Uncharted Waters: Navigating Success in Mixed Reality Marketing

Jodi Schiller

November 27, 2017

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"AR is going to be as important as eating three meals a day, and once it's arrived, we will wonder how we ever lived without it, similar to how we feel about our phones." – Tim Cook

If Tim Cook is right—and the industry seems to be rapidly validating this sentiment—then to prepare, every brand needs to have an augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) strategy now.

But with a technology industry still so young, how are brands supposed to know where to start or how to succeed? Marketing managers approach us at New Reality Arts, interested and eager to dive in, but unclear about how to begin or what it would take to launch a successful AR/VR campaign.

Users will start expecting brands to have mixed reality experiences in 2018. The big money will show up in 2020. – Robert Scoble

Considering the urgent need for brands to enter this space in order to be adequately prepared for the near future, and considering the frequent requests for help we receive, we'd like to share some of the most important aspects to look for when diving into your first mixed reality marketing campaign.

Uncharted Waters? Kind Of

Unlike well-established industries or prior marketing channels, AR and VR are still big unknowns in terms of almost everything: best practices, distribution channels, ROI, etc. The truth is, you're embarking on a journey into a new industry where there is just not a lot of data yet. Bring your pioneering spirit! Success requires the courage to experiment, especially on the tail end with distribution, but potentially throughout. If someone promises you a guaranteed hit at the beginning, without allowing for the potentially extensive trial and error needed for this new industry, you should be suspicious.

That said, there's a difference between experimentation and a "shot in the dark." Intrepid engineers and designers have been exploring, experimenting, and learning what works for over four years. Software development has decades of well-regarded best practices in place for creating winning experiences. We also know a lot about best practices for creating a successful marketing campaign. A successful mixed reality campaign then needs to bring a historical understanding of the best practices of these fields together, along with a big dose of play, flexibility, and open-mindedness.

Systematic Approaches Guarantee Best Results

The utilization of systemic processes for ideation, development, and analysis is one of the most important aspects of any creative campaign. These processes enable us to get closer to flawless execution and successful repetition. Make sure that whatever company you work with has established an approach not just to the actual development of the experience, but to the whole engagement with you: your brand story, your marketing objectives, and most importantly, how you will measure success at the end of the project.

At the beginning of the process there should be an exploration into what success will look like and an understanding of how different technologies, experiences, devices, and approaches may or may not resonate effectively with your target market. What's the personality of your brand? What's the demographic of your audience? How tech-savvy are they? Where will they be looking for your experience? Is physical interaction a requirement for meeting your objectives, or is an emotional, experiential journey more powerful? These are just a few of the questions that will help point your campaign in the right direction before design and development begin.

After defining your goals, discovering which technology works best for your objectives, and ideating the best and most effective story and experience, whether AR, VR, or both, then it comes time to engage your development team. Through that process, we believe that high-touch high-communication is key.

Speak Clearly and Often, Listen Intently

Clear communication is good practice in any developmental project, but it's even more important when navigating novel waters. You need a partner company that commits to regular collaboration and learning. This relationship gives you the opportunity to course-correct as you go. Agile development practices and frequent user testing are particularly important in AR/VR projects. That means being open to making mistakes, hearing critical feedback, and applying what you learn to continually improve. When charting new territory, humility empowers excellence.

For Best Results: Never Give Up

When you're ready to release your project into the wild, your adventure continues into the realm of distribution and engagement. It's important to have reliable analytics built in so that you can accurately measure progress.

The best development partners commit to a successful campaign and continue to work with you on the tail-end of the project, tweaking and massaging distribution channels, approach, and measurements and ensuring the best possible results with the highest possible consumer engagement. They understand that your success is theirs. We're all learning together, and as partners, a policy of "never giving up" is the best approach both for immediate and long-term success.

Every campaign is an opportunity to learn more about what makes the most effective AR/VR strategy for your brand. The right partner will be engaged in helping you hone and discover best practices for your future efforts, not just focused on immediate gains for this one project.

Why Us?

At New Reality Arts, we embrace this philosophy and revel in the opportunity to work with clients who are eager to experiment and innovate in this exciting new world of Augmented and Virtual Reality marketing. When you're ready to embark on your next adventure, call us, and let's explore together.

Originally posted on New Reality Arts.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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