3 Reasons You Should Invest in Virtual Reality Right Now

Though it may seem like new technology, virtual reality has been trial-and-(a lot of)-error since the late 1950s. Sensorama, Virtual Boy, and a few other failed attempts later, 50+ years of research and development has led to Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, and other novel headsets predicted to set a groundbreaking precedent in the digital world.

You hear virtual reality and most likely imagine serious gamers strapping on large, pseudo-ski-goggles as they’re transported into a virtual game world. Gamers are a major source of VR consumers, but gaming just scratches the surface of what VR has to offer —You can kayak the Grand Canyon, experience life as a border patrol agent, or even tour that house you’ve been eyeing for the last few months. Industries such as real estate, education, and health care have started investing time and money into marketing campaigns that incorporate the use of virtual reality—and the ones that do it right brilliantly position their brand as first-in-class.

According to the IDC, global revenues for virtual reality are expected to grow from 5.2 billion dollars to 162 billion dollars just in the next four years. So while we can’t pinpoint every turn the VR trajectory will take, we can be absolutely sure that it’s going to trend up.

So strap on those oversized goggles and get ready for the ride. Here are three reasons you should invest in virtual reality right now:

1. You can deliver an unforgettable experience

VR redefines product experience. Rather than shoving a 15-second ad that the public can skip at the beginning of the video they actually want to watch, a VR marketing campaign gives users the opportunity to engage all of their senses in a virtual world tailored specifically to your brand and your product. Whether you’re selling shoes or cars, products or services, VR calls for involvement with the product in an innovative way that will make your brand stand out.

Merrell, a high-end adventure footwear company, takes thrill-seekers on a virtual hike, trekking through dangerous terrain and tall mountains. Consumers can see that this is the type of hard-core trekking they can expect to conquer from purchasing Merrell shoes—an adventure that will make buyers feel happier with their purchase choice.

Or take Volvo’s #VolvoReality platform using Google Cardboard. With full virtual reality in the form of an app on your smartphone, Volvo lets you rev the engine of their newest Volvo XC90, all from the comfort of, well, wherever you want.

VR presents an innovative, memorable experience of your product that allows marketers to earn the trust of a new market, while expanding the current one. Potential customers can dive headfirst into a product in an immersive and novel way that ultimately communicates the same idea about your brand. #Invest and incorporate VR into your marketing plan so that your customers can conduct their own product test, instead of relying on the word of an advertisement.

2. Or you can teleport buyers around the world

For companies dedicated to selling services rather than products, VR can bring to life what you offer in a way that online reviews can’t.

Rather than reading about or seeing 2D pictures of the lobby of a hotel, why not send potential guests there instead? Marriott’s new VR campaign has ability the to teleport users to preview their hotels around the world, before packing their suitcases. Not only can they tour the inside of a Marriott in an unforgettable 4D experience, but guests can also get a feel for the destination they are traveling to outside the hotel.

VR is also changing the real estate industry. Sotheby’s International Realty is giving buyers a chance to forgo blind purchasing or the plane ticket across the world by engaging buyers in a virtual tour of a potential home. Saving time, money, and decreasing purchase-anxiety, VR can teleport your market to share with them an inside-scoop of what you offer in a memorable and helpful experience.

3. Viewers can experience where their money goes

VR is not limited to companies selling a product or service. Nonprofits and charities can also benefit greatly from incorporating VR into their marketing plan. We all want to feel good about how we spend our money—whether that’s having a great consumer experience with a new iPhone or knowing that the dollar we donated this morning to helping the homeless actually helps the homeless. What if you could follow the exact path of each penny you donate? Tell the story of your brand’s mission in an unforgettable and transparent way.

Charity: water, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing clean water to those in need, decided to give donors an empathetic experience into the route their money takes from donation to fruition. Allowing donors to experience in real-time how their money is making a difference, charity: water transports donors to a third-world country using VR technology.

With this immersive teleportation experience, donors can see first-hand that a little goes a long way. And that a lot also goes a long way.

Sold on VR? Do it and do it well

While good marketing campaigns don’t have to make a deep cut in your budget, make sure that you’re providing the public with an innovative and, most important, a well-functioning platform. The last thing you want to do is give potential customers intense vertigo and a subsequent trip to the bathroom.

With that being said, it’s scary to invest a lot of time and money into an area that is still up-and-coming. But we can learn from these examples that if you do it and do it well, an impressive VR marketing campaign can take your brand to the next level. Because experiencing the thrill of the mountains, feeling the jolt of a new car, or seeing those in need of clean drinking water just might be what will make your brand truly unforgettable.

October 4, 2016
4 Brilliant Snapchat Strategies for Marketers
October 6, 2016
How to Succeed with Social Media Software
Emma Trapp is a Brand Marketing Intern at Spredfast. A proud UT Longhorn, Emma works with the Brand team to help curate content in an insightful, relevant way. Her job description does not include getting coffee, but does include drinking it.