Virtual Reality Marketing: A new era of experience
Customers are becoming more and more experience-driven. With the advancement accompanied by the changes in consumer demand, the modern-day customer seeks a marketing experience that is more invigorating.
Virtual Reality is no longer a topic of science fiction but is rather quickly becoming reality. The way in which customers “experience” products and services is therefore changing as well.
With multiple projections and insights, the foreseeable future will soon replace screens with VR headsets and motion capture devices.
As brands and businesses, we should therefore take advantage of this knowledge and begin to understand the trends and movements towards this major shift in consumer behavior.
The Change in Experience
For decades, the inclusion of the general public in advertising campaigns and branding has been a go-to strategy for marketers. With customers evolving into wanting to be involved with brands, the demand for ways to engage with the brand identity has been the focus of marketers. The branding giant, Coca-Cola is one such example of this.
The Share a Coke campaign saw the branding giant printing the top one hundred and fifty names within a country on their bottles.
This saw customers scrambling to find their names or that of their friends and loved ones and in turn, the sales of the soda brand increased evidently. This is the perfect example of getting consumers involved with the brand more than monetarily.
The campaign points towards the idea of generating value for consumers outside of the exchange of a product or service.
Fast-forward ten years and companies like Oreo and Ikea are creating virtual experiences for customers either through their mobile devices or via pop-up VR booths.
According to AdRoll, there is an estimated $29.5 Billion to be made through the usage of both Virtual and Augmented reality experiences this year alone. It can be seen that once again, the evolution of technology has created a path for industries to follow and create new and exciting experiences for customers.
Personalization made real
According to Forbes, VR creates an immense opportunity to personalize the buying experiences of customers even further. Creating a journey that the customer can follow and be a part of has been an extensive challenge and focus for both marketers and management. The advent of VR has therefore placed a new tool in the hands of business leaders to better craft an experiential journey for their customers.
An article by Marketing Tech News, explains how the personalization of VR marketing can be antiquated with that of trying on clothes at your favorite fashion outlet.
The experience is personal. Creating an isolated experience for people to “physically” be involved in, is psychologically beneficial. People want to be able to touch and feel the product before they buy it.
Most people go on a test drive before buying a car, the same can be said for most products and services out there. Customers want to be able to understand why and how the offering benefits them and the usage of VR technology has given marketers a means to accomplish this.
Marketing Made More Complex
It is no secret that a large portion of marketing efforts is directed toward social media. Influencers, paid ads, story interactions, etc. are consistently being reinvented to gather the attention of scrollers. But with more than 80% of smartphone users ignoring ads, the manner in which marketing is done needs to constantly evolve.
The Drum, provides insight into the metaverse being one such example. Creating a brand new platform for social experiences to occur outside of conventional social media is on the horizon.
Being able to cater to the future of marketing in this instance does however place strain on marketers and branding managers.
The means in which marketing efforts occur will have to change. Experts in VR will be required, time and research into how to leverage the tool will be used and marketers will have to reimagine their brand images to now cater to the latest and greatest trends in the Metaverse. The cyclical story has not changed.
Twenty or so years ago, if it was mentioned that most marketing efforts will occur from a glass and plastic device in one’s pocket, the industry leaders would have laughed. The same twenty years prior with the Television and so on.
Although challenging, the creation of VR marketing is not something to be afraid of but rather something to be embraced. A new method of communication, a way to better educate consumers, and a new input method to change the idea of branding as a whole are the foci marketers should be feeding. It may be intimidating, but VR marketing is on its way and it may be here to stay.