VR is the new best marketing medium for businesses. And because VR is relatively new, you can leverage strategies to put your brand at the forefront of your competitors.
But if there’s so much interest in VR for businesses, why don’t more brands use it?
VR isn’t easy to adopt. 27% of VR industry experts confirm that user experience is one of the biggest challenges in VR. This marketing approach isn’t cheap either. Hardware costs are the top reason businesses don’t use VR.
So, how do you get past these VR marketing obstacles?
And how do you optimize this marketing strategy to maximize your engagement, sales, and brand awareness?
We’ve got the answers with the ultimate 9 examples of VR marketing done right, and a review of the pros and cons of this strategy.
Ready to become a VR marketing pro?
Here we go!
Virtual reality (VR) marketing is when businesses use marketing techniques with virtual reality technologies. Virtual reality is a recreation of the physical world but exists remotely in an online, and often interactive, digital space.
This marketing approach works because you can immerse your buyers in a brand experience, giving them a close-up of your values. Brands can build deeper customer relationships by going beyond standard marketing strategies and engaging customers in an authentic experience combining reality and virtual technology.
Summary: What is VR Marketing?
VR marketing is when businesses enhance marketing strategies with virtual reality (VR) technologies to connect with audiences in a virtual space, often providing an interactive experience for the viewer.
Practices like metaverse marketing and using marketing practices with VR are becoming more popular because they’re new technologies. Many businesses don’t know how to share their values with customers. Or, some need original marketing approaches to stand out from their competitors. VR marketing is the answer!
In the US, there are about 52 million people that use VR. There’s a lot of opportunity in this market. But of course, there are challenges too!
So, let’s explore the opportunities and challenges you will encounter in VR marketing:
These are the top opportunities for VR marketing:
Digital shopping was the evolution of in-person shopping, and now VR suggests a new level of buying. VR is naturally an isolated technology. This means it isolates its user. VR doesn’t engage groups of people, but rather large masses of singular users. It’s highly beneficial to your business that VR works this way as you get one-on-one time with your customers.
You can replace outdated shopping techniques with marketing powered by VR to achieve a branded buying experience that projects your brand identity and values. You can also use the data you gather from VR campaigns to optimize customer shopping experiences and your buying journey.
The more personalized your buying journey is, the more likely ideal buyers will support your business. Combining marketing practices with VR unlocks limitless possibilities for personalization. You can use tactics like advertising and marketing at the individual level to deliver tailored VR experiences to all variants of your ideal buyer personas.
This opportunity is more targeted than personalizing your marketing campaigns to specific customer segments. You can really focus more on each individual and what they want to see from your brand.
Track your VR performance to refine your approach. Using VR marketing to gather data points is strategic to improve your efforts as you scale your campaign.
It took some time, but now over 2 billion people buy products online. Digital businesses aren’t so modern anymore. The next step from here is VR. Before your competitors and every other brand saturate this market, learn about this space and understand what it takes to use VR successfully.
You always want to be ahead of your competitors and target audience. Now that VR has gained so much attention and interest, it’s the perfect time to get in on this action.
Find new approaches and ideas to make your brand stand out from others that do rely on VR marketing. It will be easier to attract your target audience and PR platforms if you bring a fresh approach to marketing tactics combined with VR.
Summary: VR Marketing Opportunities
Here are the top challenges to consider for successful VR marketing:
VR requires a lot of trial and error because VR is a new concept. It takes time to find the most efficient and conversion-drive way to adopt VR and engage customers. Expect a learning curve and set realistic, measurable goals to manage your expectations. To lessen VR marketing trial and error, invest time in understanding this space and how brands have used VR marketing.
Consider the safety of your VR campaign. As customers will enter a digital world, ensure you take the required steps to assure their safety.
Businesses have to think about branding too. How does your VR marketing campaign reflect your values and mission? How can you tailor the experience with memorable branding? These are all questions to ask to make VR marketing easier.
VR is a new technology, so negative PR isn’t surprising. Also, VR gadgets are expensive and not available to the general public. Consequently, most people have a more theoretical idea of VR, which can easily be persuaded by other people’s narratives surrounding VR experiences.
While ethical and safe VR marketing practices will help you stay in the limelight, it’s still vital to understand how volatile this marketing environment is. Some people report health issues from VR headsets, like headaches and dizziness. Others believe VR is just a stone’s throw away from robots taking over Earth.
