October 06, 2021 Andrea Bartman
Over the last half-century, technology has transformed the manufacturing industry. More processes are automated than ever before, and digital components are making their way into every aspect of business operations, including marketing and sales.
Advancements happen fast, in rapid and sequential fashion, making it difficult for manufacturers to keep up with technological progress and understand how these changes affect the industry.
Additionally, many of these advancements are predicated on artificial intelligence and smart technology that are detailed, complicated and difficult to manage.
Protolabs, a rapid prototyping and on-demand digital manufacturer that produces custom materials, realized there was an education gap in the industry. Manufacturers, business partners and potential customers couldn’t keep up with complex advancements and innovations.
So, the company turned to the ON24 platform as a way to bridge this gap and help its customers.
With ON24, Protolabs has:
- Increased its number of prospects by 62%
- Increased its sales conversions by 10%
- On average, gained an additional 300 registrants per webinar
Here’s how Protolabs made it happen.
How Protolabs Changed Its Marketing Strategy to Include Webinars
To successfully incorporate digital experiences, the team at Protolabs needed to make a few adjustments to their marketing strategy.
To begin with, the team needed to shift from a sales-centric approach that targeted prospects to a thought leadership model. Doing so would help attract and engage prospects and, ultimately, accelerate the sales cycle in the long term.
To do this, Protolabs would need to ensure the content they produce is valuable, relevant and easily digestible.
Protolabs positioned itself as a thought leader in its industry by focusing on content its audience found valuable. A digital strategy focusing on thought leadership topics led to increased sales, which started with more attendees at digital events.
Next, the company created a digital strategy revolving around webinars. It worked to ensure all content, activities and communications aligned with this strategy and with the company’s image and standards.
Finally, the team needed to connect their events with global engineers. To do so, they worked with a platform capable of producing different types of digital events like case studies, short videos, monthly design tips and deep dives into a variety of manufacturing topics.
How Protolabs renewed Its webinar Strategy
Prior to ON24, Protolabs’ webinar program centered around sales with one-off, as-needed events. With ON24, the team shifted its webinar strategy and created an integrated program that added value to its overall marketing program.
With this new strategy, the team moved away from sales topics like why customers should use Protolabs and focus on industry topics helpful to customers.
With the data and analytics gathered by ON24 in hand, Protolabs could easily identify and repurpose its best content. In fact, the company actively looks for content that helps the business grow and can be used multiple times for:
- Additional speaking engagements
- On-demand viewing
- ABM efforts
- Sales enablement
- Trade shows
Additionally, Protolabs can use this data to track which webinars are successful and how attendees are learning about the events and signing up to attend.
With partner referral codes, Protolabs can track and analyze which sources, such as email or social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, are resulting in the most registrations for an event. This allows the team to focus their efforts on tactics that are working and make changes for areas that aren’t.
Similarly, the team can personalize each digital experience to fit the event and track what attendees do and click on within the webinar console. By knowing which attendees participate in a poll, survey or Q&A, the team can determine the best way to follow up and help the attendee through the buying journey.
Another reason Protolabs chose ON24 was because of security.
Protolabs’ customers use the company to have a prototype made for a product not yet on the market, so the security of proprietary products and intellectual property is of great concern. With ON24 Webcast Elite, Protolabs has the tools to run webinars that protect an attendee’s personal information and data.
How ON24 Webinars Grew Protolabs’ Business
By switching to ON24 Digital Experiences and developing a strategic webinar plan, the team at Protolabs saw several positive results.
The company’s shift to a content marketing strategy focusing on thought leadership webinars led to a 62% increase in prospects this year. This increase in prospects also led to 10% more sales conversions than in previous years.
The team attributes much of this growth to the company’s ON24 powered webinar program which averaged 300 more registrations per webinar than the ad-hoc sales webinars the company used to produce.
With Protolabs achieving these successes in the first year of its new marketing and webinar strategy, the company hopes to see the program continue to grow and achieve new goals.