Monday, September 19, 2016

Augmented Virtual Reality Marketing Could End Up Being Nothing But Smokes & Mirror?

To everyone in marketing, founders in AR / VR space or general business owners, stop what you are doing and take a moment to just observe how the general city public in your area engages their smart phones, and in just a few minutes you will notice how withdrawn many are becoming. In a time of tremendous sociological  changes, AR / VR marketing is being held up as greatest thing since refrigeration.

My dear marketers and CMOs, AR / VR is nothing but a 4K TV. AR / VR is nothing but a BlueRay Disc. AR / VR is nothing but a 3D TV. AR / VR is nothing but a Cherry Coke.  AR / VR marketing is like a hand crafted toilet paper roll.AR / VR has tremendous numerous value potential but I don’t expect any significant improvement in B2C marketing ROI. 

With more and more awareness-adoption of AR by consumers, It will be a great new shinning object that helps merge the internet information world with the real world. VR would enable all people to escape to a new world or to old worlds. However my thoughts is that that AR / VR marketing will be a nice to have but ultimately what consumers want is a better humanity not more marketing. 

In the past years and decades, we have always being able to rely on our traditional social anchors to keep us fulfilled in life. Speaking from a first world view, I would point to religious institutions, authority institutions, educational institutes,family structure, certainty of job security, culture, home, identity,etc. Now, we have a mesh of personas which are not easily segmented. A growing population of AD Blockers and AD Avoiders and a questionable social &economical future. And I’m sure last thing consumers want is to have the same marketing bombardment in their AR / VR experience.

We have Skype, Phones, Forums, Facebook, Linkedin, Tinder, XBox, PlayStation, IWatch, Tablets, yet we still crave the physical presence of someone we care about or like. The sharing of an experience. We crave the very low tech experience of the human social interaction. We crave what I call the flesh-to-flesh interaction.

And I’ve personally drawn this conclusion that AR / VR is a b2c marketing dud because marketing and advertising have gone too far. And continue to irritate because it sometimes interferes with the quality of consumer experience. Any AR / VR marketing that doesn’t humanize the experience is not going to help your ROI.


“Brands are experimenting with immersive technology to create electronic empathy – blending digital and experiential marketing to bring shared experiences to a wider audience.
This year, virtual reality (VR) headsets including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive hit the consumer gaming market, while Google Cardboard offers a limited VR experience via the smartphone. Augmented reality (AR) adds a virtual digital layer to our smartphone screens and mixed reality blends physical and digital elements.” - The Guardian

We have seen basic AR unleashed with Pokemon Go and many consumers went crazy for it. It made the news and there were reports people trespassing other people’s property just to catch a monster (clearlly not a fan). And as I write, I’ve noticed the buzz and enthusiasm has declined.

According to a Goldman Sachs report on AR VR, “Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to become the next big computing platform, and as we saw with the PC and smartphone, we expect new markets to be created and existing markets to be disrupted. There’s no shortage of examples of how VR and AR can reshape existing ways of doing things-- from buying a new home, interacting with a doctor, or watching a football game. As the technology advances, price points decline, and an entire new marketplace of applications (both business and consumer) hit the market, we believe VR/AR has the potential to spawn a multibillion -dollar industry, and possibly be as game changing as the advent of the PC.”


“Just a couple of years ago, there were only a handful of available commercial AR applications – in fact the first AR app for the iPhone was not released until 2009.
In 2011, global AR revenues were as low as USD 181 million and, at that time, AR was often perceived by the public as just a marketing gimmick: a technology in search of a useful application. There was little public awareness, and applications were primarily developed to gain quick PR wins, or their value was limited to attention-grabbers such as adding video effects. “ - Unknown Source

However, latest forecasts predict that by 2017 the AR market will grow to USD 5.2 billion – an impressive annual increase of almost 100 %.----DHL Report called AUGMENTED REALITY IN LOGISTICS

“There are different versions of AR technology on the market today. We can separate the technology into two main types: Marker-based and Markerless AR.

Marker-based AR relies on a 2D visual marker, such as a tag, barcode, watermark, QR code, or other reference point on printed materials. The marker triggers the AR experience on the user’s device.

MarkerlessAR uses any part of the real world environment to trigger digital and virtual experiences. Image recognition or other sensors are used to determine the location, position, or orientation of the device in the world. Any image can be used to trigger markerlessAR (even those already printed) with the help of a content management interface or platform.” - Unknown Source


There are many ways to experience AR /VR and I’m sure there will be many more ways coming. There are likely to be be numerous application and some might be invaluable, some will likely be very terrifying to the general public.

