If we turn the clock back ten years, ‘virtual reality’ seemed like an abstract impossibility, as far removed from the world of marketing as it gets. Today, however, technologies such as VR and AR have well and truly found their place in the spheres of advertising and marketing. According to a recent study by Statista, the market for virtual reality technology — that’s hardware and software — is set to reach $5 billion by 2023!
While they are still regarded by many as cryptic and futuristic, these technologies are being adopted by companies and consumers alike to add new levels of experience and visualisation to the market. So, where does your company come into it?
Read on to find out the numerous ways that VR and AR can benefit your business.
What are VR & AR exactly?
First of all, let’s quickly get to grips with these new technologies and what they mean.
- Augmented reality (AR) literally augments your surroundings by adding fabricated elements to what you are seeing. ‘Augment’ means ‘to make greater than’ and ‘to improve’. So, by using a smartphone camera, digital elements can be added to your live view to make it better. Simple!
- Virtual reality (VR), on the other hand, is a far more immersive experience. Instead of just digital elements being filtered into your view, the digital images replace it entirely, simulating a new reality through a camera.
To find out more about the rising popularity of these technologies, see another of our blogs here.
How are VR & AR used in marketing?
The role of VR & AR in marketing is actually much simpler than many would expect. For a start, VR hardware does not cost as much as you’d think.
As a primary outcome, VR bridges the previous disconnect between experience and action. Before VR, the digital world seemed decidedly flat, with limited experience for consumers. Now, VR allows for a digital experience to take the place of physical experience, bringing consumers closer to products than ever before (while being in their own homes).
That being said, it is not just products that can be showcased with VR; it can also bring development and services to new heights, helping customers visualise the design process better than ever before.
How can VR help your company’s marketing efforts?
Engage consumers in innovative ways
One of the core tenets of ‘marketing law’ is the consumer-first school of thought. All good marketing strategies should hone in on the wants, needs, and behaviours of the consumer in order to showcase products and services in a way that customers are likely to be receptive to.
Consumers have their own appetites, and, as new, exciting technologies are released, they want to experience those from brands. So, to satisfy your audience, it is important that you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements such as VR and AR.
If you invest in these new technologies at any stage in the advertisement of a service (from image retouching to packaging), it won’t be long before consumers actively seek out the experiences you offer. Consumers will look for a taste of the modern, choosing to stick around rather than click away like they do from the regular adverts they see.
VR can diversify regular applications
One of the most common applications of VR in the marketing realm is, well, applications. Virtual and augmented reality apps have become immensely popular recently.
An excellent example of this comes in the form of shopping applications allowing you to place your chosen furniture items in your home such as Amazon and IKEA. All you have to do is search for the product you’d like, point your camera at the desired location, and move around to see the product in place from all angles.
This way, potential customers are able to interact with the products visually, and almost tangibly, without having to drive to an IKEA or a furniture store. This, in turn, encourages a quicker purchase and boosts customer satisfaction rates.
Integrating VR into design
We know these are some quite high-level virtual reality prospects and, as a business, leaving the ‘real world’ behind can sound quite daunting — especially when it comes to advertising and marketing.
So, instead, why don’t you just dip your toe in and be open to using VR and AR in your design process? The incorporation and application of VR in your company doesn’t even have to be client-facing at first (or at all). Relying on VR for internal processes such as the following is just as beneficial:
- Improving the creation process for new products and services
- Better visualising current processes and systems
- Redesigning office surroundings to improve efficiency
- And so many more.
When it comes to designing your business’ products, these technologies can open up new avenues of thought and creativity you didn’t even know existed. This can take the form of anything from prompting new packaging design to streamlining current manufacturing processes. In another of our blogs, we explore the impact of augmented reality technology on smart packaging as an example.
VR & marketing: The future?
Are you a business owner considering expanding your marketing and design potential? Find out how your brand can leverage the Metaverse for marketing success in another of our blogs here, or contact us to find out more.