The 3D Printing Marketing Shift from Physical to Digital
Following the success of our From the Experts webinar series, we wanted to provide you with this content through another channel to make it easily accessible and digestible for our audience.
Here you will find a summary of our latest webinar “From the Experts: The 3D Printing Marketing Shift from Physical to Digital” hosted with our good friend Yonatan Snir, VP Marketing EMEA & APAC at Stratasys.
3D Printing in the B2B Market
I can only speak for myself, but when I think of 3D printing, I think of massive pieces of machinery designed to build futuristic components and parts that would otherwise seem unimaginable. Okay, maybe I’m stretching this a bit, but it’s definitely an industry that is ever-evolving to fit the needs of not only consumers but businesses as well.
3D printing is a world in and of itself, especially when it comes to marketing and manufacturing. With the underlying goal of replacing existing production lines for faster and more eco-friendly manufacturing, each industry has specific needs when it comes to promoting, from budget to technology.
When looking at industrial manufacturing, these machines can get into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which means more strategic planning and execution is needed. With buyer personas varying drastically, it takes a B2B marketing mentality and strategy to make sure you’re reaching the right people at the right time with the right content.
Marketing a Physical Product in a Digital World
What do you do when you have to market a product that consumers need to physically see and touch in order to understand its value? Beyond that, what happens when that product’s features, functionalities, and capabilities range from thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars? Let’s throw on top of that a global pandemic preventing anyone from being able to access tradeshows and conferences where marketing and sales efforts typically thrive. Welcome to the world of 3D printing during COVID-19.
Taking on more digital and even classic approaches to marketing is what worked best for Stratasys. Being such a visual company, they were able to leverage videos and also adopted snail mail again to actually send specific parts to their consumers to see and feel. Additionally, they developed multiple types of marketing activities and campaigns suitable for smaller machines versus bigger machines, and building short decision-making funnels versus long funnels. All the while taking into account materials, software, etc.
As Yonatan Snir, VP Marketing, EMEA and APAC at Stratasys, puts it, “funnel strings that are usually done in one company, with one go-to-market plan don’t have this variance which makes for my day-to-day very interesting but also very challenging in terms of the focus and how to execute”.
The Globalization of 3D Printing
3D printing has given us the ability to take simple documents and create physical prints, bringing ideas to life. Without the need to store parts in facilities, 3D printing has become a time saver and money saver across the board, cutting down on the cost of production.
This technology provides the readiness and ease of use of having things available at the tip of our fingers, and this ability to create at such a rapid pace means there’s really no end in sight. Yonatan Snir says, “As the technology evolves, it’s also replacing regular production lines that are expensive to maintain and not as flexible as setting up a machine and replacing files whenever you need to change the product”.
With continued research and development, this technology is bound to be much more available, efficient, and cheaper in the future. What seemed like a far-off dream of being able to own a personal 3D printing machine is now a reality. Schools and universities are encouraging their design and engineering majors to better educate themselves on this technology, and what better way to do so than by providing them with in-house 3D printing machines.
Top Trends in 3D Printing
The fast-paced world of 3D printing means constant, inevitably, and consistent change. This ultimately means that keeping up with trends is as good a guess as looking into a crystal ball. While digital realism is already accomplished, the technology is only getting better at bringing objects to life.
While the grand scope is to replace product lines which can be costly once you need to start implementing changes to materials, the bigger idea is to make these things more accessible and easier to manage. We can take the aerospace industry as an example. Think of how much more efficient it is to bring a single piece of machinery – in this case, a 3D printer – on board a spaceship to produce tools and parts for maintenance as opposed to bringing each and every tool and spare part.
Breaking into new industries and enhancing existing technologies as they continue to evolve is always going to be the name of the game for 3D printer manufacturers. As the needs of consumers continue to evolve to better match our fast-paced world, we can expect to see this technology reach new heights.