XR Marketing in a Post-pandemic World

Image Credit: ArchiVIZ / Adobe Stock

It may seem ambitious. Using the term post-pandemic. But in spite of the bumps in the road, experienced planners know that (as far as the big picture is concerned) we’re still nearing the finish line of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if the goal posts have moved a couple of times. So, you should still be crafting a post-pandemic marketing plan. Which will be well-served by including XR Marketing strategies. Because the world has changed. And it’s not going back.

“Already, nearly a third of consumers (32 percent) use AR apps, most frequently for gaming and social media. However, analysts such as IDC expect healthy growth in consumer AR/VR spending to deliver a five-year CAGR of just over .” — IBM Institute for Business Value

Keep reading for XR Marketing ideas and expertise to help you build a plan with tools that work hard, innovate, and impress … to get the results you need for the long run.

We’re looking at strategies that are both effective and affordable, keeping altered lifestyles and budgets in mind. In a world where you have fewer marketing dollars to spend — and your customers have less disposable income — you simply can’t afford to get it wrong.

XR Marketing for YOUR Industry

When we talk about XR Marketing, we’re really talking about using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as tools in your marketing toolkit. They have the power to both reach new customers and to impress existing customers. When done properly, XR Marketing is more intimate and feels less sales-y than traditional advertising. And that’s what contemporary marketing is all about.

For boutiques, designers, restaurants, and consumables, campaigns that include Augmented Reality content are ideal.

AR Marketing virtually places products literally into your customers’ hands. Or in their homes. Without contact, wear and tear, wasted samples, or costly returns. The magic of try-before-you-buy has the customer weighing options and considering products as cost-effectively as possible.

For entertainment providers, local services, tour operators, and hospitality providers, promotional campaigns that include Virtual Reality content are a great fit.

VR Marketing has the immersive element to make your product or service seem real, even when you can’t see customers in person. For many businesses, VR will even evolve to be a product itself. Imagine being the destination resort that offers loyal VIP customers a free virtual vacation to tide them over in the off-season.

AR & VR Marketing Strategies YOU Can Use

Let’s get specific with examples of XR Marketing that we’ve seen wowing customers and driving sales. The videos below are just a few of the applications we recommend and can help you implement for your own products and services.

AR: Try Before You Buy & Smart Packaging

Clever uses of technology like AR product trials and packaging that communicates through AR were already becoming mainstream when the pandemic hit. So, we think that the adoption seen, both at home and in contactless retail environments, won’t be reversed when health and safety restrictions are eased permanently.

For that matter, we believe (or at least, we hope) that many of the health and safety standards technology has improved over the last couple of years will be here to stay regardless of what’s mandated.

VR: Interactive Ads & Sponsored Content

If you’re already using VR at home yourself, you know that headsets are used for watching movies as well as playing games. Placing ads for goods, services, and other VR content between immersive movies or episodes is a natural fit, already in line with user expectations.

Ads are going to be expected between games as well, particularly in free-to-play content. We also expect to see sponsored content and product placement in the gameplay itself. And the more sophisticated and thoughtful these ads are, the better they’ll be received.

Opportunities to advertise inside immersive experiences certainly redefine the term ‘captive audience’, but this content should be crafted carefully all the same. Promotional images will always be better received when they add value and don’t feel like ads.

You can tell quickly in the second video that the presenter isn’t excited about the idea of ads in his VR content. So, remember that XR Marketing must still be a welcome experience to succeed. Best handled by immersive content AND marketing experts.

XR Marketing Now & Tomorrow

Depending on where you are in your digital marketing journey, Extended Reality products may seem like something out of a science fiction movie. Even with the concrete examples above, or what you keep hearing about day to day. Or maybe you think they’re not a realistic option at the moment. We’re here to confirm that XR Marketing is happening now. It isn’t just realistic, it’s practical. And missing the boat today just means that you’ll have more catching up to do tomorrow.

Transition from traditional — potentially even dated — tactics now, and you’re laying the foundation for marketing tools that will serve you for years to come. AR & VR Marketing technology has stabilized somewhat (as much as developing technology can) in terms of hardware. While still increasing adoption on the part of consumers every day.

