How 3-D Printing Could Add Another Dimension to Marketing

Janet Lee

Within the past decade, perhaps no technological advancement has garnered more headlines than 3-D printing. Used to create everything from artificial organs for surgical transplants to prototypes of the latest automobiles, this technology has unlimited possibilities. Due to its increasing popularity, more companies are starting to identify 3-D printing as a potentially  tremendous vehicle for business growth and business development in numerous areas. One of the most effective ways this technology is expected to be used is within the industry of marketing where the business world could  see (quite literally) another dimension added to branding, advertising, and increasing product visibility. If you’re working with one of the bestGoogle-partner digital marketing agencies for SEO, then you clearly value how technology and advertising can create the ultimate platform of brand awareness. It also signifies that you may be curious in terms of how 3-D printing can be incorporated into your future marketing strategy. Here is some thought for the masses.

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3-D Smartphones

With mobile technology moving at an incredibly rapid pace, most tech experts agree smartphones will see significant changes regarding 3-D technology within the next several years. Expected to have 3-D sensors built into them, tomorrow’s smartphones will allow consumers to make use of 3-D scanning options. This technology has already started to unfold. For example, clothing retailers lose millions of dollars in returned shipping costs and restocking due to the fact that shoppers often purchase the wrong size of clothing. Lara Mazzoni, founder of the start-up Bodi.me has created a visual avatar from a 3-D body scan that will help consumers purchase the right fit in clothing. Shoppers can even see what they will look like wearing the garment before making a purchase.

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3-D Personalized Figurines

Have you ever gone toy shopping and come across wrestling action figures modeled after the real person, and wished you had your own action figure (though not necessarily wearing glitter spandex)?   Since businesses are always looking to make a customer’s experience memorable and personal, some have started using 3-D printing to give clients a customized figurine of themselves when they make a special purchase. Though this giveaway is rare, some luxury car dealerships and real estate developers provide personalized figurines of their customers to help promote loyalty and attract new buyers in hard-to-market-to niche environments. Customers take a selfie of themselves, then the image is linked to a 3-D printer that goes to work creating the figurines. Taking only a few minutes to complete, this marketing tool has proven to be great for business development, though limited due to the high cost in producing 3-D images while maintaining the equipment.

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The Customized Concert Experience

One of the most memorable experiences I had at a concert was when David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails toured together; I caught a show in Los Angeles and was blown away when beholding a kiss between Bowie and Trent Reznor during the song ‘Reptile’. I bought a shirt and program, yet the only souvenir of that incredible performance and rare moment was to be a memory in my head. This could all change. One company out of Japan called Crypton Future Media has already started exploring the option for concert-goers to get a 3-D model of the performer in which they pick the exact moment of the concert they with to have immortalized. In addition to keeping fans happy and ensuring that shows continue to sell tickets, there are pieces of the financial pie that could feed others and strengthen this industry that is trying to climb back up after having lost millions to illegal music streaming. Artists, recording labels, and concert promotion companies could all financially profit from this item sure to be a hot-selling souvenir.

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Branding and Storytelling with Augmented Reality

Along with 3-D printing, other forms of the technology can help companies with their branding and marketing efforts. For example, real estate agents, tourism offices, and even colleges and universities are using 3-D videos to offer virtual tours and provide a much more stimulating way to tell their stories. This is especially popular with higher education, where students can take a virtual tour of the campus grounds and buildings before making a final decision on where to attend. Though this is more on the side of augmented reality (Lego uses this technology in some of their stores) it certainly seems to be beckoning a 3-D conquest in branding.

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Never Lose Your Keys Again

As anyone who loses a key to their home or car knows, getting a new one can be quite a time-consuming task requiring a visit to the local hardware / home improvement store. Not only do you have to drive there, find parking, wait in line, and allow the worker to finish cutting a new key, but some keys need special paperwork before a new copy can be cut. However, insurance companies in Belgium and other parts of Europe are now allowing customers to scan their keys and have that data stored securely within a database. In doing so, if customers lose their keys, they can simply contact the company and have new ones printed. Known as “Key Save,” it has proven to be popular with customers thus garnering growth, and is expected to find its way to the United States in the coming years. Offering clients keys to their homes could help American businesses lock in more customers.

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How can 3-D Printing Increase Your Business?

This is a question worth thinking about. As the technology becomes more widely used, you can assume competitors will be clambering to be the first in the industry to offer the service in their marketing efforts. By learning how to incorporate 3-D printing and other aspects of 3-D technology into marketing campaigns, you can expect to reap the benefits. Along with capturing the imaginations of customers, companies can also appeal to buyers who want to work with businesses that embrace new technology, as it shows they are innovative and growing. The idea of using this technology in branding efforts may seem intimidating to many, and if you fall into this group you may want to firstget comfortable with the awkward digital marketing tasksalready embedded in your strategy. Be sure to stay current with the industry news surrounding 3-D printing. Once you have an idea on how it can improve your business with feasible execution, act fast!   
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About
Janet Lee is a staff writer for WEBITMD with six years of blogging experience. She was born in Korea and moved to Los Angeles with her family when she was four years old. From a young age she worked in her family's restaurant managing the books and ordering inventory. From there she developed a love for business and went on to study at UCLA writing her honors thesis on content marketing. In her spare time Janet can be found ice skating, playing the harp, and walking her King Charles Spaniel dog Davey. Fun fact: While on a mission trip to Colombia, Janet accidentally discovered an undocumented frog species. Her photos lead her to meet with the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources.


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