Für drei Monate unterstützte Alexander Bragan unser Agentur-Team. Alexander studiert in den U.S.A. Internationale Politik und Philosophie. Im folgenden Blogpost beleuchtete er die Möglichkeiten und Auswirkungen von Virtual Reality auf B2B Marketing. Mit überraschenden Erkenntnissen, lesen Sie selbst.
As B2B marketers, our goal is to create a moment of pure, unfettered communication between content and its viewer. Ideally, you want whoever is looking at your B2B content to be so enraptured that whatever you’re selling, whether it’s an idea, service, or product, feels immediately present, that is, to use an old saying, that they can almost taste it. Marketers strategize endlessly to try and make this moment of communication happen, but once content is released, there’s little more that can do to ensure that it will effectively drive sales or increase conversions; the moment either happens or it doesn’t. But what if it was possible to ensure that emotion and excitement with the flip of a switch?
Immersive Reality, B2B, and Me
Enter virtual (VR), augmented (AR), and mixed (MR) reality, collectively known as immersive reality (IR) technology. Unless you’ve been doing your B2B marketing under a rock for the past, I don’t know, 30 years, you’re likely at least familiar with the concept of virtual reality. In case you’re still a little hazy, though, here are some general definitions.
Virtual reality offers viewers an entirely simulated world. Nothing that you see when you use a VR headset actually “exists” in the outside world. The goal here is to transport people to some place (or some time) that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Augmented reality overlays a view of something real with digital objects. Typically, it’s intentionally clear that the objects are artifacts of AR. Google Glass was an early attempt at promulgating augmented reality technology, mixed reality falls somewhere in between. Often used synonymously with AR, MR generally strives to create objects that are not recognizably digital. Microsoft’s HoloLens is probably the best example of mixed reality tech.
(If you’d like to go more in depth about the differences, here’s a great Quora thread on the subject.)
So what does all this have to do with you as a B2B marketer? The term “immersive reality” tends to conjure images of gamers escaping the real world by holing up in a basement, or hordes of ravenous Pokemon Go players invading Central Park. But as players in the B2B space, we need to ditch these misconceptions. Immersive reality tech does not just have the potential to alter the entire advertising and B2B marketing landscape, it already is. At gernBotschaft, we’re keenly aware of this trend, and are working on ways to bring our clients revolutionary VR, AR, and MR solutions. But what exactly does that mean? In this short guide, we’ll introduce you to the basics of virtual and immersive reality, its potential applications and current trends, plus examples of the best immersive reality B2B marketing.
The Future of “the Future of” B2B Marketing
The immersive reality revolution has been a long time coming. Innovators started toying with the idea of virtual reality headsets in the mid-60’s (can you imagine schlepping this thing out to your next B2B conference?). Adobe expects some 70 million VR devices will be sold annually by 2025; Goldman Sachs predicts that the VR and AR markets will reach a combined worth of $80 billion (€71,21 Milliarden) around the same time. Adobe is also prophesying that VR and AR will spark a fundamental shift in consumer viewing habits, accounting for 5% of total video consumption by minutes as soon as a few years from now. Those numbers are honestly breathtaking, and while they suggest that there’s still some time until the technology reaches critical mass, that doesn’t mean that you can’t put immersive reality tech to work for your B2B efforts in the interim. In fact, you’re sorely mistaken if you don’t. As we say in German: „der Zug wird ohne Sie abfahren“.
B2B and Immersive Reality
It’s our opinion that, currently, augmented reality is the technology most ripe for the plunder by B2B marketers. This is motivated by the fact that all that is needed to create an exceptional AR experience is a smart phone and an element with which it can interact. For example, the folks over at Amikasa have created an awesome app that lets consumers and brands recreate their homes and spaces to better visualize design elements.
This principle can be integrated into your existing B2B marketing flow. Creating branded materials that synergize with an AR app (pre-existing or custom made) can go a long way in making sure customers and clients understand your product, and whatsmore, feel the essence of what you’re selling.
Some of the other most readily accessible technologies for B2B marketers are 360° panoramas and video. At gernBotschaft, we’ve made use of the former for social media and client presentations. The power of 360° media is that it’s much easier to create than virtual or augmented reality applications, and thus can be implemented quicker and more often. Last summer, Google conducted an interesting experiment for which they filmed two different versions of the same advertisement: one in traditional format, and one as a 360° video. Curiously, they found that while the 360° version did not outperform the traditional as far as standard metrics like view-through-rate were concerned, it did greatly increase both click-through-rate (CTR) and social engagement. The 360° video garnered 41% more earned actions, which means shares and subscriptions, than its traditional counterpart. If Google’s on board with something, then we probably should be, too.
Examples We Love
So how are forward thinking B2B marketers already using immersive reality to create unforgettable user experiences?
Cat Technology Experience – Digging the B2B Dirt
Caterpillar proved itself forward thinking when it invested a minority stake in Uptake, a data analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) company, back in 2015. With their Cat Technology Experience app, they’ve similarly postured themselves in customer facing segments. The app puts users in the cockpits of five Caterpillar vehicles, offering them a chance to simulate what working the machines might be like. What’s beautiful is that you can choose between virtual reality and 360° video modes, so users don’t need special headsets. This is a stellar instance of the magic of 360° video and just how immersive it can be. It wouldn’t surprise me if many people downloaded the app simply for fun. Something that contributes to both sales and branding efforts? Count us in. Kudos to the team at Caterpillar.
Get Me A Sponsor – B2B or B2CEO?
This next one is sort of a case of a missed opportunity. Our motto at gernBotschaft: “We excite people who shape markets.” As B2B marketers, we naturally want to influence decision makers. Usually this means appealing to multiple executives or a buying team, necessitating the winning over a multiple unique personalities. But there does arise the rare occasion in which we know for sure that there’s one guy or gal at the top that absolutely must be impressed. To do this, you have to completely understand their character, interests, and idiosyncrasies. When world football giants Chelsea FC went searching for a new sponsor after their deal with Samsung expired, they enlisted the help of the London-based firm Saatchi & Saatchi to help them shmooze some of the most elusive decision makers in the world. By presenting the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies with a visual taste of what their lives might be like as the club’s sponsor, Chelsea did not just create the conditions for emotion, they offered it up like a bespoke suit. Yet while the concept and execution was phenomenal, imagine if they had used virtual reality headsets instead of traditional media. Maybe then Chelsea would have been able to hold this distinct honor.
Hexagon Annual Report – Finally, a B2B Annual You’ll Actually Read Watch
The all too familiar annual report – seemingly important but often ignored. B2B, B2C, manufacturing, or healthcare: no matter your industry, you’ve come across one. Hexagon Solutions, a division of IT giants Hexagon, decided to say ixnay on the oringbay. (That’s pig Latin for “Let’s not do the same thing again.”) They created a key visual that, when printed out and scanned with the appropriate app, presented the reader with 3D animations reminiscent of Minority Report. While they didn’t provide any concrete metrics in the case study, Hexagon’s stock is, at the time of writing, hovering around a cool $340 a share, and continues to trend upward. I think it’s safe to say the investors read this report. Click here to see Hexagon Annual Report.
Wenn Sie nach diesem spannenden Einblick in die virtuelle Realtität noch nicht genug haben, empfehlen wir Ihnen hier noch einen spannenden Podcast des SWR 2 Wissen: Virtualität im Alltag, Ersetzt der Schein die Wirklichkeit (05.07.2017) > Bitte herunterscrollen bis zum Datum 5.7.2017.