Most of us work with clients, products and services that operate in three dimensions. Yet much if not all of our marketing material and message design is based in just two. What happens when we add the third dimension to our materials? Do we gain an advantage, or are we just playing around with expensive gimmicks?
The answer, I think, is that much can be said for considering, testing, and evaluating some 3D opportunities. Consider these concepts:
No, I’m not suggesting you go so far as to send out special colored glasses with your marketing materials, but consider this example on Jason Yana Studios’ blog, where building product manufacturer Cemco Steel shows how its components can be easily installed in a steel building structure.l
Among other points, he advocates considering the advantage of training and equipping sales staff with three-dimensional video demonstration tools:
Bring a Machine Gun to a Knife Fight
Educate your sales team with 3d animations which demonstrate the what, how and why of your product in high definition detail. It is a very powerful sales training tool that can make sure that all the most important technical points and installation nuances are being addressed correctly.
Even the most boring and invisible aspects of a product can be illuminated and highlighted with a great 3d animation. Once the sales team is armed with this information, they can hit the ground running.
Meanwhile, Patrick King from ImagineDesign based in suburban Washington DC (with offices in Chicago and San Diego), takes shots at the conventional tri-fold printed brochure in this blog posting. The images and words below are from his blog:
If I had to pinpoint one of the most useless, outdated pieces of marketing currently in overuse today, I’d have to go with the trifold brochure. That slender, awkwardly arranged piece of letter-size paper is as ubiquitous as it is pointless, but companies still spend money on them, convinced that theirs will be the brochure to beat all brochures. Please trust me when I say that it won’t.
The reasons are simple. They’ve been used to death, they’re functionally counter-intuitive, and no matter the level of creativity of the individual that is condemned to create one, the design is limited to six skinny panels that are always overrun with text. You end up with a cover that’s too visually limited to inspire someone to open it, unless they’re trapped in the lobby of a doctors office and need something to stare at.
His agument: You can do much more with printing these days, without breaking your budget.
Don’t dump time and money into a print marketing piece that lasts 4 seconds in a secretary’s hands before launched into the trash. There are more creative ways to communicate. For instance, it doesn’t matter what your industry is, you’re marketing to people that like to play. So, make a game of the marketing piece. We’re not all great at origami, but it’s still more engaging than a bunch of text and stock photos on a page. For a few dollars more, you can get even more adventurous – how hard do you think it’ll be to forget a company that sent you this? Will this be just as quick to the trash?
If you’re going to spend money on a marketing piece, make sure it’s a piece that has the creativity and thoughtfulness to the end-user to warrant a return on the investment. You’ll be very glad you did.
The next stage: Full-blown 3D printing?
Three-dimensional manufacturing, using plastic and metal, has reached a new level of potential and feasibility. The idea of turning your initial CAD model into an actual mock-up structure is intriguing; but what about designing and develping customized objects for current and potential clients? Maybe this stuff is “too expensive” but maybe not — especially when your key decision-makers may be hard to reach, and worthy of some special thoughtful marketing initiatives. My guess is that 3D manufacturing will enter the marketing universe in a significant way in the next two to three years. We should start following it.
Do you have some examples of successful 3D marketing applications? Please feel free to share your links in the comments below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.