Pokemon Go was just the beginning. Your business can use VR and AR technology to get ahead of competitors and connect with customers.
When you think of virtual reality (VR), your mind may conjure up images of the augmented reality (AR) games like Pokemon Go, cutting edge military simulations, or immersive VR video games. Perhaps you think of being transported to another corner of the globe or visiting with distant friends akin to Facebook’s new social VR platform.
These are definitely exciting applications of VR, but in no way do they encapsulate all of VR’s uses. One of the most lucrative applications, in fact, is often overlooked: VR in marketing.
Here are three ways virtual reality can boost your marketing efforts:
1. VR Can Set You Apart From the Competition
Businesses spend thousands of dollars on creating top-of-the-line YouTube video ads and click-worthy copy. In order to stand out, marketing departments have to hire the best writers, editors, and video production teams.
VR, however, is not nearly as saturated. Currently, only 30% of Forbes Global 2000 consumer-facing companies plan to experiment with AR and VR. Creating a VR or AR app to promote your product will communicate a future-focused, innovative brand to your customers.
How it can happen: North Face, the outdoor apparel company, provides shoppers with VR videos of rock climbing in Yosemite National park through the use of in-store VR headsets. This entirely new experience allowed the company to capture consumer interest both inside and outside of stores. The creation of the app alone caused a buzz on the internet.
2. VR Can Make Your Content More Interesting
Creating unique, quality content can be arduous work for marketing departments. Thankfully, a new twist can make old ideas feel fresh again. The content can be made interesting by the integration of VR; the content itself can be short, sweet, and simple.
How it can happen: Singer-songwriter Björk released a fully immersive VR music video for her song “Notget.” Essentially, the content was the same as many of her other music videos. In this instance, however, VR was incorporated. The storytelling, while familiar, was made fresh by the application of the new technology. The song received a great deal of additional press as well as over a million views on YouTube.
3. VR Can Engage Your Target Audience
Creating entirely new application with VR can be taxing work. Luckily, all that is required to use VR for your marketing efforts is a few skilled developers and a bit of equipment. For example, instead of producing an ad that showcases your product, you could use AR to allow the user to see and interact with your product.
How it can happen: Makeup retailer Sephora introduced the AR app Sephora Virtual Artist earlier this year. They developed the app with the company ModiFace, which owns an AR technology that scans faces, figures out the placement of eyes, lips, and cheeks, and allows users to try different makeup looks. The app was downloaded thousands of times and received high marks from iPhone users.
Innovations in technology have always influenced marketing and advertising. The invention of radio and television changed how advertising was done. The internet has once again transformed marketing. Digital marketing has its own nuances that are distinct from print and television advertising, with a focus on content, SEO and PPC advertising.
Even these relatively new internet marketing strategies can grow stale, however. Gone are the days of strategies that only used outbound marketing tactics. Intrusive ads that interrupt television shows, radio programs, and newspaper articles aren’t nearly as valuable as they used to be. Technology allows for new and interesting ways to promote products.
VR and AR technologies provide a unique opportunity for your marketing department. You can provide sneak peeks into product development, make your content more immersive, and engage your customers more effectively with this new technology.
Josh Althauser is an entrepreneur with a background in design and M&A. He’s also a developer, open source advocate, and designer. You may connect with him on Twitter.