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3 Tips to Use 3D Printing in Your Marketing Campaign

The role of additive manufacturing and 3D printing keeps growing, as more and more industries get involved in this trend.

The stats by AMFG show that last year, the global manufacturing market grew to over $10 billion, and this number is set to double in size every three years.

But although the investments in 3D printing are rapidly growing, AMGF claims that 71% of companies still lack knowledge about 3D printing and usually go with more traditional methods if they have a choice.

Still, lack of knowledge or the relative novelty of 3D printing is not a problem for many industries, who, in search of innovations, have decided to benefit from this technology. And it’s not just manufacturing that benefits from 3D printing.

The New Role of 3D Printing in Marketing

We’ve already analyzed the impact of 3D printing on education, and how working with Computer-Aided Design can help students gain hands-on experience and practice skills.

Another industry that found use in 3D printing is marketing. In it, marketing found plenty of benefits, namely:

An innovative approach to the product. With a model built in a few hours, and with different model scales, marketers find a new way of presenting the product.
High personalization level. New features can be easily added to personalize the model of the product.
Low development costs. Creating a model of a product with 3D printing costs less than traditional prototyping methods.

B2B businesses, in particular, can benefit from 3D printing, as using this innovative approach in building a prototype will attract more investors. Thus 3D printing used in marketing can help businesses hold the top spot and beat the competition.

3D Printing in Marketing: Examples

Heineken Collaboration

Back in 2015, we collaborated with Heineken – a well-known Dutch company that decided to shift its marketing efforts towards 3D printing.

On the occasion of the UEFA Champion League, we produced 3D model accessories for football fans – an ice bucket, a coaster, and a bottle opener. All the products were created in the signature color and with the logo of Heineken.

The products became a part of Heineken’s #ChampionTheMatch marketing campaign. The models of the products can be downloaded and recreated on any 3D printer.
But not just individual companies incorporate 3D printing in marketing.

French Presidential Election

During the French presidential election, our company issued 3D models of busts of all presidential candidates. This way, we applied 3D printing to raise political awareness and to remind the voters and the candidates that the future of France is in innovative technologies.

As you can see, 3D printing can help your business engage millions of people and deliver powerful messages in an innovative way.

If you decide to finally open the door to 3D printing and incorporate it into your marketing campaign, here are some of our insights on how to do it effectively.

1. Give Users a Hands-On Experience

You’ve probably heard about the importance of the behind-the-scenes content in marketing. However, with 3D marketing, you can take it another level and let your consumers partake in creating your product.
Thus, they turn from passive observes into co-creators of your product.

Here’s how Volkswagen introduced such hands-on experience with 3D printing in its marketing campaign.

Back in 2012, to promote its Polo cars, Volkswagen launched a marketing campaign that allowed their customers to create a version of Volkswagen Polo.

The marketing campaign was called “The Polo Principle”, and at the end of it, Volkswagen picked 40 most creative designs provided by the users, and turned the campaign finale into a show in Copenhagen. The winning models were later turned into real-life cars.

What is the outtake here?

3D printing allowed Volkswagen to familiarize people with the process of designing a car by inviting them to become designers themselves. Thus, the campaign successfully turned a regular behind-the-scenes content into an active, hands-on pastime.

2. Introduce New Product Customization Opportunities

You can take this behind-the-scenes experience a step further and let your consumers customize your product according to their preferences.

This way, you give them a chance to work on product customization themselves, instead of doing it for them.

This is the approach Nokia took in their marketing campaign to promote Nokia Lumia 820. Users were able to design cases for this smartphone model, as Nokia provided a 3D printing kit.

This was a smart move towards product customization. Nokia shifted from traditional customization approaches to a more innovative one.

Is this marketing move feasible?

According to what statistics say, it’s definitely worth your attention. According to Prime Group, 61% of consumers say they’d prefer customized products and designs to mass produced stuff. As a result, consumers are ready to pay more money for product customization.

With 3D printing, you can take customization to another level and let your customers implement their vision of your product.

3. Don’t Forget About Value

The golden rule of marketing is to always deliver value. Every element of a marketing campaign should be approached with value in mind.

In the same way, delivering value should be your main priority if you incorporate 3D printing in your marketing campaign.

A great example of delivering value through a marketing campaign with the help of 3D printing is Belgian insurance company DVV.

As the center of their marketing campaign, DVV used one of the most frustrating problems that their customers encounter – losing keys.

Customers got to create a 3D scan of their keys and save them on the DVV’s server. And if they lost the keys, they could download the file with the copy and print the new key with any available 3D printer.

DVV’s customers had constant access to the copy of the key, so in case the unfortunate situation repeated, they could print as many copies of the keys as they wanted. This is a great example of an ongoing marketing campaign, as the company provides a one-of-a-kind service that delivers value to its loyal customers.

It’s Not Just About Entertainment

When thinking about using 3D printing in marketing, you might perceive it as more of a tool for entertainment than something that can deliver an actual purpose.

However, our experience has proven that 3D printing can go far beyond entertainment when it comes to marketing.

In can bring product customization to the next level and involve people to join the production process. It can also add new value to your services and even help you spread an important message, like our campaign during the French presidential election did.

There are still many unexplored opportunities for marketing in 3d printing, but this technology has already proven to be very influential and bring new innovative perspectives.

Author’s bio. Daniela McVicker is a blogger with rich experience writing about UX design, content planning and digital marketing. Currently, she contributes to TopWritersReview where she helps individuals and organizations improve their web content writing, design, and planning skills. Her posts are always packed with examples and actionable content that readers can put straight into the

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