The idea of Virtual Reality would have seemed alien to many only a decade ago, but since then it has seen an explosion in popularity and growth. The computer based simulation of an interactive environment has seen growth in every sector from retail to travel and hospitals to schools. It clearly has the potential to explode into the next big thing. Whilst many retailers have started to implement it into their digital marketing campaign, it remains gimmicky and in its infancy. VR and training costs alongside the costs of implementing it can also hold the technology back a little bit. But this technology has a huge amount of potential to unlock and could completely change the very nature of digital marketing. This blog is looking at what the future of digital marketing looks like and how it can evolve for the better through the acceptance of modern technology.
Offers exciting alternatives to normal marketing
Perhaps the most noticeable and best thing about VR, in general, is its vastness. It can literally incorporate any sort of experience from traveling across the world to trying to capture a rare pokemon in your local coffee shop. This allows businesses and companies who are advertising their products to use all sorts of different alternate realities to entice the consumer into their product. By offering these alternatives you change the normal marketing campaign of filmed ads on the TV during prime time to complete VR experiences which ideally sucked the consumer right into the product. Nike perhaps did this best initially with its HyperVenom advert in 2015 where consumers saw the football pitch from Neymar’s perspective – cleverly implanting this notion into prospective buyers.
This idea of creating an experience for the market is key. Volvo is now using VR to allow customers who are too far away or incapable of coming into their nearest dealership, to test drive the cars using highly tuned VR. This not only shows that the company, who seemed to be stagnating, is innovating, but also is hugely accessible for many which are likely to attract further potential customers. VR in digital marketing can also be used in other ways. Thomas Cooks ‘Try before you buy’ campaign allowed potential customers to go to the hotel or country that they were planning on visiting through their VR setup, allowing accommodations to showcase their space and people to make a more educated decision. There are endless possibilities that businesses can use when incorporating VR into the digital marketing campaigns which will be different and quirky to allow further brand exposure and attract additional customers.
An important addition within the digital marketing sphere, the implementation of virtual reality could prove useful when it comes to digital marketing for education. By creating interactive campaigns and offering a clearer more precise message on behalf of the client, higher results can be achieved for the current campaign.
Back in the days, film and TV were the best forms of storytelling. But with the arrival of social media and virtual reality, there is a new way to convey your story to people. VR in digital marketing allows the consumer to completely immerse themselves in the product or story being presented. Using both the media of video and also experience on top of this, you can use VR to create a feeling of presence and engage them further. Being able to tell a good story through this allows a more emotional and personal link to be created between the consumer and the business which is more likely to evoke a response. Perhaps one of the most impactful uses of this storytelling technique is the New York Times implementation of VR into its news storytelling. This truly brings people into the VR experience and is certainly an avenue for further exploration.
In a similar vein to offering alternatives to normal digital marketing, VR can also prove to be invaluable in showcasing products. Companies like Merrell and IKEA have managed to nail this trick. Merrell now includes a mountainous trail VR experience to not only show the consumer what they would be using the shoes for but also making a subtle link between this sort of digital marketing and their company. Additionally, IKEA now incorporates VR in digital marketing. The ‘IKEA place’ app allows users to place a piece of IKEA furniture into their current home and see if they like it. Indeed, IKEA also has the opportunity to visit the famous showrooms from the comfort of your own sofa. This means you can get the complete IKEA experience (minus the great meatballs) without leaving the house. This allows these goliaths to completely change the field of marketing whilst saving money and creating even more engaging content.
Another aspect the VR in digital marketing can completely revolutionise is the ability to create and facilitate relationships. Just like other forms of technology, you can use VR within the consumer’s smartphone to constantly update them with products and new offers. If you are particularly using VR content, keeping it up to date and continuous means that as long as the consumer has a headset they can continually come back to the company for more VR experiences. The goal is to get people to come to you rather than you going to them and by making your digital marketing campaign current and attractive then you are more likely to establish new relationships whilst retaining old ones. Once you have that engaged audience, the marketing world is your oyster.
The innovative and evolving nature of Virtual Reality in the tech world has been expanding hugely in the last 5 years. This has allowed VR in digital marketing to explode and create a whole new form of advertising of businesses to potential consumers. By accepting more modern technology, VR can expand and immerse huge numbers of consumers whilst also providing the market with a completely different outlook. The use of VR in digital marketing can completely change the way that adverts and businesses present themselves to consumers for the better. Whilst it does have its drawbacks as a technology, the way it is currently being used, and its potential, VR in digital marketing is bound to be the next big thing.