Do as much as possible to avoid any PR scandals and guide the narrative surrounding your campaign and your brand in a positive direction. Actively draw positive PR to your VR marketing campaign and communicate directly how it adds value to your customers.
Here are some of the tips for positive VR marketing PR:
You can’t run a successful VR marketing campaign without understanding the VR marketing space and the buyer demographics. I mentioned that VR technology isn’t readily available to the general public. This information alone determines how well your target audience will adapt to VR marketing and how it may impact them.
If your target audience is in the top 1% of earners, you’d have more pressure to develop a groundbreaking VR marketing campaign. These buyers are more prone to have already experienced VR-powered tech gadgets and virtual experiences, so the bar is set a little higher.
But if you’re targeting middle-income men between 18 and 24 years old, user expectations will be a bit lower and more diverse, giving you added flexibility.
You can’t define a direction for your VR marketing campaign without understanding this environment first. Do your market research and speak to your audience about their interest in VR. Keep updated with VR trends, and connect with brands, publications, and thought leaders to become integrated with this space.
Summary: VR Marketing Challenges
Now that you know the pros and cons of marketing with VR, let’s explore the top 9 VR marketing examples and what to take away:
McDonald’s hopped on the VR marketing bandwagon and added Google cardboard VR headsets for their Happy Meal Boxes in Sweden. This innovative marketing approach was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Happy Meal Box release in Sweden. Customers could only get this VR headset for a limited time, and the fast food giant rolled out 3500 headsets between 14 restaurants.
McDonald’s called these headsets “Happy Goggles“. They branded the headsets with their signature red and yellow colors and logo. But what could little kids do with a VR headset?
Teaming up with Slope Stars, a VR skiing game, McDonald’s used the Happy Goggles to engage kids in an interactive VR skiing game.
Google’s cardboard VR glasses were inspired by McDonald’s Happy Goggles. These are simple recyclable cardboard boxes shaped into goggles with VR optics in the lenses. When you purchase a set of cardboard VR glasses, you have to fold it yourself, which is super quick and easy, and adds to the whole experience!
The New York Times, a daily American newspaper, used Google’s cardboard glasses to give their existing customer base a branded experience. All their most loyal subscribers received a pair of Google’s eco-friendly VR glasses for watching movies. These were all intellectual films on topics like war, space, and history, tailored to what their target audience would want to watch.
The New York Times subscribers could get an intimate feel of what people suffered in war and other historical events. They also got up close with the opportunity to investigate a planet through the film, Seeking Pluto’s Frigid Heart.
This was a sound strategy for everyone involved. The subscribers had an experience that would be hard to forget. The New York Times, Google, and the films increased brand loyalty and awareness.
This VR marketing example by Toms Shoes is a fantastic example of pulling on your buyers’ heartstrings and sticking to your values. Toms Shoes is a global footwear brand with a special mission. For every pair of shoes you buy, they donate a pair to a child in need. This model naturally drives interest in supporting Toms Shoes because buyers know they’re making a difference.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Toms Shoes ran a VR marketing campaign – “A Walk In Their Shoes”. They partnered with a VR company, Within to host a virtual giving trip. This is how it worked. For every pair of shoes a consumer bought, Toms Shoes matched that purchase with a pair of shoes donated to a child. The team then traveled to Columbia to donate these shoes.
They invited their customers to participate in this wholesome movement through VR headsets. Buyers could share Toms Shoes’ journey, and watch kids fit on and receive the shoes. Buyers could also meet one of the receivers, and get a first-hand experience of the dire living conditions.
What makes this an excellent example of combining marketing and VR is how well it connects humans despite VR’s reputation for negatively impacting personal relationships.
Boursin Sensorium is a cheese brand in the UK with loads of different types and flavors of cheese. This brand noticed a challenge they couldn’t ignore – buyers didn’t know enough about the cheese variants they offered. Boursin Sensorium decided they could do experiential marketing and generate awareness through a roadshow. However, this wouldn’t help the brand stand out from its competitors.
Exploring unsaturated marketing strategies, this UK cheese brand found VR marketing to be the best solution. They would go above their competitors and give targeted consumers a branded experience of their cheese!
Starting in London, this brand used muli-sensory VR and a 360-degree CGI film to take buyers through a digital tour of a fridge containing carefully selected ingredients. Consumers would access this VR world through headsets. Music, scented fans, and product samples enhanced their experience.
Boursin Sensorium captured the reactions of each participant through six-second clips easily shareable through social media. They also employed influencer marketing tactics and partnered with popular food bloggers to create awareness about their campaign.
