Many people think of gaming or entertainment when they hear the term virtual reality (VR). But the technology offers numerous practical applications in marketing and advertising.
With virtual reality, companies can:
- Deliver information in a new, engaging way.
- Create different experiences for customers.
- Place users in otherwise inaccessible situations or locations.
In the past, consumers could only read about your company’s latest technology or watch a product video about it. With virtual reality, they can interact with your product in an immersive environment that allows them to learn and experience it in totally new ways. Immersive learning is not only more interesting for a user, but more memorable too.
Fortunately, the ability to create this type of content or experience is becoming more affordable and accessible. VR is more practical and its use is growing among marketing teams. According to HubSpot, by 2020:
- The economic impact of virtual and augmented reality is predicted to reach $29.5 billion.
- The number of virtual reality headsets sold is predicted to reach 82 million, up 1,507% over the past three years.
Using virtual reality in marketing and advertising
Business-to-consumer (B2C) companies are using virtual reality for entertainment and awareness. They want consumers to engage with their brand in a fun way. Business-to-business (B2B) companies can also use virtual reality for “fun” marketing and advertising projects, but the technology delivers more practical uses as well.
In the past, a consumer testing a manufacturer’s latest product needed to stand next to the machine to get a better understanding of its size. In a VR environment, that same consumer could put on a pair of VR glasses in the comfort of their office and still be able to experience the size of the machine. VR is also a great option for product testing or training when safety is a factor.
Two Rivers Marketing has partnered with Studio Iowa to create a virtual reality training program for one of our client partners. The client’s traditional training video showed how to take a piece of equipment apart and put it back together. It was informative but not immersive — a good candidate for improvements using virtual reality.
With VR technology, users can now virtually take apart and put back together the equipment without traveling to the manufacturer’s plant or a showroom. The VR experience will be used at tradeshows where space for large manufactured equipment is limited. With a VR headset, users can get inside the equipment, try it out and get a sense of how to operate it. A memorable immersive experience takes users somewhere they couldn’t go otherwise.
Virtual reality advancements
There are several types of virtual reality headsets that provide different experiences.
There are two major classes of VR head-mounted displays. One class provides about as much power as a standard smartphone. These are designed for casual gaming in the mass market.
Stepping up from this consumer-grade hardware is a class of enterprise-grade hardware. These headsets offer better clarity, better motion tracking, and easier setup — a better experience for the user.
Manufacturers are also developing wireless headsets that offer more mobility. But wireless headsets typically offer slower graphics, refresh rates and capabilities.
The future of immersive marketing
As you and your team begin planning for 2020 and beyond, start thinking about ways your brand could offer immersive experiences. Whether for tradeshows, showrooms, sales kits, or in-person events, virtual reality gives you more interactive options than ever before. Two Rivers Marketing and Studio Iowa can help you get started.