virtual reality in marketing

Virtual reality (VR) is literally a reality now.

Once an out-of-reach technology, VR is now an out-of-the-box technology—accessible by consumers and brands alike. From Oculus Rift to smartphone-powered headsets, anyone can immerse themselves and others into a virtual world.

Marketers, who are responsible for driving the customer experience, stand to make huge gains with VR campaigns. In fact, 30% of Forbes Global 2000 consumer-facing companies will experiment with augmented and virtual reality this year. But if you’re a B2B organization, don’t write yourself off just yet. All brands can partake.

Virtual Reality Extends to Different Industries

If you’re a tech geek, it’s likely that you’ve already toyed around with virtual reality. Uses for it are everywhere—video games, home improvement, and shopping. Even the beloved Golden State Warriors looked to VR when they were pursuing Kevin Durant. They created a custom experience to show Durant what it was like to be on the Warriors team—from being in the locker room, to practicing, to walking out to a game in the tunnel. While Kevin was ultimately more interested in hearing from his potential teammates, the fact that the Warriors could offer him this experience is incredible. And it only reiterates the importance of continuing to engage with your prospects and customers from one touchpoint to the next—leading up to, during, and after a VR experience.

Of course, creating custom virtual reality experiences like this isn’t feasible for every brand. That doesn’t mean you should overlook the potential of VR, even if you’re marketing to other businesses. Driving registrations for an upcoming event? Give people a sneak peek and allow them to walk through the event halls, taking in all the people, sounds, and fun activities. Launching a new product? Show your prospects how much faster their peers are completing their day-to-day responsibilities, whizzing through their workload at record speed. If you can conceptualize an experience, you can create it with virtual reality. In other words, if you can dream it, you can create it (and let your audience interact with it) with virtual reality.

We’re Wired to Respond

The power of virtual reality isn’t just in the technology. Our brains are wired to be influenced by VR experiences, which appeal to the three parts of the brain that are responsible for our perceptions and reaction: neocortex (higher-level thinking), limbic system (emotion, behavior, motivation), and reptilian brain (primitive instincts). While content is high and mighty when it comes to engagement, you can’t always appeal to all three of these categories at the same time. But by giving your audience a virtual experience, you can leverage these core functions to nudge them to take the next desired action. Instead of just hearing things, your prospects and customers things can see and feel them.

To drive the power of virtual reality home, we’ve created this gifographic Virtual Reality: A Fresh Perspective for Marketers to show you the difference a more immersive experience can make.

Looking for other ways to employ forward-thinking tactics and technologies? Check out our 2017 Marketing Predictions SlidesShare.