Capture the interest of younger consumers and move leaps and bounds ahead of competitors by being an early adopter of VR in your marketing, and you don't have to spend a lot of money doing it.
The world has not always been impacted by technology, but for many of us, it is hard to imagine what it was like with no technology at all. More innovations are creeping into our everyday lives. So far, they have dramatically сhanged our ways of doing things.
Technology makes our work easier and more efficient, our daily routines more convenient and less time-consuming, education accessible 24/7, entertainment engaging and mind-blowing, and the list goes on and on.
A bit about VR
Technologies, such as augmented and virtual realities (AR and VR), have been on the horizon for some time now, but their real use cases have mainly been limited to gaming and fun. However, they definitely have much more to offer this world, and the marketing industry in particular. As of today, there are about 90 million VR users in the world, and the number is predicted to reach 171 million in 2018, meaning that it will almost double, while the number of AR users may reach one billion by 2020.
VR may still seem like a pricey technology for tech geeks, and it definitely might seem unaffordable and beyond the reach of the average person. Statistics clearly reveal that the demand for VR is growing. And as it turns out, you don’t need to buy expensive VR equipment to experience it for yourself.
Because technological leaders like Google, Samsung, HTC and Sony are all trying to outpace competitors by introducing new solutions and lowering prices for their headsets, the VR experience is now available to everyone who owns a smartphone and can afford to spend as little as $30 to get Google Cardboard or its alternatives.
Even with just a smartphone today, you can see what VR is all about by simply checking out 360-degree videos on YouTube and Facebook. So you don't need to spend a lot of money to experience the feeling of VR and interact with it.
Why should you care?
The tastes and needs of today's consumers, especially millennials, are becoming more and more sophisticated. Today's youth have short attention spans, and they always have their phones and gadgets with them. They are hard to please and to keep engaged. Brands and companies cannot afford to ignore the youth market, and they must be extra savvy and be able to differentiate in order to grab and hold the attention of millennials. Things have to be marketed differently to millennials – a product must produce unforgettable impressions and excitement.
As a relatively new technology, VR is still able to create a new experience and produce a "wow" effect that the majority of consumers so crave. The technology is increasingly being utilized by brands for marketing purposes and, let’s face it, they are doing extremely well. McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Marriott, MSI, Tom's, TopShop, and Volvo, to name just a few, have already jumped on the VR bandwagon and have used VR to lure even greater audiences to interact with it.
How to use VR for marketing
Create 360-degree videos
So far, videos are the easiest way for a business to incorporate VR technology. Thanks to the accessibility of mobile devices, along with laptop and desktop computers, any business can switch from using flat pictures and videos to providing immersive experiences through interactive and impactful videos. Interactive videos have a vast range of uses, from educational videos to virtual trips and product demonstrations.
Develop a VR application
Branded content provided via a VR app can be a good way to stand out and appear up to date and innovative compared to competitors. Industries ranging from automotive to fashion are helping people with better decision-making while engaging them with a fun and interactive journey.
Take advantage of headsets
Take a page from McDonald's playbook. The brand was inspired by Google Cardboard and created their own concept of a DIY headset to make their customers happier. A headset with branded VR content that companies can create on a regular basis offers a perfect medium to ramp up customer loyalty and keep them coming back for more.
Create a VR game
Everyone likes getting little extras. Brands can put VR technology to use by developing games that, for example, allow users to get bonuses like coupons, discounts or points. If a VR app is appropriate for your brand, it can contribute a great deal to brand awareness and engagement. Take a look at how IKEA stepped up to the challenge.
Build a teleporter
Some brands have gone further by combining the technologies of VR and 4D. You can take your customers to any location without leaving home and project real-world sensations like wind, aroma, drips of ocean water, vibrations or just about any sensation you can think of to put them in a buying mindset. The greatest example here is Marriott.
To sum it up
To hit the jackpot with VR and make it work for your marketing campaign, you have to be among the early adopters of the technology. VR has the potential to become mainstream, and when it does, your chances of delivering a one-of-a-kind, impactful and immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression on your customers will diminish. And so will your chances to market your product in a way that does not leave prospects and customers indifferent to your brand.