We are sitting on the brink of a new and huge industrial revolution that has been slowly gaining momentum over the last 25 years.
Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D Printing, has crept along as the technology that drives it moved from a primitive stage to a more sophisticated base.
The potential applications to manufacturing, medicine, media, hobbyists and yes marketing are mind-bending.
The use of 3D printing takes virtual designs from computer aided design and transforms them into thin, virtual, horizontal cross-sections and then creates successive layers until the model is complete. It is a process where the virtual model and the physical model are almost identical.
Think like The Jetson’s.  The 1962 animated sit-com family popped a couple of buttons on what looked like today’s microwave oven and presto! the item they ordered appeared.  The reality of that futuristic animation has come to roost on our doorstep.
A personal 3D Printer can be had today for as little as $400 in kit form. More professional models start at about $1600.  Even Amazon sells them!
Today’s 3D printers have “printed” guitars, model planes with a 6 foot wingspan, human organs for clinical trials and are currently producing parts for jet fighters.  Limited only by our imagination, as these printers become more sophisticated and as common as a TV set in our home, you can bet that distribution and delivery channels will go through enormous upheaval.
Be prepared.  Everything in manufacturing will change as we know it today.
While the impact on marketing has yet to be determined, imagine the distribution of sampling through this new channel.
 That new toy for your child is only a few buttons away. Order the Computer Animated Design (CAD) specs for that toy online, download it to your 3D Printer and wait a few minutes.  Need a replacement part for a broken taillight on a classic 1957 Chevy?  Print it!
Investments in 3D Printing companies today will become the equivalent of Microsoft, Apple, IBM, etc. when they emerged as new businesses.
In 1439 the Gutenberg Press laid the basis for today’s knowledge-based economy and the spread of learning to the masses.  The 3D Printer is the disrupter that will revolutionize global economies through access to a world of product needs.  This will especially be the case for third world countries representing huge growth markets.
If you would like to explore the potential for 3D Printing as it relates to our marketing landscape, feel free to reach out to me at


I can't recall the last time I caught a Starbucks commercial but am not surprised I missed this one as it aired in the UK earlier in the year.  It's worth one minute of your time.  Thanks to Jack Dorsey for bringing it to my attention via Twitter @Jack.


I could not resist the opportunity to copy and paste this post from Bob Hoffman's Ad Contrartian blog.

Facebook has decided that it no longer wants to be in the business of selling clicks. Instead it wants to be in the business of selling reach and frequency, just like the grown-ups.

Of course, this is a cruel joke because reach and frequency mean nothing if the ads are invisible, which they are on Facebook.

This bar chart (to actual scale) does a pretty good job of explaining why they'd rather sell reach and frequency than clicks.

(C) 2012, The Ad Contrarian

For every 10,000 ads they deliver, Facebook gets 5 clicks. What would you want to sell?


One of the remarkable things about technology is the accelerated rate of change that impacts the devices we communicate with. 
For those that remember what a mimeograph machine is and how quickly it was replaced by a variety of ensuing devices leading up to laser and 3D printers, I hope the following journey will provide a nostalgic respite from the ever-so-fast moving world we live in.
Mimeograph replaced by laser and 3D printers
Rotary phone replaced by the iPhone
Typewriter replaced by Microsoft Word
Transistor pocket radio replaced by the iPod
Car phones replaced by hands free bluetooth smartphones
Telephone operator replaced by Siri
Wang Word Processor replaced by laptops
Monroe calculator replaced by solar calculators
Telegram replaced by ... STOP! Available thru American Telegram!