It’s not about the survival of species, it’s about digital marketing. Rules change every day, trends get outdated before we learn how to apply them. That’s why it is crucial to keep up with the innovations in digital marketing before it’s too late.
In 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone, big businesses decided that mobile apps are some kind of toys to distract kids from crying. Yet, in several years the same big businesses acknowledged their mistake and embraced mobile app development eagerly.
Today, VR/AR are perceived as toys by businesses because of the seemingly low utility. Common users also deny VR/AR because they can’t get used to the hardware easily or say that there is not enough content. In reality, the biggest problem is that they don’t know how to use VR and AR apps for their benefit. The main point is that you should learn from the mistakes of businesses and embrace what you have now before it’s too late.
More than that, VR and AR are effective because they resonate with the majority of agile marketing trends 2018 as defined by Forbes, Business Insider, HubSpot, Nick Patel from Kissmetrics, and Adweek.
Personalization marketing has never been as important as it is now, according to Forbes.
If we receive a small Christmas present from our favorite beauty salon, the worst downer is the news that 100 members of the salon got exactly the same gift. It decreases the value of the present irrevocably. Personalization marketing is all about giving us this sense of uniqueness. AR can cope with it perfectly, have no doubts.
Let’s take augmented reality clothing apps as an example. They are able to scan a body of a consumer and offer him/her a perfect outfit. Personal tailor and a personal photographer in your smartphone. Well, it might be not that unique at all, but consumers would perceive it as totally unique when they see their own photos. Adding one additional feature, such as shades that match the color of the dress, raises the chances of converting an indifferent lady to a passionate and loyal user.
Thus, GAP introduced a new augmented reality clothing app last year to help consumers find the perfect style and size. With the help of this app, which is called a virtual dressing room, consumers can finally choose clothes without leaving their apartments. Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?
AR in marketing campaigns feels as personalized as the sweater knitted by your granny.
SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT
There is no doubt social networks will be fully integrated with AR, and brands will gain more access to personal data of customers (to be honest, I don’t believe it’s possible to have more information about me). So they will be able to offer something special, timely, and more creative.
Thus, for example, brands can contact with users via social media and offer them to try cosmetics or clothes using AR. Some brands are already doing it. Estee Lauder offers customers to pick up a perfect lipstick shade via Facebook messenger. And that’s one of the brightest AR marketing examples that actually doesn’t feel like marketing.
It will also be possible to provide users with special content based on their location. Your users post a photo from some restaurant in Chicago? Offer them a couple of discounts in the shops nearby.
My friend has just sent me a pic of his nephews playing with LEGO. A pic with AR animation, of course. On this pic, there is a huge transformer standing next to the happy kids. His text was something like: “It’s so cool!”, and he is a serious risk analyst working for the serious company. Yes, even after all these years of immense popularity, LEGO manages to find new unexpected solutions and create real WOW effect to impress small and big players.
Downloading a free AR app created by LEGO, kids can animate their favorite characters and learn how to build awesome castles step by step. It’s like a funny tutorial that makes the game even more engaging: one hand on LEGO and one holding a smartphone. And zero moralizing.
“We believe the best way to predict the future of play is to invent it“, said Tom Donaldson, VP, Creative Play Lab at the LEGO Group.
The idea is simply genius: using augmented reality marketing to reinvent the concept of play. And take into account that LEGO is just a toy that doesn’t change much in its essence, not like iPhones or cars. That is one of the most effective AR marketing examples that is hard to associate with marketing.
NYX has just announced that it will cooperate with Samsung to create professional VR makeup tutorials. Customers will have the chance to see these three tutorials led by famous beauty bloggers in selected NYX stores. Those who try this new experience will get good discounts as well.
The essence of experiential marketing is engagement and emotions.
Red Bull can serve as an example because almost everything the company does is experiential marketing. But Stratos Jump was the absolute triumph of the brand. Millions of users could share this extraordinary experience and understand what it’s like to “have wings”. Using such an approach, Red Bull asked its users… no… not to drink energetics but to share positive emotions together.
“Let me share the emotions you are offering”, that’s what modern customers want from brands.
If you can’t organize skydiving, AR can be a good alternative for your brand. With AR, you can invite consumers to share the experience and emotions naturally and organically. That is what Starbucks did a month ago launching AR app for Shanghai coffee shop so visitors can see how their favorite cappuccino is made. They feel involved in the process, and more than this, they feel excited to experience Starbucks.
