How Protolabs used ON24 webinars to reimagine its marketing strategy

Watch Webinar

62%↑

Increase in the number of prospects

10%↑

Increase in prospect conversions with sales

300

Person increase in average registration per webinar

About Protolabs

Name: Protolabs

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Founded: 1999

Employees: 5,000-10,000

Funding: Public

Industry: Manufacturing

Name: Protolabs

Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN

Founded: 1999

Employees: 5,000-10,000

Funding: Public

Industry: Manufacturing

Protolabs is a leading digital manufacturing source for rapid prototyping and on-demand production. The company produces custom parts and assembles in as fast as one day with automated 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, and injection molding processes. It’s digital approach to manufacturing enables accelerated time to market, reduces development and production costs, and minimizes risk throughout the product life cycle.

Introduction

The manufacturing industry has changed drastically within the past 50 years. On the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, Protolabs is upending the traditional manufacturing process by making every step digital or online based. The end result is that Protolabs speeds up the manufacturing process, producing items within days instead of months.

The Machine Learning and AI technologies that define the fourth industrial revolution are difficult to understand and hard to manage.

The manufacturing industry has changed drastically within the past 50 years. On the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, Protolabs is upending the traditional manufacturing process by making every step digital or online based. The end result is that Protolabs speeds up the manufacturing process, producing items within days instead of months.

The Machine Learning and AI technologies that define the fourth industrial revolution are difficult to understand and hard to manage.

This means many manufacturing companies struggle to educate channel partners and prospective clients on the complex solutions and products these new technologies can provide.

Protolabs recognized this education gap and decided to make a difference. First, it presented customers and clients with relevant, valuable and digestible content. By leading with value, Protolabs established itself as a trusted resource and thought leader within the industry—leading to an increase in prospects and customer conversions. But, to achieve this, it required a shift in marketing strategy.

Problem

To establish itself as a trusted resource, Protolabs had to change its strategy from a sales-centric approach targeting prospects to a thought leadership model serving to attract and engage prospects and ultimately accelerating the sales cycle in the long term. To accomplish this, it had to ensure all content and tactics reflected the company’s digital model and positioning. It needed to maintain the image and standards it had worked so hard to create.

The company decided to focus on a webinar strategy that would complement Protolab’s digital transformation initiative. Webinars would become the go-to method to catapult thought leadership content. These events would include video shorts, monthly design tips, case studies and overall deep dives into a wide variety of manufacturing topics, helping Protolab as establish its footprint in the marketplace.

Protolabs began looking at a number of webinar platforms that could provide that high level of digital prestige and reach a global engineering audience at scale.

“ON24 enables us to better communicate and listen to our customers, using features like polling. ON24 helps us determine marketing qualified leads and we’re able to use the data on their interests to plan our next step, giving them a seamless experience with our company.”

Tommy Rongitsch
Marketing Specialist

Solution

With the help of ON24®, Protolabs transformed its webinar program from a sales-centric, ad-hoc approach to a value-add integrated program. Instead of leading with topics like Why Protolabs for your Business, Protolabs decided to focus on hot industry topics like, CNC Machining: How to Reduce Cost and Accelerate Production and used digital experiences powered by ON24 to share their perspective with the market.

  • Identify and Repurpose Best Content. Using the in-depth data that ON24 captures, Protolabs knows which webinars are good candidates for repurposing content and what will resonate best with a larger audience base. Protolabs can take that data and expand content into multiple outlets such as hosting webinars on-demand on for sales teams to reference, furthering ABM efforts, accelerating deals to specific subsets of customers and repurposing highperforming webinar content live at trade shows for speaking engagements.

With the help of ON24®, Protolabs transformed its webinar program from a sales-centric, ad-hoc approach to a value-add integrated program. Instead of leading with topics like Why Protolabs for your Business, Protolabs decided to focus on hot industry topics like, CNC Machining: How to Reduce Cost and Accelerate Production and used digital experiences powered by ON24 to share their perspective with the market.

  • Identify and Repurpose Best Content. Using the in-depth data that ON24 captures, Protolabs knows which webinars are good candidates for repurposing content and what will resonate best with a larger audience base. Protolabs can take that data and expand content into multiple outlets such as hosting webinars on-demand on for sales teams to reference, furthering ABM efforts, accelerating deals to specific subsets of customers and repurposing highperforming webinar content live at trade shows for speaking engagements.
  • Secure Platform. Protolabs’ customers value intellectual property and are protective of their products, especially those still under development. ON24 provides Protolabs with assurance that its webinars are secure and protect the anonymity of all attendees.
  • Tracking Analytics. Furthermore, ON24 provides the insights and analytics to show Protolabs when a webinar is most successful. Through ON24’s out-of-the-box partner referral codes, Protolabs can easily track webinar registration and attendance sources. Knowing which sources like email or LinkedIn Ads generated the most attendance helps Protolabs decide where to double down their efforts.
  • Customized Audience Experience. Through personalized content experiences such as customized registration pages, Q&As and attendee polls, Protolabs can easily qualify or unqualify an individual for nurturing or sales follow up.

Results

Protolabs’ change in focus to a thought leadership content marketing strategy and implementation of ON24 webinars helped it increase its prospects by 62 percent this year. From those prospects, conversion also increased by 10 percent, allowing Protolabs to be a true ongoing resource to those in the manufacturing industry.

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