Marketing is a hot testing ground for Virtual and Augmented Reality. But when will brands move from testing to strategic action? 2017 is the year when brands must integrate VR and AR into their marketing and event portfolio. But how? This is how to start:
- Research – If you think you know everything about VR and AR, you are mistaken. Innovation moves so fast that last week’s knowledge is out of date. Before you can think smartly about your VR and AR strategies, you need a plan to stay up to date with knowledge. Give someone on your team the task of preparing a bi-weekly presentation on what’s new in VR and AR. Make sure they include examples of how other brands successfully use these technologies. Then, host a team meeting to share knowledge, analyze examples, and discuss how trends and developing technologies could benefit your brand. Without baseline understanding of real-time VR and AR innovation, you will be planning blindfolded.
- Plan – Yes, it’s time to integrate VR and AR into your annual marketing plan. The prevailing approach to VR and AR has been to test and experiment in single campaigns. It’s no surprise that we are seeing a lot of singular successes (and failures). Brands talk about amazing 360˚ ads, immersive VR expo installations, or mind-blowing VR retail experiences. Great, VR and AR are working on a campaign level. Now what? Shift your mindset and plan for VR and AR across your marketing and event portfolio. As you look at the next twelve to eighteen months, ask yourself where VR and AR will fit. Where can you realize cost-savings? Where can you support your marketing objectives? Where can you increase sales? With a plan, you can be smart about engaging partners.
- Negotiate – Most brands have preferred suppliers for content – digital and social. The CMO (and procurement) expect suppliers to deliver more value across an annual spend. This is not rocket science. Brands would never pay single project pricing to an agency that supports a portfolio of projects. Why, then, do brands pay top dollar for VR campaigns? Please, stop wasting money. Pick a few VR/AR suppliers and negotiate deals across your marketing and event portfolio. If you do your research, you’ll be shocked at the cost savings. For example: most brands don’t know that few agencies own VR gear. They often rent expensive camera rigs, which inflates cost on a per project basis. If you have a portfolio view, gear costs are smartly managed across a portfolio. This is just one small example of how research and planning will help you negotiate.
- Measure – Here it comes, the M word. Don’t be fooled when self-proclaimed experts say, “VR and AR are too new, we can’t measure accurately yet.” This is nonsense. You can and must measure the success of your VR and AR initiatives. Why? Because these technologies are here to stay. They bring tremendous opportunity to outperform your existing marketing channels. Yes, you heard that right. These are the channels of the future and you must measure everything you do to understand exactly what works for your brand and why. Without this insight, you will fall behind.
- Think Beyond the 360˚ Ad- Finally, please challenge your team to apply “360-degree thinking” to the use of 360-degree technology. Yes, there are stunning examples of 360˚ ads. But is that the best we can do? When you plan your VR and AR spend, don’t just ask how you can apply these technologies to what you are already doing. VR and AR bring new possibilities to connect with audiences and create value. Are you considering how to use VR and AR in product development, training, education, gaming, simulation, or promotion? What about in recruiting, design, problem-solving, or engineering? Think beyond what you are doing today.
If you’re ready to move from testing and experimentation into strategic planning and execution, contact us.
Talk to us about leading a half-day deep dive into your VR and AR strategy to kick-start 2017. You’ll walk away ready to optimize existing spend and capture new opportunities to create value.