Product launch online instead of offline: no big think or the next big thing? – PROCAD

A major international product launch in pandemic times – how is that supposed to work? Is it possible to stage products as excitingly and emotionally as in pre-pandemic times?

Product launch of PRO.FILE next

Not that the perceived difference of online events makes them less successful. They may look and feel different, but perhaps in terms of reach and focus they are even better suited to large events? If the Frankfurt Book Fair, for example, set a new record in 2019 with 302,000 “real” visitors, this figure was exceeded fivefold in 2020 at the peak of the digital format BOOKFEST Digital (1.5 million viewers on Facebook).

Of course, brands like the Book Fair, Apple and others can do this – after all, they have huge budgets with armies of creative, multimedia and design experts who plan every second of such an event with an obsession for detail. But what about the typical German SME?

Can German SMEs compete with Silicon Valley?

Let’s take a look at a very real scenario – the presentation of a new generation of software solutions to a demanding professional audience: in autumn 2020, PROCAD – a leading provider of PLM solutions and a classic German, sorry, Swabian SME – presented a version of its industry-leading solution PRO.FILE that had been developed from scratch – with Cloudbridge and many other stakeholders at its side. What are the experiences now that three events have been held with more than 1,000 registered external participants?

Initial situation

Effectively showcasing the greatest innovation of a 30-year success story.
With more than 800 customers worldwide and an international sales network in Europe, North and South America, PROCAD is one of the leading brands in the PLM software sector. This success whets our appetite. With new products and a new, strengthened team, we aim to significantly increase our share of the PLM market over the next few years, in all markets, with new and existing customers.

Under these circumstances, there are great expectations for the launch of the new version of PRO.FILE next, especially as this solution is a completely new and very innovative development. A consistent no-code orientation and extensive cloud functionality mark a new era in the PLM sector. Led by Munich-based digital marketing experts Cloudbridge Consulting, the agencies involved were tasked with creating a product launch that was far more than just a software update. At a time when no face-to-face events can take place.



Code:n@xt: serious facts meet creative storytelling.
How do you stage the biggest product innovation in your company’s history? What do you want customers and prospects to remember for a long time?
Right from the start it was clear that the product, PRO.FILE next, and the company PROCAD had to be in the foreground – content is king! Just as quickly it became clear that, in addition to the focus on content, a special presentation was needed.

The name is n@xt. Code: n@xt.
With the idea of “the code that will permanently change the world of PLM software” in mind, the motto Code:n@xt and a frame story in which a hero protects the world-saving code from unauthorised access were chosen. A combination of a cinematic storyline and professionally recorded studio presentations and demos took into account the entertaining nature of the Internet medium, while at the same time providing the necessary depth. The end result was an approximately 180-minute continuous format with discussion rounds, customer testimonials, presentations, demos, a competition and various chat options.

The factual sections were scheduled at 20 minutes for ease of consumption. As digital lead agency, Cloudbridge advised and supported the client in the conception and implementation. To put it bluntly: the concept worked. Representative of the well over 90% positive feedback

Great product presentation! I haven’t been so impressed in a long time. This virtual trade fair with the James Bond etc. was simply brilliant.

The key to success was the perfect interaction of the professional experts in video production (Baden TV), event platform (expo IP), online event agency (mehrpunkt), innovative chat tools (Okomo, Wonder) and of course the marketing & product team of the client PROCAD.

Success is what works together.
A comprehensive pre-event campaign was developed to promote the event, with differentiated customer and prospect mailings, content and teaser posts, as well as a series of digital ads based on a sophisticated social media and advertising strategy for the relevant target groups. Employees were also involved, particularly in the area of social media. Once again, they were instrumental in spreading the word through their own posts. In just 90 days, an event was created that the industry will be talking about for a long time to come.

More than 320,000 impressions in the business networks, together with a retargeting and Google Ads campaign, led to almost exactly 1,000 clicks on the event’s registration page within a month.

Successes and added value

More than 1,000 external registrations within only four weeks.
And – is the effort worth it? Long story short: Yes, it is. With more than 1000 external participants (of which more than 20% were new), the expectations were more than fulfilled. More than 85% of the participants thought the implementation of the event in the form offered was good or very good.

An Over80 party that is a pleasure to attend.
The detailed data of the event platform also reveals that hardly any Code:n@xt participant left the event before the end of the content session. The impression that this could be related to the convincing presentation is confirmed by a look at the figures: an outstanding 96% stated that they liked the online platform and the virtual trade fair environment and 87% of the participants from the DACH area found the format good or very good. With an outstanding recommendation rate of over 83% – a value that was by no means certain in view of the bold staging – PROCAD has impressively demonstrated how quickly a “forced” alternative becomes a widely visible beacon event. Reason enough for the experts from Karlsruhe to continue using such formats in the future.


Summary & Fast Facts

Conclusion: Anything is possible.
Online events can achieve a lot. Sometimes even more than classic onsite events in terms of content and reach. With the launch of PRO.FILE next, PROCAD has shown that it is possible and how. With a result and reach that far exceeded expectations.

The decisive factor was the creative and successful cooperation of various marketing disciplines. A good creative framework, professional project management and a well-balanced campaign around the themes of the launch are crucial for success!

The internet never forgets.
A nice side effect: the content produced for the event is still available for subsequent marketing ideas, e.g. as a multimedia offer in targeted marketing campaigns. Once again, well done is always better than well meant.

Fast Facts:

  • Customer: PROCAD GmbH & Co. KG
  • Project: product launch von PRO.FILE next
  • Period: launch event 3.11.2020 (DACH) and 11.11.2020 (international)
  • External registrations: 1.037
  • Project partner: PROCAD (PRO.FILE next Content, demo, presentationen), mehrpunkt (expo IP Tool development, event-management), Cloudbridge (event concept, project management, launch advertising campaign), Expo IP (virtual event tool), Okomo (online-event-chat-tool), Wonder (online-meeting-tool)