Multiple brands market their products and services using various methods and techniques. The problem faced by most marketers today is the use of ad blockers installed by the target audience. Virtual Reality (VR) does away with this problem by making it mandatory for users to view ads. And this is a window of opportunity that marketers have been looking for. Marketers need to make the most of this technology to expand their reach and influence customers into buying their products and services. One of the primary reasons for the recent increase in attention given to VR by marketers is the immersive nature of the marketing platform. VR ensures the undivided attention of the target audience and significantly increases the chances of clicks, demos, and, ultimately, sales. Several such benefits present as a prominent upgrade from the current, and rather primitive, modes of advertising.[emaillocker]
Every business needs to market their products or services in an innovative and, specifically, unique fashion. One way of accomplishing this is by utilizing recent technological developments before competitors do so. With the advent of Google Cardboard, VR marketing has overcome its initial hurdles of overpriced headsets that dissuaded customers from purchasing them. It has now evolved into a novelty, which almost everyone wants to experience. This leads to a sense of interest portrayed by audiences when there is anything to do with VR headsets.
Audiences are keen to view whatever content it is that is displayed, and this is a greater opportunity for marketers than the plain-Jane ad banners that are seen on almost every website, through normal video ads, or other age-old advertisement formats. For instance, Virgin Holidays tried leveraging VR with its ‘Virgin Reality’ campaign. This campaign enabled users to experience a virtual tour of Virgin Holidays’ destinations. The irritable wait time was converted into a pleasurable experience and left a lasting impression on the customers’ minds as well.
This hack specifically works in the case of trade shows and other exhibits, where customers are enticed by the idea of trying on a VR headset. Marketers need to create convincing and quality, maybe even interactive content. The only thing a marketer needs to do now is getting that first potential customer to try on the headset. The following process is quite self-sufficient as others flock to try the headset on for themselves. Since VR is immersive and, also, relatively new, advertisements through VR stick around longer in the audience’s minds.
More than just a method to grab attention to the VR headset, it etches the brand and its offerings into the minds of potential customers. This creates a situation where the audience thinks about the company offerings, with a greater tendency to make a purchase.
Marketers strive to make advertisements specific to the target customer by keeping likes, dislikes, interests, and other factors in mind. VR marketing takes personalization a step further by providing the audience with the privilege to make customizations according to their niche preferences as well. In the case of brands, marketers can create a personalized presentation with suggestions that play well with the audience. The customers can select from a variety of options what they prefer most.
For instance, if a brand that sells cars is advertising its products, it can make customized suggestions according to the target customer, such as the type, and the price range of the vehicle. The customer can now opt for his preferred color of the vehicle and other such niche preferences.
In contrast to the previous hack that emphasizes on personalization, appealing to communities broadens the marketing base by putting across a VR presentation simultaneously on multiple headsets. This may be in the form of a live show that portrays a specific corporate video message.
The plus point of doing this, despite the high costs associated with it, is the experience the audience receives. The audience feels a sense of belonging and relates more in this manner to the brand and its offerings. Another advantage this possesses over other advertising methods is that it is devoid of the distractions that the audience is normally subject to.
Primitive display advertising just does not cut it in today’s competitive and intense marketing scenario. These techniques generally receive a low customer response rate and a negligible amount of media coverage. VR marketing campaigns, however, are press-worthy, and Volvo has proved this. The U.S. automobile manufacturer put VR to optimal use and created an advertisement for the launch of its SUV, the Volvo XC90. Through ‘Volvo Reality,’ an app that enabled anyone who owned a Google Cardboard headset to experience a test drive of the XC90, Volvo displayed its understanding of its customer’s need to get an actual feel of the car.
Through Volvo Reality, Volvo garnered 238 million PR impressions, 19 million social media mentions, 24 news covers, 500,000 website views, and around 4 million video views. These mentions are only the media traction and attention that Volvo gained and speak volumes of the reach of VR marketing. The XC90’s first edition being sold out in less than two days is the cherry on the cake for this highly successful VR marketing campaign by Volvo.
Despite VR not being a mainstream marketing platform as yet, this marketing approach will soon receive its fair share of importance and marketing budgets. In terms of social media advertising, VR will present itself as an effective marketing mode, especially in the profiling of target groups and the provision of intricate customer data that is relevant to their purchasing habits. In terms of scalability, VR marketing has known no bounds. VR already enables marketers to choose from a variety of marketing methods, with a single person watching a 360 panoramic image or hundreds watching a live-streaming video. This introduces the need for marketers to work along with their concerned teams to develop sophisticated, novel, and efficient VR marketing methods. The scalability factor is not limited to the technology and its implications, and, also, offers room in the budgeting. This allows small companies to rent high-end equipment to create campaigns for VR marketing. VR marketing gives marketers complete control over their promotional activities. It allows marketers to determine the reach of advertising campaigns, i.e. whether these campaigns need to be intimate, personal, or have a global reach. Marketers can benefit from VR as they can shape it exactly the way they want and can scale advertising ambitions to progress uniquely. [/emaillocker]
Hamzah specializes in tech-based marketing and writes about marketing hacks targeted at marketers looking to enhance their businesses. He has an academic background in International Business, from which he draws his ambition as a market analyst. Hamzah is also an avid football fan, and that’s what you’d find him engrossed in, in his free time.