LONDON/SYDNEY: The Maker Movement is a gift to marketing, according to a leading industry figure who argues that marketers can apply the work of the tech-based, DIY subculture to advantage in a marketing context.

Writing in the current issue of Admap, Anthony J James, managing director and chief innovation officer at Trinity Consulting Services, suggested that marketers can be inclined to see innovative technologies as being just out of reach and to neglect the opportunities that the Maker Movement offers.

"Cheap robotics, app-driven products and electronic build projects mean that marketers have at their disposal a wide array of tools and resources to improve brand experiences, to attract and delight customers as they progress through their days," he said.

As an example of what he meant, he cited the possible uses to which they could put Arduino, an open-source platform based on hardware and software, including as part of an experiential campaign.

"Probably the simplest example of Arduino for a marketing campaign is an automated photo booth, where customers could have their picture taken in a branded environment and have that image uploaded to Instagram on a branded account," he said.

The cost of building this could be as little as $150. "Creative will still be needed to encourage participation, but the cost of booth hire and staff management is cut profoundly with the use of simple tools."

Other technologies already on the market and offering opportunities for innovative marketing include 3D printers, laser cutters/engravers and virtual reality headsets.

"All that's needed is for a creative agency or marketer to think about how they might be deployed for the benefit of a brand," said James.

And he introduced a topical angle, explaining that a popular new Star Wars toy, the BB-8 Droid by Sphero, was based on technology – a 3D printed shell and the innards of a smartphone – that had grown from a Maker project designed to teach children maths.

"The reason why the Sphero story is important is that smart marketers are already tapping into the smarts of the Maker community," he explained.

Data sourced from Admap