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“Imagine you’re standing on the edge of a lush hill, with your arms wide open and eyes closed, and cool gentle breeze caressing your hair; as you breathe-in deep, the dewy petrichor and the tropical rain forest, there starts falling upon your face, the cool drizzle that you wish you could sink yourself into…leaning your body towards the vastness of the other side…you keep leaning and leaning… and whoa… you lose the balance… and slip into the air… and now you’re going down and down, as a victim of the gravity… and there you fall tumbling over the greens… hurtling over the grass and rocks. All you can see is your world on a rollercoaster… the trees, the depth and the sky rolling till the moment you hit a big rock and are completely blacked out!”
Did you visualize the past few moments while reading this? You may or may not have, but this would have been great as a high definition, multidimensional visual for a simulated experience, isn’t it! Of course, the virtual reality comes as a package of excitement, fear, fun and lots of surprises that almost everybody wishes to experience.
Virtual Reality (VR) has mesmerized the world completely with immersive technology taking the lead. The scope of VR is not confined to gaming or movie-making. Neither does it require any grand setup. VR can now be enjoyed by every dilettante behind the hand-held screen. The pervasiveness of smartphones has allowed everyone to enjoy VR in some or the other way – whether they are watching a movie, shopping, ordering their favorite meal, or are even looking for a haircut.
That’s where digital marketers can leverage the huge potential of present-age technology.
The virtual reality market size is speculated to reach USD 19.78 billion by 2025 globally, according to a new research published by Grand View Research, Inc. Virtual Reality is increasingly penetrating various sectors including entertainment, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and telecommunications, and that clearly indicates an overwhelming scope for passionate digital marketers looking to differentiate the businesses they are promoting.
#1: Smart Brands That Have Already Implemented Virtual Reality
Enticing the customer is the most important aspect of digital marketing. “Hey, what’s that!” is what a digital marketer aims at, from their target audience, and that is the most difficult part, also referred to as grabbing the attention! In the crowd of competitors where each one of them is trying to give their best, you need to be extra-ordinary in presenting your story, to outshine them and grab your audience’s attention.
Later follow engagements, conversion, and retention. Realizing this very crucial part of digital marketing channel, various companies have already started inducing Virtual Reality in their marketing strategy.
As concluded in a research conducted by Capegemini in 2018, it was reported that 82% of companies that implemented VR, indicate that the benefits of doing so, exceeded their expectations.
Virtual Reality being a perfect medium of story-telling, promises a great experience to the audience ultimately leading to more conversions.
#2: Massive VR Giveaways for Brand Loyalty
Digital Marketing involves not only marketing and having a good customer base, but rewarding the loyal ones too, and that can better be done by implementing VR technology. The New York Times very well understood this and rewarded their loyal customers with Google Cardboard glasses for watching VR films that were a great deal of interest to the intellectuals and philanthropists, the categories most likely to belong to their loyal customers.
Now imagine the impact of this experience on the viewers that would have further strengthened the brand loyalty for not just NYT, but also for the glasses, and those films shown to them.
This is the same way, McDonald, the world’s most favorite fast food chain introduced new Happy Meal Boxes that just in a matter of few folds, could be converted into virtual reality cardboard headsets, popularly known as “Happy Goggles.”
To let the customers, have an amazing VR experience, McDonald even created a virtual reality application to be downloaded. Now all they were required to do was, just slide-in their smartphones into the VR glasses, and get set for a virtual ride to the world of surprises!
Even Coca Cola didn’t stay behind in offering the exciting VR experience to their takers! They partnered with Shazam, and ran an advertising campaign, in which the Coca Cola fans could see their glasses getting filled Coke right in their own smartphones, which further could be redeemed as FREE Coke from any of their retail stores in the US.
Even in tourism and hotel industry, the VR technology has proved its mettle.
#3: Virtual Teleporter to the Wonders of the World
Marriott moved a step ahead exploring the VR technology by starting a campaign ‘Travel Brilliantly’. They came up with ‘Teleporter’ a virtual-reality booth, where the people would step-in, and experience an exciting short vacation to Hawaii Islands or take a quick 4D tour to a seven-star hotel in Palm Jumeirah, with the combination of sound effect and sensation. The campaign was targeted at younger people who love exploring new things. The larger than life feel offered to them fetched great user engagement.
Rightly said the Vice President of brand marketing, Mariott Michael Dail, “We’re pioneering what travel is going to mean in the future and how technology can enhance the experience. Marriott is not that traditional company you once thought of.”
#4: Marketing with VR Technology
The biggest challenge encountered by marketers is persuading the audience to take the desired action, which is based on various factors including the convincing marketing abilities of the marketer. VR marketing can come a long way in bridging this gap between catching attention of the audience and getting them to take the required step. The marketer is not required to make wordy claims as the audience can experience all that is offered, by itself and take the decision of its own.
Marketing a brand or a business with the VR intervention definitely gets you on a highly competitive edge, especially when it is interesting enough to entice the target audience. All the brands, established or novice, that are inducing the technology in their marketing strategies, are getting a chance to innovate, trying out new things in marketing much before the VR already becomes a trend. So, by the time the VR bubble expands, these brands would already have leveraged enough to be at the forefront of the lot.
#5: The Power to Convince, that VR has!
In today’s scenario when the people are already aware about false product claims made by marketers, the best way to convince them, is to allow them to go along the journey of its creation, and let them look forward to using it. Anticipating about what they have been following for a particular amount of time, is a part of human tendency. Understanding the human psychology, which is majorly based upon experiential observation and acceptance thereafter, the marketers of today have started making the best use of VR in their digital marketing strategy. The technology allows the users to see for themselves, what otherwise would have been told to them by marketers.
The strategy was adopted by Volvo, that started offering VR-led test drives for its XC90 SUV, allowing the potential buyers to experience the luxury drive virtually. Nothing can be more compelling than letting the buyers experience on their own and take the decision.
#6: From Infancy to Maturity – Virtual Reality is all Set for the Journey
As per a report released by eMarketer in March 2019, the number of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) users has been increasing at a rapid pace, and is expected to grow further.
In current digital marketing scenario, Virtual Reality is just at an infancy stage, but is gradually holding a larger base. Right from offering amazing VR experiences, enticing people, to making them take the decision to buy, the ultimate objective of this technology is to impel the audience to reach out to you, rather than you reaching out to them. If as a digital marketer, you are looking to implement the latest digital marketing technique, this is the high-time, you should start wielding the VR technology so that you can differentiate yourself with really innovative campaigns for your customers.