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 firstname.lastname@example.org.