Believe it or not, virtual reality (VR) has been around for quite a few years. So, why are we only hearing about it now? It’s as simple as timing. Consumers are finally ready to give it a try, and oh boy are they ready. You may be aware that these past few years a variety of companies have been experimenting with VR with much success, but none like Niantic’s. No one expected the mind-blowing success of PokemonGo, which has become somewhat a way of life. Now that millions of consumers around the world have accepted and integrated VR in their everyday life, what’s next?
With the right execution, VR can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool. Not only is it increasingly more difficult to grab the attention of consumers, and thanks to their ever-shrinking attention spans it is also a struggle to retain it as well. But with VR, you get to have the rare gift of a consumer’s undivided attention as they are fully immersed into another reality, and amazingly not checking to see if they got any new notifications.
As their senses are being stimulated and emotions running high, they are much more likely to remember their experience if done right, hopefully with fondness. A good experience is practically the keystone of marketing, and impactful experience, like VR, almost always inspires brand loyalty.
Should you use VR?
Sure, marketing that triggers emotions is the most effective, and brand loyalty is the best, but is VR appropriate for your target market? Having a solid list of pros, it raises the question of whether it outweighs the cons?
At the moment the most concerning cons of using VR are cost and accessibility. Depending on the execution, VR can easily exclude those who do not have access to the required technology. And as you can imagine, the technology that goes into creating a virtual reality does not come cheap. However, many technology experts believe there is good news on the horizon. They believe that as VR becomes more mainstream, the costs of it will come down, making it affordable for companies and consumers alike.
Virtual Reality Trailblazers
As companies are starting to experiment in the world of VR, we naturally notice a few trends. It seems that those who saw the most success were marketing campaigns that used VR to persuade consumers to try a product or service. The Thomas Cook travel agency in the U.K. experienced increased travel revenue of 190% when they used VR to promote trips to New York via helicopter rides. Not too shabby.
Volvo also experienced a similar success when they launched Volvo Reality, the first-ever VR test drive. By placing consumers in the driver’s seat of the coveted Volvo XC90, Volvo Reality reached an impressive 238 million media impressions.
Helicopter and new car rides sound great, but trial runs aren’t the only VR campaigns that are making an impact. Companies like Hugo Boss and Absolut Vodka are creating a lot of buzz by giving people the opportunity to attend real-world events virtually. And most recently, fans of the Olympics games that can’t afford the money or time to travel Rio have the chance to experience the games, VR headset required.