Imagine for a moment walking by shoe store you’ve hardly done business with a retailer but suddenly they know where you live, who your friends are, your parents, your car brand, your browsing history, lifestyle, all by simply using facial recognition technology and a camera placed all  around the store and all over the mall. 

When it comes to warehouse logistics it could make finding items easier, show how to package them, perform quality control, it will take the guess work out of the situation and turn workers to drones. That can be a good thing and a bad thing for the human race. AR / VR still need the combination of other technology.

For communicating with friends and family who are far away. So instead of inviting all your friends and family around the world to your wedding, everyone just has to immerse themselves into a AR / VR world that the bride and groom have designed. No more expensive hotel bills, traveling expense, etc.

Socializing and engaging with virtual sexual partners or fantasy partners. So instead of paying women to take off their clothes at strip clubs you could get an equal experience with a “jock strap vibrator” devices that send your nerves pleasurable stimulation.

Receiving directional guide and local information as if you were immersed in a live Google Maps. Also imagine if you were a regional manager for a major chain of restaurant and need to know the live performance and challenges in your region from a recent promotion, you simply drive by and every single detail about that restaurant was displayed on your cars dashboard like who the manager was, how many employees, the revenue, the traffic, the recent demographic, the identities of customers, the recent cleanliness, the feedback etc all that information fed to you without stepping out of your car or as you walked by.

Even use it for historical comparison. Like if a airport landing strip was moved and redesigned you could visually see what was it like before and whats it like currently and find out why some inefficiencies exist.

There’s a possibility that authority institutions like the government could use it to scan the crowd for certain trouble makers, certain dresses, concealed weapons, biological weapons, future criminals, etc  We could be faced with a world were no one has any privacy if pretty much everyone is an open book.

It could be all delivered through your handheld devices, game console, in store or venue using stationary systems, head mounted displays, smart glasses (eye glasses, car windows, home windows, makeup mirror,)

AR / VR Markeing Use

Some how incorporating maintenance of physical and non- physical goods, use educational material, virtual all fitting room, use it for brand recognition or comparison, Augmented Reality technology to service industrial equipment, make store windows more exciting, communications, standout from the crowd, etc


Change continues to accelerate and lot of us tripping to stay current because of fear of missing out. If your friends have a VR headsets, there’s a possibility you also want one because it could make a difference in riding the next wave of innovation, jobs, status, fortune and enrichment. However all the technology that a consumer is exposed to still desire connection on a human level. With all the communication tools available why do family still think they need to get together for thanksgiving or Christmastime?

AR / VR Might End Up Making Us Lazy and Dumber

When was the last time you map out your trip to a local IKEA with a paper map? Without eventually resulting to Google Maps? How many voice calls did you make today to your loved ones?  With the combination of artificial intelligence, automation and AR / AR we are eventually becoming order takers at least for low skilled, med-skilled jobs.

For a example, A parcel delivery man must deliver a parcel to a very important retailer at a certain time before it’s CEO leaves for vacation.

The AI in the Van’s computers or hand-held will figure out the best routes, the probability of getting a traffic ticket, of being in an accident, the speed to maintain, worst case scenario, what the receptionist or CEO looks like. The AR will then display the necessary instructions so perfectly that a driver with zero experience will perform at the same level as a veteran.

Automation with driver-less cars, tiny mobile drone vehicle that look like children toy cars will navigate the buildings and elevators and simply open up the trunk for the right customer to take it out and a beautiful virtual customer service woman hologram appears to wish the CEO on his successful trip to London.

If the robots aren’t taking the jobs from the engineers who built them then there’s still a few years to develop better social and economic systems.

Current Marketing Methods Just Reverberate Noise

In other words fancy new technology sounds cool. Using it for marketing sucks. The current marketing and advertisement landscape is just.......lets create a visually appealing AD, inject some nice copy, a call to action and pray someone has a painful problem to engage the phones or email. And then follow the target with your ADs, track their other activities, secretly gather behavioral data through their social media pages.

And someone is running around paddling AR / VR as a marketing God sent. Don’t get me wrong, it will continue to be huge for marketing and desirable by consumers but when I take a temperature of the current environment, I will have to say nothing but huge smokes and mirror.

“The crucial part of the AR experience is whether the technology adds real value. Simply overlaying something virtual on a phone screen doesn’t always cut it and can appear gimmicky. Having an ad pop up on your smartphone camera view from scanning a brand’s logo might be fun, but people would tire of it pretty quickly. Similarly, an app that overlays information and promotions on your phone screen when you point the camera to different stores on a street or products in a shop sounds useful, but marketers have to ask:[ Is this really adding real value?]

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