Not too long ago, if you saw people at the park swiping at their phone and inexplicably shouting with joy, you might have a) thought their tinder game was on a hundred or b) assumed they were playing Pokemon Go. Even as downloads of the hit Augmented Reality (AR) game have slowed, B2B marketer interest in AR continues to increase. And Apple going all in with AR has definitely made people pay attention. Here’s what it can add to the digital marketer’s arsenal.
First, what is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality uses the camera view of a mobile or tablet device to superimpose digital images on the real-time reality in that space. The virtual object is, ideally, scaled to fit the camera view’s spatial layout for an even more effective immersive experience. Or, AR might involve glasses — such as Spectacles by Snap — through which users can see the real world and a virtual overlay simultaneously. I was very close to snapping (see what I did there) up a pair at the Grove in LA this past weekend.
We’ve seen several AR business application already. Car manufacturers have made it easier to park our vehicles with guidelines on the camera when we put the car in reverse. Lowe’s has “holorooms” in some of its stores to help customers envision their remodeled homes. But this technology can also be effective in B2B marketing efforts.
Augmented and virtual reality markets are poised to jump dramatically by 2020, according to Statista:
B2B marketers are speaking to an already information overloaded audience, and trying to stand out from the competition. This requires being on the cutting edge and crafting brand stories that resonate with the target customers. AR can help with this by extending the effectiveness of the brand storytelling. Here’s how:
#1 Customer Engagement
AR is immersive. Successful marketing connects with customers emotionally. Effectively designed AR experiences can surprise and delight your target audience and provide a memorable impression.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are paving the way to an $80 billion market opportunity by 2025. — Goldman Sachs
#2 Customer Education
An AR marketing campaign can give your prospective client an opportunity to interact with the product or brand on an experiential level. Using their own device, they are able to learn about the solution and absorb useful information on their own terms.
#3 Customer Independence
Consider the oft-repeated statistics about how much research the buyer is doing on their own now, before even interacting with a brand representative. With AR marketing offerings, your prospect is interacting with the brand independently — still without needing to engage directly with a human sales rep — at a much deeper level.
#4 Customization to Customer
With AR, the B2B marketer can better personalize their products and services to the prospect’s particular context. Imagine the potential at a conference or trade show where a B2B company could immerse attendees in an informative experience specific to their vertical, rather than simply handing out a flier with product specs.
Though not as immersive as virtual reality, which puts the person inside a virtual space and enables them to feel as if they are in a real, physical environment, AR has impact. B2B marketers looking to innovate can find great value in developing exciting and interesting AR opportunities as part of any digital B2B campaign.