AR/VR for B2B Marketing
Take Your Content Marketing to the Next Level
Augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR)? Two technologies that you have probably heard of, but which you probably confuse. What’s the difference between them, and which is better in the business world?
AR Vs VR – Realistic or Artificial?
You may enjoy (or know someone who enjoys) VR. You might have used it at home, or in a shopping mall in one of the 5D entertainment booths.
With VR, you put on a pair of oversized goggles that black everything out and transport you to a new world of your choosing. You don’t know what is going on around you, because you aren’t ‘there’. You are somewhere else. You’re riding a roller coaster, or holding a light sabre battling Darth Vader, or on a beach sipping a margarita.
When you are in VR mode, any interaction you have is with other players in your artificial world. They’re not real. The name is a bit of a giveaway: ‘Virtual’ reality – a representation or abstraction of a physical object.
Augmented reality is a whole different experience. There are no goggles or virtual worlds. Instead, technology adds to the real world. Digital elements are overlaid on real-world views. It’s like a bridge between reality and virtual reality. And there are no barriers between you and your surroundings. You can interact fully in the real world, and that is a powerful tool.
With AR, you interact with your surroundings. Perhaps the most famous of AR applications to date is Pokémon Go. Remember the craze of people using their mobile devices to find and fight Pokémon characters? That was AR storming the world. But AR is not simply screen-based. It is not simply game play. AR is taking hold in the real world in a way that VR cannot.
In short, VR changes your world in a self-contained bubble, while AR adds things into your existing world. This gives AR a distinct advantage when it comes to marketing yourself, your product and your service to other businesses. Before we examine this advantage in more detail, let’s look at how VR might be used for marketing.
VR Technology for Marketing
By transporting your customer into a new world, you can inspire, engage and impact their decisions. Some brands that use VR technology in their marketing include the following:
- Airlines, when selling their business class cabins, create virtual reality tours. Users wear headsets and ‘walk’ into the aircraft, before walking into their cabin where they ‘experience’ the space, workstations, meals and relaxation opportunities. They can close and open doors, change lighting, and watch an inflight movie.
- Food companies can present a fridge full of their products to customers. Pick up one of the items in the fridge, and you are transported to a world in which you see how it is manufactured. You feel the wind in your hair and walk through fields of crops.
- Auto manufacturers use VR to give would-be buyers the opportunity to test drive in the comfort of their own home. You choose where to drive – city or country – and get a ‘feel’ for the driving experience before travelling miles to a showroom.
Great applications for VR marketing, but for B2B I prefer AR.
Why Is AR better for Business Marketing?
If you are seeking an escape from the office and to avoid interruption, VR is for you. You become immersed in VR, and cut off from the real world. AR is the technology for you if you want to interact with your audience, show them what could be, and discuss opportunity in a smart and thoughtful way.
With AR, you don’t need to supply expensive kit. Your customers already own what you need them to have to interact with your AR – their smartphone.
A simple AR application allows a customer to see what their home would look like with new furniture. You can change designs, colours and sizes, and overlay them into your living room on your smartphone. An AR app like Houzz lets you overlay up to 10 million products (or use the scan option to choose your own product pictures) and view in 3D mode. You can see exactly what that new sofa would look like before you buy it, and so can the people in the room with you.
Imagine you’re a furniture salesman visiting a prospective customer. No more heavy, cumbersome catalogues. No more hours of discussion and persuasive selling. Take your tablet with you and select a piece together, overlay on the AR app, and view in 3D reality.
AR is closer and more common (and older) than you may think. The yellow ‘first down’ line on televised football games is an example of AR – and that has been used since the late 1990s. When you walk through a city you have never visited before using a GPS device, that’s AR technology at work.
Today, AR technology is used in car windshield displays, healthcare, safety applications, the oil and gas industry, tourism, and, of course, marketing.
AR’s Advantage in Content Marketing
The relevance of AR in content marketing is best demonstrated by the publishing world, and especially storybooks for children. A book series titled Supersaurs is set in a world where dinosaurs didn’t die out.
The Supersaurs app uses AR technology to allow the dinosaurs to roam in real landscapes, and then engages the child in a 50-game mission. And we all know how engaging video games can be. In this AR app, the child becomes an active participant. The AR technology adds value to the story and enhances the opportunity for learning.
Many of these elements are relevant to content marketing, which is taking over the world. Content that sells is valuable, informative and interesting. AR enhances the ability for it to be so. Apps like Supersaurs are proving AR’s capability to engage an audience – exactly what marketers need their content to do.
The best marketing strategies are those that are known to work. Borrow the AR strategy from publishing and watch your content marketing step up to the next level.
Do you need help to create your content marketing strategy? To find out more and discover how we help businesses grow, contact BlabberJax today.
In the meantime, tell us what you have found to be your biggest content creation challenges in the comments below. We’ll be happy to get in touch and help you find the solution.