Empathy is the new black of our time, partially because AI is coming and the only reliable way to differentiate an android from a human being is empathy (at least that is what I saw in the Blade Runner).
Medical futurists claim that empathy will be even more important than coding in the future. Because AI will be able to perform certain cognitive operations brilliantly, but it will always lack social skills and real emotions. The point is, VR can be the most advanced tool to learn empathy because it promises full immersion. Chris Mark uses VR as an empathy machine to evoke an emotional response in the participants of the World Economic Forum. It turned out to be more persuasive than traditional media, such as movies or music.
All media agree on the fact that video content will be the most effective to reach the target audience in 2018. But watching video on a screen is like looking through the window: you can hardly reach the level of ultimate immersion. VR video destroys frames and limits transferring the person inside the environment he/she explores.
VR can be used in any field: to show future apartments to the prospective customers or to help tourists see the hotel they’re staying in for the weekend. Using these virtual reality tours will stimulate joy, happiness, and enthusiasm. Why? Because VR goggles are not the window to a new reality, they are this reality. That is actually a rare method to share emotions without the need for physical travel.
Real estate is the industry where one visual example is worth a thousand words. “Don’t sweet talk me, just show how it looks”, – that’s the typical phrase of the typical customer. But visualization is impossible without powerful and persuasive tools. Luckily, augmented reality is changing everything in terms of visualization. Sure, you can demonstrate the data with the help of slides on PowerPoint. But it sounds boring and a bit old-school from the modern customer’s point of view.
Nowadays, businessmen use HoloLens or HoloLamp for better visualization. Show customers the plan of their future apartment or demonstrate your potential investors how the building will look like. And they are bought. This home appliances retailer called Allo decided to create a whole virtual shop to showcase 3D models of fridges, multicookers, and vacuum cleaners. Users can see all products in detail and observe them from different angles. Users can even open the door of the fridge!
People will use the Internet to search for information more and more often. Yes, that’s what the Internet was made for, you might admit. But this trend will be even more popular because modern consumers expect transparency.
In this sense, AR apps that can provide users with the relevant and accurate information will be worth a million. No ads, no lip service. Transparency. Take these 2 Android apps, for example, Android app: Street Peek and Sign Snap.
Street Peek AR app gives users all the information about houses which is uploaded directly from real estate website’s database. As easy as it sounds. It’s a perfect possibility to choose the house of your dream.
Sign Snap augmented reality app is even more comfortable: it displays all the valuable information on the house, including the price and property details. A customer only needs to point the camera at the sign “For sale”. He will receive all the information he needs on this object: all the listing details and photos of the object.
Actually, while most people are still confident that it’s the age of consumerism, it’s not. Modern shoppers don’t want to buy, they want to interact and be active participants. They do not only consume media, they also produce it. That’s the age of prosumerism. In the age of prosumerism, the role of the manufacturer merges with the role of a customer. And customers get engaged in the production or design of their favorite things. Let’s take clothes, for example. With the help of VR and AR, it is possible to choose the design of your future T-shirt and even try it for your body type.
Shopify’s app offers you to see the apparel of your dreams in 3D. Finally.
Live streaming will also get your customers hooked. As it filters off all the users who are not genuinely interested, it also builds a devoted target audience. Live streaming is emotionally saturated, and it permits sharing emotions with other participants. More than that, VR broadcasting from events can become that teleport we are all waiting for. Would you want to live stream your business conference?
AR and VR give you more than you could expect. They destroy the concept of traditional commerce step by step: forget about copy-pasted products’ descriptions and TV commercials. AR and VR influence customer experience from the inside: they provoke genuine emotions and create the sense of personalization.
AR and VR blur the boundaries between physical and digital worlds. Yes, they still look a bit awkward and even a bit suspicious but they change rapidly, just look how the graphics have evolved over the last 5 years.
Those first mobile apps back in 2007 looked strange as well. But today, when there is literally “an app for everything”, businesses can hardly operate without them.
So it’s a high time to see the future and embrace AR and VR which are more comfortable than mobile apps and more instructional than YouTube videos. They are excellent for gentle tutoring, navigation, experience, and visualization, of course. All those things your customers need this year even more than they needed last year.