Reviewing Marketing Strategies that DID Work

If you’re new to XR Marketing, you might be looking at the tools above and thinking about how they’re not for you, at least not now. Maybe you’ve been dragging your heels on the whole AR & VR Marketing thing, coming up with excuses not to get involved — we understand, and we sympathize. Change can be frustrating, more so when you had a system that worked well, that you liked and knew the workings of, through and through.

In a tried and tested business that’s come a long way since opening its doors, the prospect of overhauling even one area might be daunting. Particularly after coming through a bumpy pandemic. Clearly, you’ve had some marketing success in the past and you might be able to limp along with your status quo a little longer. But are you delighted at your numbers, right now? Or is it time to boost traffic (and your bottom line) back above the fold so you can get resume the dream of planning for a healthy future?

AR & VR Tools Created with Your Team & New Experts

Have you got a marketing rockstar on your team? Someone that helped you get to where you are now, through pure creative magic and hands-on ingenuity? Maybe that person is you. But results from your go-to strategies, be they digital, social, printed, personal, or any combination, are all starting to dwindle for no discernable reason.

The good news is that you can still harness that promotional know-how while embracing new technology. It could be time for a new form of fusion. Working with a third-party specialist is a fantastic alternative to making staff changes, be that replacing a long-term leader or adding a fresh, yet unproven, new face to your payroll.

Ask a team of marketing savvy tech experts to work with your marketing rockstar for results you can take to the bank, now, next year, and as technology continues to evolve in the future.

XR Marketing for Eco-friendly Plans

Now that we are in an age where almost every discussion includes the question, “Is this good for the environment?” marketing professionals need to come to meetings armed with answers.

Choosing AR & VR Marketing for new campaigns reduces the need to print, be it for magazines or mailouts, billboards or signage. Everything you produce digitally instead of physically is one less piece of waste in our world.

Yes, digital items indeed have a carbon footprint. Things that exist virtually consume energy. However, we would argue that the environmental impact of digital marketing is still far lower than traditional collateral.

We can also answer specific questions as they arise, either joining you for a virtual meeting or delivering data you can relate to higher-ups in your own words. Our role can be as visible or invisible as you need, tailored to the products (and personalities) of your unique organization.

Marketing That Doesn’t Feel Pushy

In addition to environmental and contact issues, most of us have already been blocking traditional printed (and online banner ads) from our peripheral vision for many years, regardless of a need for physical contact.

XR Marketing products can be different in that a piece of marketing collateral can be a form of entertainment, or an experience while generating interest in a product or service. And immersive images will achieve brand recognition regardless of an immediate boost to sales.

Think of creating content that either engages as an activity or solves a problem as a tool. The example of lipstick above was especially important at the height of the pandemic; an industry that was suffering due to mask mandates and an audience that deeply missed a product.

Picture women around the world ordering lipstick sight unseen, with more confidence than ever, to wear in front of a mirror, simply to feel a bit better for a moment. Not exactly the traditional use of the product. But a powerful image nevertheless.

AR & VR in a Contactless World

Another element to keep in mind when you think about how you’ll market your products is the public’s reluctance to touch things going forward. Will you ever pick up a strange magazine in a waiting room again? Will you avoid public spaces where signs and billboards are most common?

If you watched the AR makeup demo video above, consider that in-store kiosk as an indicator of things to come in shops going forward. Even so, an interactive kiosk may still be off-putting to someone who doesn’t want to share a surface with strangers at all.

That lipstick try-on tool will need to jointly be offered by the brand and or retailer as an app for home users. Just as the billboards and signs of the future will be replicated in immersive content as well as on public transit and roadside urban installations.

Experts in XR Marketing & More

At Stambol, we speak the language of new marketing. We’re watching every trend, not just in XR Marketing, but in the world of technology as a whole. When a new headset or a new opportunity to create branded content arises, we have our collective eyes on it.

Ask our experienced team what your AR & VR Marketing can and should look like this fall, and going forward. We’re here to help you succeed today and plan for tomorrow.

Originally published at https://www.stambol.com on August 30, 2021.

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Christine Hart

Christine Hart

Copywriter. Novelist. Metalsmith. Mom.

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