All makeup lovers know the pain of not being able to try on different shades to ensure the products they buy suit them. Physical testers are a hygiene concern, and many stores don’t allow buyers to test makeup products. L’Oréal noticed this challenge among buyers in the makeup and beauty market and used marketing and virtual reality to solve it.
Using their Makeup Genius app, L’Oréal lets users virtually try on different L’Oréal makeup products, shades, and curated looks. Users can also receive personalized recommendations and alerts to enhance their buying experience. This VR marketing campaign was a brilliant idea. L’Oréal enhanced its current asset (the Makeup Genius app) with VR features.
Samsung has been one of the most reliable tech brands for some time. They tailor to their tech audiences by getting on new technologies as soon as they launch. This goes unsaid for marketing with VR. Samsung teamed up with NASA to allow their supporters to walk on the moon (virtually, of course!).
Wearing a VR headset, participants would gear up into a flight suit and harness to walk on the moon. NASA’s next-gen technology successfully recreated the concept of gravity to exist in their VR world and realistically impact how participants moved. This strategic partnership helped both establishments unlock an experience their supporters could only dream of.
Source: Samsung U.S. Newsroom
Adidas is always one of the first sports brands to jump on a new marketing trend, and they did this for VR marketing too! To immerse customers into their brand, Adidas used VR marketing and a bit of influencer marketing.
Professional athletes and outdoor, Ben Rueck and Delany Miller were to set to free climb up a super high mountain. Adidas invited their supporters to join the climb! Through VR headsets, participants would climb alongside these athletes to reach the summit. While in action, participants received tips on how to climb and secure their grip. They also received real-time updates on their performance, distance climbed, and distance from the summit.
This marketing with VR campaign was a bulletproof strategy from Adidas. They promoted extreme sports, created interest in their brand, and gave their buyers an experience no competitor could top.
In addition to luxury accommodations, Marriott International offers venues for corporate events and social gatherings. While virtual tours of houses, apartments, and other kinds of accommodation aren’t very unique, Marriott International gave their prospects virtual tours of their event venues.
Using VR headsets, buyers would see a 3D view of their custom-designed events. Marriott International didn’t just promote its event venues through VR. They gave customers a life-like idea of how their desired event would look. Doing this gave Marriott International’s customers an unprecedented experience of trying a product before investing money in it. The virtual tours also made event planning much easier, as buyers could see what works.
Have you ever thought of buying a car through a virtual dealership? Well, Vroom may change your mind! This online car dealership used VR marketing to recreate the experience of in-person car dealerships. While the core stayed the same – convenience, Vroom adopted in-person car-buying practices to unlock virtual experiences in their buying journey.
With Google cardboard VR glasses, Vroom allowed buyers to browse 15 car models in their digital showroom. Participants could view the cars’ interior design, listen to the engines, or take the cars for a 360-degree test drive.
This innovative marketing approach made it possible for Vroom to re-engage old buyers, optimize loyalty among their existing customers and engage new buyers that didn’t know virtual dealerships existed.
Because Vroom is an online dealership and this is a unique selling point, using an untapped marketing strategy as VR gave them much-needed authority.
Combining marketing and VR offers many benefits. You can optimize your shopping experience, personalize your buyer journey and deliver an authentic brand experience.
However, there are some downsides to this marketing approach. Businesses must know the VR space, there’s a lot of bad PR around VR, and it requires trial and error.
Using marketing practices and tactics with VR is tricky until you learn from the top examples. Brands like Adidas, Marriott International, McDonald’s, and The New York Times show the best ways to combine VR elements and marketing practices to engage your audience like never before.
VR marketing is when businesses use virtual reality (VR) in marketing to drive customer engagement, loyalty, awareness or sales. This marketing approach is a fantastic way to connect with your buyers and bring them into your brand experience. This article explores the pros and cons of VR marketing, and the top examples to learn from for a successful campaign.
Yes, VR marketing is worthwhile. Businesses can personalize their buyer journey's, optimize customer shopping experience and deliver an authentic brand experience. VR marketing welcomes a range of new opportunities for businesses. Read this article for more on the pros and cons of VR marketing and the best examples of successful results-driven VR marketing campaigns.
The top examples of VR marketing include the Happy Goggles from McDonald's, virtual luxury tours from Marriott International, remote rock climbing from Adidas, and The New York Times using Google's cardboard VR glasses. This article covers the best examples of VR marketing and key takeaways to learn from.
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