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Behind the B2s: Stratasys builds awareness

Stratasys earned the Corporate Marketer of the Year honor at the annual BMA B2 Awards ceremony in May. The 3D-printing equipment manufacturer impressed the judges with its “Engineering a Difference” campaign, a series of video case studies launched on Facebook.

Facebook is an unconventional platform for the company. “Our traditional audience doesn’t use social media for work,” says Sharon Smith, VP-marketing. “But we wanted this campaign to go beyond our traditional audience to parents and educators and anybody who hasn’t experienced the capabilities of 3D printing.”

The story of a child named Emma provided the seed for the campaign. The Stratasys marketing department regularly collects customer stories to showcase the ways that engineers and product designers are using the company’s technology. But the marketing strategist who was preparing a video of Emma’s story knew it had appeal beyond that traditional audience.

Born with a rare cognitive disorder, Emma could not lift her arms until researchers at a Delaware hospital outfitted her with a lightweight device, printed on Stratasys 3D printing equipment. The custom exoskeleton fit her like a jacket. “She just started throwing her arms around and playing,” her mother says in the video.

Emma calls the device her “magic arms.”

“We knew how powerful that story was,” Smith says. “And we realized that we have a lot of these stories. We had to do more with it than drop it in an email.”

The company developed a multimedia campaign that included four case studies with broad appeal. The effort included a Facebook launch, homepage placement, social media outreach and an email campaign.

The number of people who “liked” the Stratasys Facebook page more than tripled during the campaign. Facebook ads earned more than 3,000 clicks. Traffic to the Stratasys website doubled, as did the number of Stratasys web mentions via Twitter and other digital channels. Emma’s “magic arms” appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and her video has racked up more than 750,000 views on YouTube.

“We saw a great response,” Smith says. “And beyond the statistics, it changed our thinking. The campaign opened our eyes to telling stories in a new way. It moved our program forward.”

The campaign also had an unexpected outcome: In the first three weeks after the launch, the hospital that developed Emma’s exoskeleton received 16 requests to outfit other children with “magic arms.”

“They didn’t know that this technology was available,” Smith says. “It has affected not just Emma, but dozens of other kids.”

 
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