Leading High Performing Remote Teams
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In this course, you’ll learn how compelling blogs, videos, podcasts, and other media can reach customers and drive sales. You’ll also learn steps for creating an effective content marketing plan, and some important ways to measure its impact and success.
Content marketing is a essential digital marketing strategy for companies looking to provide relevant and useful information to support your community and attract new customers.
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Sustainable Innovation in Times of Disruption: Choices for a Better Society
There are opportunities for progress all around us. The key is to innovate on these opportunities sustainably.
To help identify most effective path forward, you'll need to gain a global perspective to these challenges in an open discussion. How can Japan and the world take action to create a more sustainable, innovative world? Where do you fit in?
It's time to find out.
Social Media & Digital Communications: Impact on Global Public Opinion
Social and digital media have dominated the communications industry for decades. But it's no secret that social media has the power to sway public opinion, and the way in which many companies use these platforms could be seen as manipulative.
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CAGE Distance Framework
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Strategy: Creating Value Inside Your Company
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Basic Accounting: Financial Analysis
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Leadership with Passion through Kokorozashi
The key ingredient to success? Passion.
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Augmented reality and virtual reality have already come a long way in the past few years. And as more and more companies are adopting the technology, what does this mean for marketers? How can marketing professionals make the most of this tech to reach their target audience? What form could virtual reality marketing take?
To answer these questions, let’s clarify some lingo first. What are the differences between augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR)?
Know Your Realities
AR, MR, and VR all simulate part or all of our environment. The differences between them lie in the level of integration with real-world environments and the level of interaction.
- VR creates a fully computer-generated environment independent of the real world.
- AR projects digital information and objects onto a physical environment.
- MR takes AR one step further, linking computer-generated objects to real-world objects and enabling interaction.
How real AR/VR feels depends on how well a simulation matches the expectations of our senses. This is where there have been the most dramatic advancements in recent years, thanks to increased computing power and high-resolution screens.
Current systems allow the user to physically move within an artificial environment (called six degrees of freedom) instead of holding a static point of view. This is what provides the sensation of “being there.” Spatial audio, haptic feedback, and other sensory stimulations enhance that sensation—the more our senses are manipulated, the more real the experience feels.
It’s also worth noting that AR/VR is not limited to goggles. Digital mirrors project objects over our own reflection, and holographic tools or interactive projections augment the real world. 5G, an upcoming ultra-fast mobile data transfer technology, will make such experiences accessible everywhere.
But what does all that mean for marketing?
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Marketing Opportunities
While the global VR/AR market was estimated at $27 billion USD in 2018, it’s forecast to grow to $209 billion USD in the next 4 years. Thousands of applications across platforms are already available within the consumer space alone. New devices will be released by Microsoft, Google, Apple, Oculus, HTC, and others in early 2021.
But those marketing the technology aren’t the only marketers who will benefit.
Marketers dream of engaging people with their brands and products, and then making those people come back for more. AR/VR makes this dream . . . well, a reality. The technology can create experiences without limits. For marketeers, this holds several advantages.
Bring your brand’s reality to life
In AR/VR you can create literally without limits: scale the universe, zoom down to atomic level, time travel. It’s the ultimate canvas to bring your brand to life and make your brand vision a (virtual) reality. IKEA’s Place app lets you project IKEA furniture into your living room to see if it will fit and explore how it will look. In other words, you experience the brand and product right within your home.
Talk to the senses
The more senses AR/VR engages, the more immersive the experience becomes. Augmented reality marketing, for example, could let people see, hear, feel, taste, and smell your brand’s reality. You can make them a part of it. Merrell’s Trailscape enhanced a VR outdoor walk with tactile elements like rope walkways and wooden planks to make the experience feel more real—all with the end game of showing what a hiking shoe could handle.
Reach out at scale
Once an AR/VR application is created, it’s applicable on a global scale. Every modern smartphone can run AR/VR applications, making every smartphone owner a potential user. Pokémon GO lets players “hunt” virtual creatures projected into the real world through a smartphone camera. The app has been downloaded more than a billion times globally, generating more than $3 billion USD as of October 2019.
Cheaper than the real thing
AR/VR applications often outlive physical experiences—they also create them at less cost. LEGO Wear’s virtual store has a physical location in London where people shop via Snapchat. Given the possibilities of AR/VR, it’s no surprise a visit there might leave a much stronger, more positive impression (and provide better ROI) than the physical experience of trying on clothes.
Try before you buy—from anywhere
AR/VR lets the user experience products and services remotely before purchasing the real thing. The customer can explore options from anywhere, which creates confidence in purchase decisions, increases conversion, and reduces returns. Volvo’s VR test drive app lets you experience driving the Volvo XC90 from the comfort of your home, at a time of your convenience.
Vast application potential
Whether B2C, B2B, or internal communications, AR/VR can help in any situation where a first-hand experience would be beneficial, but isn’t currently possible (say, in a pandemic). It can be applied to anything, from education to product demonstrations to sales pitches. Fortnite—a multiplayer online video game—hosted a virtual concert in April with the rapper Travis Scott that attracted over twelve million virtual concert goers.
New Realities Here to Stay
AR/VR hardware is becoming cheaper and better, and major platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, and Tiktok now support it. Mainstream adaptation is just around the corner.
Here are some aspects marketers might want to consider as they approach implementing AR/VR into their marketing plans:
New medium, new rules
Like the transition from TV to the internet, AR and VR are both new and very powerful, so it’s no surprise they come with new rules of engagement to explore. Besides practical considerations (how do you get people to turn their head without telling them?), we’ll need a new class of ideas to utilize the advantages to the fullest.
Explore and learn
There are myriad ways AR/VR can support your marketing efforts. Now is a good time to start exploring. The question is not if, but when you find the best way to utilize AR/VR’s benefits for your brand. The earlier you start, the earlier you will find an answer.
AR/VR should be part of your digital marketing strategy to maximize the value of each contact point and create continuous interactions. It requires different departments (digital, social, event, IT, data, etc.) to collaborate, so this is another area you should get started sooner, rather than later.
Find a technology partner
There is a large, established AR/VR community out there that knows how to turn your ideas into (virtual) reality. A good starting point is the International VR/AR Association, which offers news, information, and training on AR/VR, as well as an industry directory.
How to Prepare for Marketing in Simulated Reality
So back to the questions at hand: Has VR/AR evolved beyond a gimmick? And should marketeers be using it more?
The short answer is that the technology is getting there, so you should be, too.
AR/VR is becoming an important asset for the marketer’s toolbox, offering highly immersive and engaging experiences. To fully leverage the potential, you’ll need collaboration across departments, integration into other marketing activities, and exploration of the possibilities. AR/VR’s future is bright—and already much more real than the name suggests!