Caterpillar recently unveiled a heavy-duty Cat® Vocational Truck to customers in the United States and Canada. As the company’s first-ever on-highway Class 8 truck, a great deal was riding on the successful launch of the Cat CT660.

With such an important product introduction on the horizon, Caterpillar enlisted Simantel’s help to develop a long-term, comprehensive marketing communication strategy. Over the course of the year, our group worked closely with Caterpillar to build awareness of and excitement about the Cat CT660, as well as the unparalleled service support offered through the Cat North American Dealer network.

“We were challenged with generating as much buzz as possible for a product that didn’t exist quite yet. So our team had to think of compelling ways to reach our audience,” said Account Supervisor Jaci Fones. “We also had a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time, so in addition to traditional avenues—public relations, trade advertising, etc.—we relied heavily on the use of social media.”

One such component was the creation of a blog using the product manager for Cat Vocational Trucks. Leading up to the truck’s debut at CONEXPO-CON/AGG (earlier this month), the product manager shared his insider’s view and a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the truck.

He also offered one lucky customer a chance to win a VIP trip to the invitation-only unveiling in Vegas. (Congrats to winner Don Hughes of Columbus, GA, who beat out more than 4,000 entrants!)

The blog remains a success, with posts generating daily comments and questions from customers and Dealers alike. Customer input is vital to Caterpillar.

The dedicated microsite also continues to be a popular communication vehicle, offering videos, exclusive downloads, Dealer information and 360-degree views of the Cat CT660. As CONEXPO approached, “teaser” videos on the site generated word-of-mouth buzz all across North America.

In 2012, the campaign was recognized by the Business Marketing Association’s B2 Awards earning the “Award of Excellence.” It also was a finalist, receiving an honorable mention for the PR News’ Digital Awards.