Tag Archives: 3D Printing

Innovative Marketing Ideas for 2015

Marketing Ideas


Do Something Different: 3 Marketing Ideas for 2015

As you and your team enter 2015 with a new marketing push, don’t be afraid to think a bit outside the box. While tried and true directions may feel safe, the world is changing faster than ever, and those who aren’t ready to ride the latest trends may soon get swept under by them.

Instead, consider exploring a new direction to make a big splash in the new year. Here are three innovative, disruptive, and forward thinking campaigns to inspire your productive brainstorming sessions.


1. 3D Print Your Products… Or Your Consumers

You probably know that 3D printing is one of the hottest trends in the tech space, so it was only a matter of time before the marketing departments sunk their teeth into the new possibilities.

British retailor John Lewis has started printing miniature sofa models for consumers to interact with. Besides pretending they’re towering giants, shoppers can place the mini-furniture on a smart table that brings a digital model on-screen, where users can customize a couch with chosen fabrics and designs.

Meanwhile, UNIQLO is printing its shoppers, enabling consumers to 3D print selfies of themselves wearing the brand’s threads, and all for a good, selfless cause.


2. Crowdsource Inspiration Like Coca-Cola China

Technology has made it infinitely easier to share ideas, content, and polished products—which is exactly why more and more marketers are turning to crowdsourcing for user-generated content.

Consider Coca-Cola China’s recent campaign on crowdsourcing platform eYeka, asking users to describe the ineffable taste of Coke with a video.

“If you had to explain to an alien who has never tried it before,” the brief asks, “which particular element of the Coke taste experience would you talk about, and what creative expression would you show him to get him to crave a sip of that Coke taste?”

Sounds like a fun exercise and a brilliant marketing campaign! Not only does crowdsourcing engage consumers on a creative, emotional level, it also allows the best concepts to rise to the top.


3. Finally Monetize Your Social Media Following

Social media marketing has been on the rise for years, but the question in the back of every marketer’s mind has always been, “what’s the real return on investment?” Was it really worth all those tireless hours to earn a few thousand followers? It sure was.

Twitter recently released a new buy button that lets users make purchases directly from tweets, and soon plan to let brands use a new offer button showcasing Groupon-style savings deals. While social media promotions may be getting easier, we still don’t recommend inundating your followers with ads—that’s a sure-fire way to get your brand blocked.

Get a little adventurous in 2015—a little walk on the wild side can really pay off.


Objet Brings New 3D Printing Materials and Desktop Printers to the Marketplace!

I previously wrote about 3D printing, and given the recent advances in this technology, it is time I update that article. Since then, the leader in 3D print technology, Objet, has introduced two important product lines. The first is a series of affordable desktop 3D printers, and the second is a new line of printing materials.

Objet’s new desktop line is called the “Objet Desktop Family.” The base model of this family, the Objet24 Personal 3D Printer, starts at just $19,900. This printer opens the door for smaller shops to get involved with this new technology. (The cost of this printer could very well be offset by the savings in time and money on the first project!)

The second leap in technology involves new materials. Objet just came out with three new molding materials. The first is a material designed to simulate ABS-grade engineering plastics, allowing prototypes to withstand high temperatures and have the toughness of those made of standard ABS material. This will permit a prototype to be tested in the environment that the final product will have to endure. The second material is a transparent plastic. This near-colorless plastic will allow for the prototyping of things like lights, headlamps, eyeglasses, and even glassware. The third material is a new VeroWhitePlus. Originally released only for the desktop line of printers, Objet now offers this material for all its lines. VeroWhitePlus is a very rigid, glossy, white material that is ideal for a wide range of fit and form testing. This material is a prime candidate for post-finishing options.

It is developments like these that will keep 3D printing on the upswing in the custom manufacturing markets. The combination of a more cost-effective printer and a wider array of materials will allow the technology to grow into markets that originally had no use for 3D printing. So the question is, when will you adopt 3D printing into your business routine?

Author: John Mehl

Is Print Dead? NO! Changing…YES!

If you are a part of the graphic communications industry or better yet, the printing industry, you probably hear daily that print is dying.  Year after year analysts predict that print is declining at such a rate that it will become extinct in our lifetime.  Coming from someone that grew up in the industry and is still heavily involved in it, I call their bluff.

Innovation of print over the last 30 years has been a game changer.  With mainstream adoption of digital print in the early 90’s, traditional printers had to change fast or face dwindling profits on shorter runs. You may think that this is bad news, but you, my friend, would be wrong.  Traditional printers who stood around and did nothing but tell their clients that digital print would never match up to the quality of offset, are most likely extinct or soon to be. The fact is, digital print is taking over, and we should embrace it.  It has opened up a can of worms in terms of making our messaging more effective. No longer are we shouting down an empty hallway with a catch-all phrase, rather, we are speaking to our peers in an educated manner with relevant information.

Today the happy marriage of traditional print, digital print, and digital media is the perfect trifecta to any ad execs quiver. This artillery is not going anywhere. The impact of a good cross-media campaign compared to a traditional mass mailing is astounding. It makes one think, why does anyone do it the old way?

So what is next? Do we have to change yet again? Yes, of course we do! This is assuming that we want to stay in business. It is imperative that everyone in the graphic communication industry stays abreast of the latest and greatest feats in technology.  If we fail as companies to teach your clients about the newest, most innovative and effective ways of communicating with their customers, we have wasted their time.  You may ask why, and that’s because if you don’t, someone else will!

I leave you with the next best thing in our industry, 3D printing, and no I am not talking about TV’s.  3D printing which started to take off in 2003 has become more highly published by main stream media this past year. Right now architects, engineers, and hobbyists are adopting this technology, but, I believe that there is a far broader reach of its capabilities. Being able to custom manufacture or prototype a tangible object, directly from a 3D file has already astounded many. This process, while not cheap, is only a fraction of the time and cost when comparing it to the traditional prototyping or custom manufacturing process. I encourage you to get out there and learn more about this, because I guarantee you, this will be the next piece of technology that sits on our desk next to your inkjet or laser printer!

Author: John Mehl

3D Printing…and You Don’t Need Special Glasses!

For thousands of years, we have been laying ink on paper, and calling it printing. For many of us this is the primary way to digest information via books, newspapers, and other related print materials. Then the internet stepped in (no thanks to Al Gore), and most of us started to consume information in a whole new way. This was so much faster and easier for us to search out the content we so desperately needed.  This left us with the question, what will happen to print? Well print has evolved and we even have today, something called 3D printing!

So what is 3D printing? 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing where a three dimensional object is created by laying down successive layers of material.  Most 3D printing technology is an offshoot of inkjet printing technology.  In many cases making a prototype from a 3D printer is much faster and cheaper than making one the traditional way.  In a case study, Autodesk University and Stratasys manufactured a full scale Rolls-Royce Turbo-prop airplane engine using 3D Audodesk software and 3D printers.  When compared to traditional manufacturing techniques, they had a 97% cost reduction, and 83% time reduction!

We as graphic communications experts have not yet grasped the way in which to apply this new technology, but the time is near.  Architects, Engineers, Designers, and Builders have already jumped on the opportunity and they have seen great success. I would challenge everyone in the communications industry to study up on 3D printing, and find a way to incorporate it into their arsenal of options!

Author: T. John Mehl