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We’ve got a project that we want to talk about that we have just become aware of that uses 3D print marketing. It is about two years old, but this is a really cool project. People keep asking us for examples of zero inventory, because we talk about it all the time, about the idea of you being able to do something risky or try something new. Whether it is a marketing promotion for your company or it’s a real project that you don’t want to invest in and inventory on yet. Sometimes it may even be a loss leader, meaning it makes zero dollars for you, but it breaks even. It is a marketing effort. You don’t have to invest in tooling to make it happen, so it’s not out of reach. You can make a few hundred dollars or whatever it is your demand ends up being. You can test the demand.
This project is a perfect example of that. First of all, I love the idea of it. I’m originally not a big fan of the product, but it makes me like it more. It really did a lot to improve in my eyes. It’s from Nescafe Coffee. I’m kind of a Starbucks girl, so that’s not really in my options. I don’t drink coffee, but I do go to Starbucks daily. I go to Starbucks for my tea and Tracy gets her coffee. We don’t generally make one, only if there is a guest who wants coffee and don’t want to run out to Starbucks. You usually have to take the coffee maker out of the cabinet and wash the whole thing down because it is so dusty. Who doesn’t love the aroma of coffee? I don’t know someone who doesn’t love the aroma of coffee. That’s the best part of having coffee in the house. I don’t drink coffee, but I will make coffee because I get to smell the coffee grounds. I didn’t love coffee before we had the second set of children we had. But, about seven years ago, I started getting in to coffee, and I really love the smell. I think that that is a really important thing to trigger and to get across.
Listen to the podcast here:
How Nescafe Used 3D Print Marketing Promotions
Nescafe has used 3D print marketing in a really cool way, taking coffee to make it something techy, cool, and completely different than what you think you would buy coffee for. They have made a product that has a new cap for their jar of coffee. You take off the other cap, and you put this one on, and it turns electronic. It is powered by a USB; you can plug it into your computer or any USB charger to charge it up. It can also be an alarm clock that has all of these different options of sounds and lights that slowly wake you up. There are lots of different options for how it can wake you up. There is this really cool video on YouTube which we are going to have on our show notes, that you can go check out. To me, this is just a brilliant concept. The sounds are even like birds chirping, and it just won’t stop until you open the lid. That is the brilliant part to me. It doesn’t stop until you open the lid, and then the coffee scent comes so you are less likely to close it back up and go back to bed. All of a sudden, you’re just going to say to yourself that you got to have coffee! This is really a “Wake up and smell the coffee!”
What I also really like is that you’ll see in the very end of the video, there is this great box that they made. It is a bottle of their coffee that is kind of like a bigger bottle jar with the normal lid that they come in, which is I’m sure its sealed, a Nescafe branded coffee mug, and the new alarm clock cap. It comes into this great little nested box with their logo in the outside. Thinking about that as a marketing technique, we call them Wow Boxes. Wow Boxes are also called Shock and Awe Boxes. Think about the marketing promotional campaign that it would have if you were to send that out to your clients, or buyers. That must have such an effect and you didn’t have to invest in it. It was just a reminder of the power of their brand, their coffee, and their smell. They also associate their brand with technology. They also associate it with 3D printing and the electronics.
The Importance of Innovation
That is something that we have been getting a lot of inquiries in our business – the idea of associating a brand with 3D printing. Even if it is just to make marketing presentations, right now is the time to be doing that. To find a way to get your clients to understand that you are looking at what the future is. If the future is 3D printing, then you ought to be doing it now and 3D print marketing is a unique way to start. Sometimes we have to do things in business and we have developed this product design development. You have to do show pieces, that is why there are show rooms and concept car shows. They are never going to make it to market, but you have to be associated in thinking innovatively. You have to be associated with at least figuring out the company, and how to engender the innovative process. One way to do that is by associating your product and brands with 3D printing, because that is an instant innovation association, and they have done that.
What I love about this project, is that aside from the marketing brilliance of doing a promotion like this and making something so different to promote your brand, but it’s the fact that they made end-user products with FFF 3D printing and there are photos and videos to show that they have done it. They made real products. We often are counselling potential clients or investors. I have this happen a week ago at an inventor’s forum meeting. This guy shows up the product concept and said, “What should I do? I know I need to have a good cost. I know that I have to make 20,000 of these.” I then said, “Please don’t make 20,000 of them because it will cost you money and you don’t want to risk your family over an experiment here. What you need to do is to make 100 of them. Find a realistic way to do a realistic market test, and sell them to see if people are actually willing to pay for what this product is.” In this case here, I think they appeared from the photos to have been more than a hundred of them, but they made them through 3D printing, zero tooling. They were able to use those 3D printer parts to put the electronics in and make them to become a whole and real product. Electronic components are a little easier and less expensive, especially that this skill to go into a short production run with, doesn’t take massive amounts of tooling and it doesn’t have to.
What’s with Reengineering?
It is highly likely that they have found this off the shelf, because it’s the size of a really small alarm clock, so you might have already found an alarm clock that already did this. They may have adapted it and they may have 7 sounds that you can wake up to. They also put LED lights in there, as well as a rechargeable battery. There is definitely some electronics going in there. There are ways where you take the things that exist on the market and make it work for what it needs to do for the most part, or at least you don’t have to spend a lot of money re engineering everything to test your concept. This is the important part. I may not be a fan of minimum viable product, but this I am a fan of. It is just not redoing everything just because you have to. Another product that we have talked about in the past is the ring cam which I totally loved. We even have that interview with them. They didn’t reengineer that camera that goes into it. They took one that existed and adapted it to their use, and then they repackaged it. When their products are successful which is already showing to be, that is the time where you go. When you reengineer with yourself, you get smaller and you needed to do everything that you needed to do. It gives you complete flexibility to go to the next stage and next level and get your price dialled in and down.
You don’t have to do that out of the gate every time. I think that this is a good example of both worlds of doing something for straight marketing purposes, doing something that you can do as an end product, and test out a concept. It is evidence that you do not have to go and tool for something, just because that is the way that it’s supposed to be in its final format.
To sum it all up…
This is a 3D print marketing promotion that’s assembled in California. Even if you’re looking at doing something in big volumes, someday a distributor will retail it, and you are going to have it made overseas if that is what you have to do to meet the price point. You can do short runs here in the US and prove everything out before you give into it. They used a desktop 3D printer to print some of these components; some of it is done on Shapeways while some of them are done on FFF printers and desktop. This to me is a great example of marketing and product development to use 3D printing at the same time.
Marketing is really the emphasis here. We think we all know what 3D printing can do to our development, but here is what 3D printing can do for marketing, promotions, exposure, and transforming your brand into something cool. Also, people who drink coffee are brand loyal. But here is a reason to check this out, as it gets a lot of attention. It is absolutely a lot of fun.
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