, and confectionery.

At PROCESS EXPO, processors partner with 500 suppliers who demonstrate innovative food processing and packaging technology, machines, and products on the show floor. Both veterans and those new to food and beverage processing get training on food safety, trends, leadership and more. In addition, there are numerous networking events, an Innovations Showcase awards program, an Augmented Reality Showroom, and unique to PROCESS EXPO, five full working production line demonstrations. The exhibit hall in McCormick Place, Chicago is over 190,000 square feet and hosts 15,000 industry professionals.

FPSA teamed with CSG Creative to create an attendance promotion campaign that would increase total non-exhibitor attendance to 9,900 (a 15% increase) and enhance the value of the show for exhibitors through exhibitor feedback (via surveys, focus groups, and discussions with staff and committees). The goal was to receive overwhelmingly positive responses that would result in a high onsite retention rate and more revenue from additional booth fees and sponsorships for future shows.

In addition, the team integrated a number of new marketing channels and strategies for the 2019 campaign. Marketing campaign highlights included:

  • Nine unique direct mail campaigns, several of which were targeted with versions across unique industry segments;
  • Comprehensive digital outreach including Facebook paid and organic posts, LinkedIn paid ads plus targeted;
  • InMail outreach, site retargeting, Google AdWords (search engine marketing), geofencing around 13 competitive
  • shows, as well as videos and an interactive floor plan digital tour;
  • Email campaign to prospects beginning January 2019;
  • Custom VIP Buyer Program;
  • Media campaign including print ads, web- based paid advertising, e-newsletters and e-blasts across nearly 50 publications;
  • Telemarketing (live and voice mail blasts); and
  • An extensive public relations campaign.

Over 200,001 nsf
LoSasso Integrated Marketing and SmithBucklin
The NAFEM Show

LoSasso Integrated Marketing and SmithBucklin

The NAFEM Show is a biennial trade show for foodservice professionals which includes everyone from mom-and-pop diner owners, to executives at multi-national chain restaurants, to non-commercial foodservice directors (schools, correctional facilities, hospitals) as well as the dealers, distributors and consultants who serve them. While interests, needs and daily realities vary, attendees come to the show for the same reason: to browse exciting products from 600+ of the world’s leading equipment and supplies manufacturers (NAFEM’s exhibiting members). With an exclusive focus on equipment and supplies, The NAFEM Show is all about the business of foodservice. Attendees and exhibitors alike value the fact that it cuts through the noise, and helps them make real impact on their company and career.

The NAFEM Show first started in 1973 and has since grown year-over-year. NAFEM (North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers) takes great pride in providing a buyer-focused show, but awareness and attendance among key foodservice operator segments remained low. Additionally, competing shows – though broader in their foodservice focus – were drawing attendance away from The NAFEM Show because of their perceived scale, entertainment value and mass appeal. Finally, with high turnover in the foodservice industry and changing demographics, NAFEM needed a strategy that would reach a younger/broader audience and go beyond just marketing to past attendees.

Tasked with promoting The NAFEM Show 2019, NAFEM teamed with LoSasso Integrated Marketing to create a three-part objective:

  1. Build awareness and engagement among specific audience segments with relevant, targeted communications.
  2. Drive pre-show registration and increase attendance of channel partners and foodservice operators.
  3. Increase attendee satisfaction scores by enhancing pre-, during and post-show experiences.

NAFEM and LoSasso needed a fully integrated, omnichannel marketing approach to raise awareness, perception and drive registration. The resulting attendance promotion campaign ran the full gamut to include branding/development of the show look/theme; video and content development; paid digital (search, social and display); email; lead capture and nurturing; direct mail; VIP marketing (account-based); trade media; PR; and exhibitor marketing support.

The holistic approach to the attendance promotion campaign yielded noteworthy results:

  • Operator attendance grew by 15% from the previous show (2017).
  • New attendees (never before been to the show) saw a gain of 5,300+.
  • Attendance at the NAFEM Party (post-show event) increased by 53% over the previous show.
  • The number of VIP attendees nearly tripled (from 34 to 96).
  • The show experienced 5,300+ conversions from its digital marketing efforts.
  • 41% of prospects who engaged with the show’s gated high-value content ultimately registered for the show.

The 2019 show was the biggest yet with 643 exhibitors, 378,722 square feet of exhibit space and 22,000+ registrants.

The 2020 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now open! Take advantage of discounted entry fees by submitting your entries before the early bird deadline on 31 August! You can also check out all the winners from the 2019 competition here.


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