Marketing IdeasBy Curt Bennink, Senior PR Editor, Lessing-Flynn — 

After more than 25 years in the equipment industry, I’ve seen more than my fair share of efforts to grab attention. But even after all this time, a few still stand out. Synchronized machine performances choreographed to music, machines grading at night under a laser light show, a technician in a tuxedo changing oil, and a large crate that revealed a machine to a packed crowd. These were more than traditional marketing efforts. They were memorable experiences. The companies involved took a risk and succeeded. They also highlighted smart strategies other marketers can leverage in their work.


Using entertainment to reinforce the take-home message has produced memories that last — in some cases decades later. These are some of the most unique I’ve seen.

Try something different (but relevant)

Did you ever think you’d see heavy equipment execute carefully orchestrated choreography like a synchronized swimming team? I didn’t, but seeing it in action demonstrated just how precise the machines could be — even if no contractor would ever place their machines in that precarious position.

Demonstrate capabilities in extreme conditions

I once attended a manufacturer’s grade control solution demonstration. The event took advantage of working at night, complete with music and a laser light show. It left a lasting impression, both of the grade control capabilities and of the event itself.

Don’t be too serious

A little humor can help you stand out from the crowd. Consider a campaign centered on a service tech performing oil changes in a tuxedo. It sounds ridiculous. Who would wear formal clothes on the job? But the ad claims he can do it because he’s the cleanest man on the jobsite — making the idea fun and memorable. Plus, adding a little humor may lead to better recall.

Draw a crowd

When at a trade show, make a scene. Nothing attracts attention more than a crowd. And one sure way to attract a crowd is to unveil a new product live at the show. Especially if you make the reveal larger than life. Just take the launch of a vacuum excavator hidden in a 12-foot high, 40-foot long wooden crate branded with “Can’t be Contained.”

Promotion before the show ensured attendees knew when the unboxing was happening, allowing the manufacturer to draw more than 400 spectators to the unveiling. Once the box was opened, coordinated presentations and a live demonstration kept the audience engaged. The event resulted in extensive media coverage.


Emerging media can help position yourself as a leading-edge expert. Digital tools are quickly transforming the landscape and new ways to reach your audience are springing up daily. You can use the latest consumer-targeting technology to expand your promotional opportunities beyond traditional marketing channels. Here are a few of my favorite examples of using new technology.

Thought-leadership podcast

Early in the adoption of podcasts, an OEM who was new to the industry established itself as a thought leader through a construction technology podcast. This owned media opportunity gave value to the audience by sharing strategies to adopt technology into their operations. The popularity of downloads proved this company was on the right track, providing sought-after information in an effective format.

Condition-triggered targeting

GPS device location capability has opened a new realm of digital marketing possibilities. You can reach a highly qualified prospect at a specific time and location. For instance, I once saw a company use the latest client-targeting technology to reach hay producers with timely customized messaging based on weather-triggered events in a defined region. This company also reached customers visiting competitive dealers by using hyper-local targeting. Campaigns like these will be game-changers moving forward.


Effective use of earned media can be a powerful tool for brands. Here are two strategies that I’ve seen perform well.

Press events at customer job sites

If you want a better shot at media coverage, try hosting press events at customer job sites. Editors are always looking for reader stories and often these peer interviews are difficult to schedule. This is particularly true with those who work in demolition, quarries or mines where access may be restricted. Editors will appreciate the access and undivided attention of your customers, resulting in more earned media opportunities. The customer can also add credibility to your message.

Media day

Hosting a media day is not an innovative concept. But when it is done right, it is a very effective way to attract earned media coverage. While the chance to operate machinery is a bonus, the true value lies in access to product experts for in-depth interviews and video opportunities. One tip if you’re planning a media day: Don’t monopolize all of the time with presentations. Editors want time to interview the experts.


Achieving a position as a thought leader requires thinking outside the box, but it can make a big impact for your audience. Here are a few ideas to help make the most of the strategy.

Interactive digital experience

In a couple of instances, thought leadership was achieved by creating interactive digital experiences that educated the target audience. Manufacturers partnered to develop digital experiences that explained complex topics in detail through animation and 3D imagery. These were accompanied by posters distributed to readers through industry magazines. Topics included how Tier 4 emissions after-treatment works and the intricacies of the connected jobsite. These are both complex topics that are difficult to address through conventional marketing efforts.

Proprietary magazines/media channels

Several manufacturers have developed their own magazines or media channels. This is smart because it can be much more targeted with virtually no waste. By including information and topics their audience wants to hear about, the manufacturer can credibly build brand awareness while becoming a thought leader.

Ready to create your own impact through memorable marketing? Put your in-depth understanding of your target audience and a willingness to try something different to work. With the right mix, you might even make an impression that lasts for years to come.

Curt Bennink is Senior PR Editor at Lessing-Flynn, the longest-standing independently owned advertising agency in America. Bennink has been a staple in the construction media industry for 25 years, serving as an editor for various publications before joining Lessing-Flynn in March 2022.

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