Marketing is constantly changing - and brands must remain agile to keep up. New trends popup all the time, and the brands who are quick to adapt are often the most successful. However, there's a difference between jumping on the bandwagon to be part of something, and actually making it work for your business. Barriers to entry are often a major roadblock for startups when it comes to marketing, which is why many startups may not consider virtual reality (VR) as an option.
The VR market is projected to hit $120 billion by 2020. Sure, there are still some kinks to work out in the technology, but many major brands, including Coca-Cola, McDonald's and IKEA, are already including it in their marketing strategy. Startups obviously don't have the capital Fortune 500 brands have available, but that doesn't mean they can't also take steps to capitalize on the trend.
Create Immersive Video Experiences
We know video has to be part of startup's marketing strategies these days with tons of research supporting the medium's effectiveness at increasing conversion rates and likelihood of making a purchase. But, for many startups, the idea of creating a video is daunting, let alone one that incorporates VR. That's where video animation companies like The Draw Shop come into play and connect the dots between your brand's story, video and VR technology to create an immersive video experience for your customers.
Creating animated videos gives you video that works on your website and social media platforms optimizing your cross-channel marketing strategies. Having that video be 360-degrees allows viewers to feel as though they are inside the video, experiencing everything live and first-hand. Plus, 360 videos are still in their infancy, meaning they catch more attention than a typical video does.
Create VR Games and Apps
Games are a great way to foster customer engagement, used by both big and small businesses alike. Think about how Disney has launched more than just merchandise to accompany all their major film releases - beyond the movie and toys there are often online and video games and more recently apps released with them.
Just because your company hasn't reached Disney status doesn't mean you can't mimic what they're doing to provide a better experience for your customers. Launch a game with your branding like McDonald's did with Slope Stars, or create a game dedicated to your brand like IKEA. (You can cook their Swedish meatballs in the VR kitchen. How cool is that?!)
If a game isn't your thing, it's important to remember, people spend 90% of their mobile time in apps. Automotive dealerships can allow customers to take tours of the showroom and test drive vehicles before coming in. Real estate agents can take virtual home tours to an all new level - making the potential buyers feel like they're home without ever leaving their own living rooms.
Yes, hiring a company to create a VR game or an app will cost some money, but you can shop around, as there are quite a few players in the market available to help you.
Add VR Elements to Your Packaging
If you're using a cardboard box for your packaging, why not make it so that customers can convert the box into a pair of VR glasses when they're finished? Budweiser, Coca-Cola, and McDonald's successfully launched projects like this with success.
If you want to take a different route, you could add elements to the packaging to integrate VR. For instance, include a QR code to take your customers to a VR experience that enhances their overall impression of the product or brand.
Create a 3D Shopping Experience
Thanks to VR, you can carry a virtually unlimited inventory, without the need to physically stock everything. How many times have you as a customer, seen something online you wanted to take a closer look at in person, then visited your local store only to find that it wasn't in stock? Frustrating, right? With a VR shopping experience, you no longer have to suffer that fate, and your customers won't either. Simply explore the items you want to learn more about, without physically setting eyes on them.
Brand Google Cardboard for Your Business
Google Cardboard is among the most popular and most affordable VR headset options available - because you can either buy it online, or download the templates and build it yourself. Since its launch in 2014, Google has shipped more than 10 million headsets.
There are a number of manufacturers to choose from and while it may seem like there are too many options, this helps you as a startup. Pricing will vary based on the quality, material, colors, and quantity, so if you're on a tight budget, you can start small and scale up as cash flow allows.
This is a great way to cash in on the VR trend without needing to produce content, but if you're already producing VR content for your audience, add branded viewers for an even better brand experience.
VR is still in its early stages, but as we see it advance, we'll see more businesses jump aboard Considering VR can also provide real-time data collection and an estimated 43 million people were actively using the technology in some way as of June 2016, there's no reason not to attempt to embrace it. Plus, if you notice things aren't going your way, you can swiftly make corrections digitally much faster than you could with other platforms.