The leading cause of death among firefighters isn’t fire or smoke. It’s actually heart attacks brought on by heat exhaustion from wearing heavy protective gear. TECGEN, a challenger brand in the personal protective equipment (PPE) category, offers gear that is much lighter and more comfortable than traditional gear. But getting firemen to trust their lives to a brand they’ve never heard of would be next to impossible. Plus, we needed to convince fire chiefs with tight budgets to sign off on TECGEN’s more expensive gear.

Insight: Firefighters are beginning to question why they’re saddled with outdated gear while military and police agencies adopt the latest technologies. Challenging the same old, same old was becoming the new norm.

Solution: We decided to go all in on FDIC, the world’s largest firefighting trade show. TECGEN’s booth was tiny compared to competitors, and nowhere near the main show floor – but we used this to our advantage to connect with firefighters craving innovation. To drive traffic to the booth, we ran an ad in the guidebook, placed large glass display cases with provocative messaging on the show floor, and installed branded clings on the bathroom mirrors so firefighters could “try on” the gear. To help fire chiefs overcome TECGEN’s higher price tag, we developed an ROI tool that instantly calculated how much money TECGEN could save them over time.

Results: Sales leads doubled VYA, which included an 86% increase in the number of lead-generating badge scans. Sales in the three months following the show increased 43% without additional marketing. Web traffic increased 400% and Facebook fans shot up 62%. Fire-Dex, the #4 player in the category, was so impressed they bought TECGEN shortly after the show.

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