From a technology perspective, 3D printing is absolutely on the rise, with the various processes able to provide benefits such as complex geometries, internal structures, reduced time-to-market, rapid prototyping, and lower production costs. Speeds and accuracies are picking up, prices are dropping, materials capabilities are improving, and advances continue to be made across the board via innovative R&D. While adoption is increasing worldwide, additive manufacturing remains merely a point of interest for (too) many industrial endeavors. For some, “3D printing” remains a blip of hype on a radar, still tied in to Star Trek references or plastic tchotchkes, rather than a realistic development that could benefit a serious business.
News services, such as this outlet, strive to provide accessible and from-the-source information on the latest developments, but getting the word out of what is possible — realistically, presently — via additive manufacturing requires an ultimately complex series of communications that start at the ground level. Without efforts to accurately and pragmatically showcase the technology, even the greatest inventions will face great difficulty in getting off the ground; it’s not enough to produce groundbreaking products, people need to know about them. Appropriately highlighting key factors that set a technology or a company apart is a skill, and best results are produced through an actual understanding of the full market environment to best position new announcements.
Faced with a noisy marketplace environment in a still-developing industry, participants have a number of options at their disposal to get word out about their offerings, including among them internal marketing, external PR relationships, sharing blog posts, putting out videos, cold calling, and reaching out one-on-one. Sales and marketing efforts rely on communication, on establishing and building relationships. It’s no surprise that many of the most influential members of the 3D printing business are in sales and marketing roles; these highly visible positions require great skill in communication.
A new UK-based enterprise has emerged to provide expertise in communications, PR, market research, and more — all targeted specifically at additive manufacturing. PYL Associates builds on its principals’ accumulated decades of experience in this industry. Keeping in mind that the industry as such has only been around since the late 1980s, ‘decades of experience’ is an impressive claim. Each of the principals behind the company has been involved in 3D printing for more than 20 years. PYL encompasses the expertise of Park, Young, and Leather; that is:
- Rachel Park, a journalist, researcher, editor, and media advisor working in additive manufacturing for more than two decades. From early days with TCT starting 22 years ago, Park has been involved in 3D printing working with companies of all sizes, building an extensive network and positioned to observe, understand, and analyze changing dynamics.
- Chris Young, who brings expertise in marketing, sales, business development, and media communications all focusing on 3D printing. Young launched and for more than two decades managed TCT Magazine and TCT Show, the first dedicated 3D printing magazine and events, building a strong network and commercial understanding in additive manufacturing business operations.
- Peter Leather, with more than 20 years of experience in innovation, research, and technology at policy, strategic, and operational levels, has developed a strong understanding of and expertise in aspects of innovation and what it takes for enterprises of all sizes to succeed in industry, academia, business, and government, working with a strong network.
Together, Park, Young, and Leather provide an unparalleled resource available to build unique strategic approaches for clients in additive manufacturing.
“Having worked in the additive manufacturing industry for more than 20 years now, I have witnessed the amazing growth both in terms of technical progress, the proliferation of applications and the number of companies operating across the sector. During this time, I have also acquired insight and contacts that have proved invaluable in so many ways and this is what I hope to bring to PYL Associates. In a similar way, the other directors of PYL each have a unique 20+ year history with AM and business acumen that they are contributing, which collectively we believe culminates in a unique service offering,” Park tells me of their offerings.
The building up of that market intelligence has been a process decades in the making for these three undisputed experts, all of whom have been hands-on in the industry for the majority of its existence. Their big-picture understanding of the shape of this young and dynamic market and experience on all ends of business communications offers a focused approach to additive manufacturing — and a pragmatic one.
The business of 3D printing comes down, of course, to sales success, which relies on realistic, realizable offerings. To turn a profit, companies must convey their products/services and what sets them apart in an increasingly crowded marketplace environment.
“Services offered by PYL include singular market research assignments, PR and writing commissions, as well as medium and long-term sales and marketing projects and consultation. In this way, PYL clients will gain access to our extensive AM experience, sector intelligence, and wide-reaching network,” Park, known for her vast knowledge of technologies and trademark hats and pragmatism, explains.
PR, market research, and clear communications all play a major role in the success of any business today; targeting a specific industry in providing these offerings allows for the opportunity for deeper connection to leads, customers, users, and other industry participants and beneficiaries.
In a recent conversation with a major multinational manufacturing company, an executive asked me what set 3D printing-specific news outlets apart from broader-focused business publications; my response to him was that as 3D technologies are all we cover, our team best understands announcements in context and can go deeper, with direct industry relationships and networks, to bring a closer look at announcements than a more surface-level introduction from a larger publication that covers more technologies, more businesses. It’s the difference between going to a general practitioner and a specialist; the GP may provide an overview of your health and is a critical part of personal healthcare, while a specialist is who you want to address a specific concern. PYL Associates is a specialist in additive manufacturing services.
The business of 3D printing is growing rapidly, and just as quickly building a need for communications, market understanding, and expert focus. Network access and market comprehension available via PYL Associates allows for on-demand expertise.
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[Images via PYL Associates]