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Virtual reality has quickly moved from being a pipedream into the realm of reality. Today, consumers have access to VR technology that we could only dream about a mere five years ago. Many marketers are already aware of the ripples in the pond that VR has caused. Like all other digital media, VR is a powerful marketing tool in the right hands.
While we don’t know for sure how VR will power the future of marketing, it’s something that any marketing team should invest time into finding out. Below, 13 associates of Forbes Agency Council share what they consider to be the most likely ways in which VR will change the face of marketing in the future.
1. Remaking The World Of Advertising
One way? Ha! Virtual reality will remake the advertising and marketing industry. We are not there yet in terms of the technology, but we’re getting closer. You can look to video games to get an idea, with virtual billboards tailored to each player. Only, we’ll have an entire virtual shopping mall designed around each consumer’s desires. There won’t be VR advertising — VR will be the advertising. – Robert Finlayson, Impact Marketing and Communications
2. Enabling Brands To Integrate Audience’s Lifestyle
As consumers continue to seek one-of-a-kind experiences that are social and accessible, VR allows brands to seamlessly be part of lifestyle integration by co-curating content especially in the entertainment industry. The impact and outcomes of COVID-19 will only heighten the need for VR experiences for brands. We see emerging companies, such as CEEK and others, capitalizing on this new normal. – Sherman Wright, Ten35 LLC
3. Presenting Your Services In Advance
In the hospitality industry, a travel app or an interactive map with your virtual reality video allows potential customers to explore the destination first before making a booking. In general, VR allows companies to showcase services to potential customers in advance. – Giovanbattista Cimmino, CimminoMedia
4. Offering A Great, Opt-In Storytelling Tool
Virtual reality has been a tool used in experiential marketing for a number of years now, and will continue to add value to in-person events, but can also be delivered remotely. It’s a great storytelling tool, and used strategically, it can help customers learn about products and services in a way that’s participatory and fun, even when they can’t engage face-to-face. – Scott Kellner, GPJ Experience Marketing
5. Serving As A Compelling Lead Magnet
Offers for virtual tours, visits and experiences will power landing page traffic as a call to action for several more years. Visitors will get a taste of the virtual experience, then be asked to opt in for a progressively deeper experience. The final CTA would be to purchase, subscribe or schedule the next step. VRaaS (virtual-reality-as-a-service) — subscriptions for regular, recurring VR experiences — won’t be far behind. – Serenity Thompson, A23 Advisors
6. Creating New, Immersive Marketing
Virtual reality places users at the center of experiences, whether it’s attending an event, taking a tour of a vacation resort or trying out a new pair of boots. The world’s most innovative and tech-savvy brands are creating new, immersive marketing with VR. I think we will see a big influx of brands implementing events through VR now more than ever before. – Stefan Pollack, The Pollack Group
7. Bringing Experience To The Audience
If the events of late have made anything apparent, it is that people must adapt or be left behind. A strong example we face in the current crisis is how to bring experiences to an audience from a distance. VR allows us to place our audience within a captivating medium of interaction that can be used to communicate brand experience in ways we can only hope to achieve through traditional media. – Michael Smith, MDS Media Inc.
8. Enhancing Your Brand’s Message
Virtual reality is video, so anywhere video is used for advertising there are opportunities for VR to enhance a brand’s message. I’m starting to see VR used by companies offering training, whether it be for insurance claims adjusters, emergency preparedness, or tactical police or military training. Using VR can greatly enhance training exercises, and I see this becoming more than a trend. – Todd Maxwell, eMaximize
9. Building Brand Awareness
I see companies taking a very similar approach to VR advertising as they do with video games. In many games like “NBA 2K” and even “Grand Theft Auto” you see major firms advertising to their consumer base creating a wave of brand awareness. The more time people spend in the digital universe — be it social media or virtual reality worlds — the more we will see advertisers making their mark. – Alex Quin, UADV
10. Bringing Back Creativity
VR is going to give creative people and agencies a new medium to flex their talents. Look for powerful visual storytelling in VR apps that coincide perfectly with more people experiencing things from at home on their computer. – Christine Wetzler, Pietryla PR
11. Serving As Your Professional Adviser
Case studies, testimonials and documonials have served as proof statements for pro service firms for many years. But these are all “canned” in the sense that they’re scripted and prepared before being shared. The VR equivalent in the future might just be a trip around the office of a firm before you hire them. This could give prospective clients a better feel for the provider. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
12. Providing Advanced Storytelling Opportunities
VR provides a unique opportunity for immersive storytelling. Content creators have been developing VR material for years, but the accessibility has made the investment questionable. When consumers have more accessibility to VR, there will be much higher usage of the platform. Brands who are able to leverage interactive storytelling in their campaigns will enhance their engagement with consumers. – Marc Becker, The Tangent Agency
13. Enabling On-Demand Experiential
Virtual reality could prove to be a form of “on-demand” experiential marketing. Want to see what your new office or living room set up would look like without lugging in all that furniture? Plug in and see it live. Want to see how that pair of shoes will go with that outfit before clicking “buy”? Plug in and see it live. VR (and augmented reality) can bridge the experience gap quickly. – Bernard May, National Positions
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Author: Forbes Agency Council, Forbes Councils Member
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