How To Use 3D Printing In Marketing

Use 3D Printing In Marketing
The technology for 3D printing has been around since the ‘80s, but it didn’t see its boom until about 2012 when it clearly approached commercial level and penetrated public awareness.

Also called “additive manufacturing,” 3D printing involves creating new objects by adding a layer over layer of material until it achieves a predefined shape. It was mainly used for the slow production of specialty fabrics and little plastic objects mainly for the purpose of prototyping and for the limited production of small specialty products.

With technological innovation, today’s 3D printers can produce accurate, top quality products of various sizes at an acceptable speed and reasonable costs. They can easily copy complex structure in plastic, metal, and even biologic textures.

Benefits Of Using 3D Printing In Business

Visionaries see the great potential in using 3D printers. They can definitely predict some of the effects in different industries. You can get deeper insights on the matter by following discussions on blogs about 3D printing. Nevertheless, what are the main benefits of 3D printing that make it a valuable option for businesses?
  • Speedier, cheaper, and more flexible process of developing products
  • Lower investment in tools used in production
  • Product lifecycles are made shorter
  • More independence from returns to scale
  • A wider scope of possibilities in many areas of business

For the most part, at the moment, many businesses are tapping into the technology by creating 3D signs and using 3D printing for marketing campaigns.

3D Printing In Marketing

As mentioned, the possibilities of 3D printing are wide-ranging for various purposes. From novelty products to prototypes to bones and coral reefs, the technology offers successful solutions in a broad scope of fields.

The same is true for the marketing sector. As you can imagine, using 3D printing for promotional activities can bump your marketing campaign up to higher levels.

Including 3D printing in marketing efforts may seem gimmicky, but it’s certainly effective. More and more companies are attempting to use technology in their creative campaigns. This only proves that the idea works.

What Has Been Done So Far?

1. Volkswagen’s Polo Principle

In 2012, 3D printing was used in Volkswagen Denmark’s “The Polo Principle” marketing campaign. Via the company’s official website, people were able to use the same 3D printer that made the original car model to create their own versions of that year’s Polo.

The company ended up showcasing 40 3D-printed customized Polo versions in Copenhagen. Their designers were given the chance to take their models home, but one was allowed a step further and actually had his model made into an actual functioning, road-worthy Polo, which he could drive around for two months that summer.
Use 3D Printing In Marketing

2. Coke’s Mini-Mes

Israel is known for pioneering breakthrough concepts, coming up with new technologies, and optimizing existing ones. Coca-Cola Israel certainly demonstrated this by launching its Mini Bottles campaign in 2013.

Basically, it was a contest that involved a mobile app that allowed Coke drinkers to design 3D model characters that were mainly their digital counterparts; hence, the label “Mini Me.” They had to take care of their digital mini-me versions in a manner similar to Tamagotchi.

At the end of the campaign, the winners received their prize: a trip to the Coca-Cola factory where they were able to print out their mini-mes in 3D.

3. Nokia’s 3D Printing Community Project

Also in 2013, Nokia gave its customers access to a 3D printing kit, allowing them to create customized covers for their Lumia 820. In more of their promotion efforts at the Mobile World Congress, they also presented several bloggers with their own 3D-printed cases that were customized with their Twitter avatars.

4. DVV’s Key Save Service

Still in 2013, right after the initial boom of 3D printing technology, Belgian insurance firm DVV made business more fun by rolling out a service called “Key Save.”

Losing one’s keys is a universal malady that has struck everybody at least once. DVV, thus, introduced a service that allowed their subscribers to scan their keys and upload them to a secure server. The forgetful can then retrieve the file anytime they lose their keys, after which, they can go to a 3D printer to have a new set made.

This is not merely a promotional gimmick. Insurance companies actually lose money having to replace locks whenever subscribers lock themselves out.

5. Belvita’s #MorningWin Campaign

In 2014, Belvita also jumped on the 3D printing bandwagon and launched its #MorningWin campaign.

Fans were encouraged to tweet their morning victories, usually seemingly trivial stuff that gave them the power to start the day on a positive note. Winners got the chance to own their personalized 3D printed trophy as a keepsake to commemorate their morning win for posterity.

Leveraging 3D Technology

Besides these five, others have also since used 3D printing to promote their business or cause. The list includes British charity Barnardo’s, Oreo, and eBay.

3D printing technology is only going to get better as time goes by. It’s going to be quicker, more affordable, and generally more practical. So it’s definitely a good idea to keep your business open to the possibility of leveraging this technology, be it for marketing or any other type of business goal.

AUTHOR_NAMEAbout the Author:
Pir Arkam is the Founder at Proto21 3D Printing LLC in the UAE. The company is dedicated to accelerating 3D printing and additive manufacturing adoption by providing rapid prototyping services with free consultation and delivering 3D printing training workshops. Proto21 has a solution for every phase of the product development cycle in all of the major industries.
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