The goal of marketing is to make a lasting impression on your audience quickly and efficiently. At the same time, your company’s brand message needs to be communicated in a way that inspires deep interest and loyalty. Employing cutting edge technology to engage your audience can be highly effective in delivering this message. One of the latest technologies gaining a tremendous amount of attention with both consumers and marketers is virtual reality.
Virtual reality has created an entirely new platform for marketers to experiments with. With revenues expected to grow to $33.90 billion by 2022, the industry is booming. According to a report in The Motley Fool, nearly 1.3 million people already subscribe to the YouTube 360 channel, a Google channel that is promoting interest in virtual reality among mainstream viewers by offering panoramic 360-degree videos.
Virtual reality is interactive, making the experience inherently engaging for the end user while, at the same time, positioning the business delivering the adventure as a cutting edge innovator. In a survey conducted by Greenlight Insights, 62% of consumers say they would feel more engaged with a brand that sponsors a virtual reality experience and 71% of consumers think a brand is forward-thinking if it uses virtual reality.
Marketers who utilize the latest technologies will find themselves ahead of their competition. For example, while social networking platforms were once considered experimental, today every marketer incorporates social media into their marketing campaign. By 2015, 95% of adults 18-34 were most likely to follow a brand via social networking. In 2016, marketing automation created a huge buzz: 90% of respondents to a study conducted by Gleanster reported regular and periodic use of marketing automation for large-volume email campaigns. In the future, virtual reality will be the technology that dominates the digital marketing landscape.
Businesses that fail to adopt new technologies, or are not as fast and agile as competitors in utilizing them, may soon find themselves rapidly losing ground. In the 21st century, technology evolves at terrific speed making incorporation challenging. As an US News & World Report article points out, there are very few businesses who were dominant in 1985 and still remain major players today. When companies succeed, they often grow over comfortable with the status quo and overly cautious with investment in new areas. This mindset leads to stagnation.
However, companies that spend the resources on keeping up with trends and are not afraid to experiment with various strategies may be rewarded with exponential growth. Early technology adopters have historically been tied to better performance. For example, while Blockbuster was able to quickly transition from VHS to DVD, they failed to acclimate to the streaming video-on-demand trend. Blockbuster’s competitor Netflix, in contrast, was an early adopter of streaming technology which facilitated the company’s rise to television dominance. Netflix is currently available in 130 countries (as of January 2016) with a penetration estimated to be close to 50% in the U.S.
To employ a growth strategy which incorporates the latest digital trends, make sure to communicate goals with your employees. If employees do not understand objectives, they may feel indifferent or even hostile to change. Rolling out new technology strategies with a well-thought-out communications program aimed at building excitement should ensure most employees embrace the challenge. Once goals have been communicated, comprehensive education and training sessions will encourage all employees – even the luddites – to learn the new system. Finally, offer employees a channel for providing feedback and offering suggestions. A two-way communications arrangement will engage employees in the onboarding process providing them with a stake in the game.