What is augmented reality?
It is an interactive component of a marketing program. It provides real interaction between potential customers that normally utilizes a smartphone app and a physical, real-world, tangible piece of the product. You point the phone at the product, startup the app, and some very cool things happen.
What are some examples?
Imagine opening a magazine and seeing an ad for a shoe company. The print ad shows a footprint in mud and at the top of the ad there are instructions for finding and downloading the app. When you open the app and point it at the ad, suddenly a 3D image of a boot appears in the footprint. When you move the phone forward, the image gets bigger and zooms in on one part of the boot. You can turn the ad in the magazine around and you see all sides of the boot. If you don’t like that boot, you can swipe the image in your phone and see a different style or a shoe. You can also touch part of the screen and be taken to where you can order the shoe you want.
Imagine a bottle of ketchup sitting on your counter. You open the app and point it at the bottle and suddenly the image of a recipe book, attached to the bottle, appears on the phone’s screen. You move the phone around and the image moves and you flip through the book by swiping the pages with your finger on the phone.
Imagine opening an IKEA catalog and seeing a page full of beds. In the upper corner of the page is one particular bed that has a symbol next to it. You open the IKEA app and point your phone at that bed and now you have a 3D image of the bed that appears to be coming right out of the page. You can see all sides of the bed and touch the screen to open the drawers and see other aspects of the bed.
Imagine a container of ice cream sitting on your counter. Open an app and point it at the container and on your smartphone screen what looks like a holographic image of a man playing the cello appears. Add another carton of the same brand of ice cream, and now a man playing the violin appears and joins in with the first holographic image.
These are just a few of the real life examples of augmented reality being used today.
Does it work?
It depends on what you want to do. There is some debate as to whether or not augmented reality marketing leads to increased sales. The fact is that the technology is too new, and that can be a real plus. Now is the time to get in on this idea when it’s new, experimental and still contains that “wow” factor. Some of the ads have a direct way to then buy the product and some are just fun and create a coolness factor that gets affixed to the brand.
Should I put all of my eggs into this basket?
Definitely not! There is no one saying that all other methods of marketing should be dropped in favor of this. In fact, if you re-read the examples above then you see that it is just one component of an existing plan. Print ads enhanced with augmented reality, for example. A well-designed package that is enhanced with augmented reality is another. However, to seem on the cutting edge, augmented reality is something that might be a good component of your existing marketing plan.
What is the future of augmented reality?
It seems that the sky is the limit. There are some companies making baby steps into this form of marketing, but the industry seems ready to explode. The advances in what can be done are expanding literally every day as more apps and technology is created. Interactive ads and packaging may be what augmented reality marketing looks like today, but who knows what may be there tomorrow?
You should have a base of what is already working. You need a quality website. You need to be on social media. You need to monitor your online reputation and respond accordingly. However, you may now want to consider this as a way to take you to the next level.
Talk to an expert. You need to consider whether or not your company, services or products are conducive to augmented reality marketing. If it is, then start a plan that incorporates it and find the professionals who can help you do it successfully. If you are a company that thinks your products and services lend themselves to this technology, get started now. Make an impact and stay ahead of the curve. To learn more how to utilize this new technology for your business, contact Augment Marketing 567.246.1000.