The rise of affordable 3-D printing has been a hot topic this year, and many experts predict that 3-D printing will explode in 2014. It’s easy to see how small manufacturers will be able to take advantage of 3-D printing to compete with large-scale manufacturers, but how can 3-D printing help you market your business? The following lists several ways 3-D printing might help you market your business just over the horizon.
1. Marketing in 3-D
Manufacturing 3-D marketing materials is nothing new; outdoor marketers, guerrilla marketers and others have employed 3-D materials for decades. Moreover, packaging companies have, thus far, largely cornered the market when it comes to 3-D point-of-sale marketing. However, affordable 3-D printing technology can make it easier than ever for small businesses to craft compelling 3-D marketing materials for outdoor advertising, packaging, point-of-sale marketing and other applications.
2. Short run promotional items
Stress balls, combs, coffee mugs, coolie cups and other promotional items are great to hand out at events, but sometimes the large order volumes necessary to bring piece rates down can be prohibitive to small businesses. 3-D printing could make it possible to print short run, as-needed promotional items; moreover, you can print niche promotional items by event, organization and target audience to maximize your return on investment.
3. Specialized, targeted packaging
Similarly, small businesses could employ 3-D printing to craft highly targeted, niche packaging in short runs to appeal to extremely specific sets of customers. That extra attention will result in greater sales.
4. Direct-to-consumer printing
One of the most anticipated possibilities of 3-D printing is direct-to-consumer printing. You might be able to market free or paid product accessories and other merchandise to consumers who, instead of waiting for shipping, can immediately print their products upon purchase. No manufacturing fees, no warehouses, no shipping companies, no middle men equals better pricing and/or greater profits.
5. High level of customization
Since products could be consumer printed, you can market the ability for customers to customize their products at a level never-before-seen. You won’t have any manufacturing costs; all you need is the software applications to make it happen. The ability to offer your customers supreme personalization will become a highly marketable feature.
How else will 3-D printing affect the world of marketing, and how can it be used to more effectively market your business?