HOW EXPERIENTIAL ADVERTISING IS REDEFINING MARKETING
Virtual reality and augmented reality tech in experiential marketing can make a big difference in how a potential customer feels about a company.
Innovations in digital technology have given marketers more ways than ever to reach customers. That said, traditional internet advertising methods – like pop-up ads – can be intrusive and ineffective. Instead of giving an internet user reason to become a customer, this type of ad may in fact make the wrong impression. Research shows that 74% of social media users dislike when brands try to reach them via their feeds.
That’s why marketers are seeking ways to cultivate positive relationships with members of their target audience while leveraging technology in unique and interesting ways. Virtual reality and augmented reality tech are useful in this capacity. Instead of subjecting customers to obnoxious marketing tactics, they make it possible for them to enjoy a positive, branded experience. This can make a big difference in how a potential customer feels about a company.
THE NEW DIRECTION: EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING
Users don’t want ads to speak to them; they want ads to speak for them. Experiential marketing offers this.
Millennials and digital natives are particularly displeased with condescending marketing techniques that overtly treat them like financial prospects. For these customers, a wide range of media have been part of their lives for quite some time. These mediums are a natural aspect of their daily routines, and this age group doesn’t want advertisements pasted into them.
In other words, users don’t want ads to speak to them; they want ads to speak for them. Experiential marketing offers this.
As the name implies, experiential marketing involves organizing events for potential customers to participate in. These events feature experiences that attendees enjoy, while resonating with the organization’s overall brand. Refinery29’s “29Rooms” event is one example of this approach to marketing. Instead of selling goods and services directly to participants, the experience simply allowed friends to explore different works of art and cultural artifacts. It boosted brand awareness and made a positive impression on those in attendance, both effective ways to increase customer engagement.
THE ROLE OF VR AND AR
Brands are now looking to augmented and virtual reality to design experiential marketing campaigns that don’t require people to attend an event.
Of course, there are limits to experiential marketing. Only so many potential customers can actually attend any one event. While press coverage and social media posts about a function can help spread brand awareness, actually participating in it has a much deeper and more immediate impact on a person.
That’s why brands are now looking to augmented and virtual reality to design experiential marketing campaigns that don’t require people to attend an event.
For example, Ikea’s augmented reality app lets users superimpose images of furniture onto their surroundings, making it easier to determine whether they want an item while shopping online. Even if the user doesn’t make a purchase right away, this app still works as a powerful marketing tool. It seamlessly brings the experience of shopping at a brick-and-mortar Ikea store straight into a customer’s home.
Augmented and virtual reality can also give customers the chance to play dynamic, branded games. Marketers for The Walking Dead released an augmented reality game in which users insert virtual zombies into the world around them. This adds a degree of interactivity that makes the overall campaign more appealing.
Studies, surveys, and general research all indicate that younger customers want more of this type of advertising in the future. Brands across practically every industry should consider how they can leverage AR and VR tech to design campaigns accordingly.
By understanding what customers want, planning carefully, and partnering with the right developers, it’s possible to design a marketing campaign that pleases customers and stands out from the crowd.
Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working in China, she returned to New York City to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing (of course).