Even just five years ago, the idea of virtual reality (VR) experiences and gear were within the realm of science fiction. But we are now within the beginning of a new age of technology, with companies producing the first round of VR headsets and already planning how to improve for the future.
While there are many naysayers to the technology, it’s becoming extremely clear that it’s here to stay. With companies like Facebook, Google, Samsung, and Sony all investing in the technology, it’s going to be a part of our lives. Instead of being left behind and missing out, you need to prepare your marketing for VR. Planning ahead can ensure that your strategies are prepared for the large scale adoption of this new platform, so here are some tips to help.
The Purpose of VR
Before you can market with something, you need to first understand it. The purpose and appeal of VR is how it can immerse a person into new experiences. By simply putting on a headset, a person can be teleported to outer space, a calm beach, or the middle of a war zone. It acts as an escape and a way to provide new experiences in a virtual scenario.
As it stands currently, there are two different markets of VR, low cost and high cost. The upper level VR is used almost exclusively for video games and require high-end PCs to run. The lower end VR can play some lower end games, but is mostly used for 360 degree videos or simple VR experiences. It’s important to understand the difference between the two when creating VR content and the markets that go along with each grouping.
Understanding these markets as they stand and how they can grow should be your first step before jumping in. A large majority of early VR adopters are tech enthusiasts and video gamers, but this will change as the technology becomes more affordable and accessible.
Powerful Content Marketing
A major barrier for marketers is controlling the environment your target market is in. With things like blog posts, videos, or anything really, the world is around them. It’s full of distractions to pull their attention away, but VR can let you overcome this barrier. If you can get them looking at your VR content, you control the entire environment. Everything they see and hear is in your power, so make sure your content is amazing.
Remember the attraction of VR is immersion. Nothing kills that faster than ads or blatant marketing. This means that you need to focus on great content and a unique VR experience. If you want someone in the right mindset before the sales pitch or to experience something specific for your buyer’s journey, VR content can do that.
The important part is using VR effectively and wisely. To find out what works best for your audience, you will need to cautiously experiment with content and then look at your data. Every business decision should be based on analytics, and VR is able to give you even more data than any other platform. Not only are you able to see how many people watch your content, you can see what they are looking at, what they are doing if it’s interactive and even somewhat how they reacted to important parts of the experience.
Engaging Social Experiences
Social media is all about people sharing their thoughts, emotions and life experiences. VR can flourish there. Already, companies are filming events with 360 degree cameras so people can feel like they are in the middle of the action. On Facebook, people can watch these videos by using smartphones and moving them around or by placing them in VR headsets for a more immersive experience.
As you look into your future social media plans, VR needs to be accounted for. More platforms will adopt it overtime and utilize the tech in their own unique ways. The main emphasis with VR on social media will be letting people into another’s life. We’ve already seen the appeal of this with adventurous people strapping on GoPros to their bodies and giving people a first person view of the experience. VR will only enhance that. As people scroll through their VR Facebook and come across videos of such activities, they’ll insert themselves into new experiences.
That’s what you need to do. You want to provide these experiences in connection to your branding. On social media, they won’t want an “experience” that’s basically a sales pitch for your product. A great example of this is Red Bull and the video content they produce. Their brand is connected to extreme sports so their 360 degree videos are always people doing extreme things.
Closing More Sales
VR makes for a wonderful sales tool in a variety of situations. A major issue with purchasing anything online is the inability to see it in person. It’s very hard to get a good sense of how large something is, the quality of it, or how it works. It’s possible to build VR models of your products and let consumers see them in a more 3D space. This can help alleviate consumer fears and encourage them to buying it.
VR can also help in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey for service industries too. Having consumers take a VR tour of your facilities can connect them with your business and show them what you have to offer. You could even design sales experiences where you can demonstrate the value of your service or product while a sales associate pitches to your consumer. This will connect consumers to your location and build a stronger relationship with them.
As VR tech becomes more normal, many marketing teams are going to struggle to integrate it in their campaigns. The biggest mistake you can make is to treat it just like video content or try to place ads in VR experiences. Remember that people will use VR for experiences, not just for entertainment.
What are your thoughts on VR? How is it going to impact your marketing plans? Let us know in the comments below.