Virtual reality isn’t anything new. The headset version we think of when we hear the acronym, VR, is only now entering the mainstream. With Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift all coming out over the next few months, and all at a similar price point to a cheap Android phone, the chances of VR going mainstream are pretty high. Hell, if you don’t even have enough dollar for any of these, there’s always Google Cardboard!
There’ll be those who say it won’t go mainstream, that it is just a fad and that we marketers don’t need to worry about the technology. I remember the same arguments being spouted about social media, and what I’ve learned from the experience is that ignoring these people works very well in your favour. As those who say it’s no big trend lag behind, those who embrace it will become the VR marketing experts, and will rise to the top.
So my question is, will marketers make the same mistakes as before? There are many who are still getting to grips with social media. There are brands with shocking websites, still, in 2016! The lack of innovation within the industry can often be shocking, and it takes marketing professionals with guts and vision to lead the way. Just think, had everyone believed in social media from the beginning, the Chris Brogans of the world may not have become such celebrities (in marketing circles) as they have.
We’re hoping that, this time around, people realise the opportunities VR can offer. And what are these? Imagine experiencing a hotel before stepping one foot out of your door; being given the first person view of the Red Bull racer; or shopping on Amazon by literally walking through the aisles of the virtual Amazon department store (“would you like to try this drone, sir?”). The new marketing experience won’t be just words or promises of a great product, it will be near-physical proof of said product – the closest way of experiencing something before getting the real thing. VR will accelerate customers through the marketing funnel.
The possibilities really are endless with VR. Any experience can be created. When marketing is currently in a state where the best that most can do is offer native ads, VR is going to be a breath of fresh air. Don’t be that marketer who says it’s a fad. Take a chance and innovate. You may just become the next Brogan.