It’s easy to see why virtual reality (VR) has ascended as a leading brand showcase tool in B2C consumer marketing: It’s fun. It’s innovative. It’s powerful.
But the potential of this visual marketing medium may be even greater in the B2B space. The key to maximizing that potential is establishing a strong foundation that virtually guarantees a strong ROI for your VR initiative.
DeanHouston helped several clients launch extremely successful campaigns in 2017 (we’ll cover that more in-depth in Part Two). For companies thinking about adding a VR component to their digital strategy, here are three recommendations, based on our experiences with our clients, that will help ensure your virtual reality project delivers ROI.
1. Develop a VR campaign with a goal in mind.
Successful marketing campaigns begin with a clearly defined strategy. VR is no exception. High-quality, deeply immersive virtual reality projects can be expensive to launch, especially if they are developed in-house (consider the specialized hardware, software and content creation that is needed). As such, having a predetermined payoff baked into your VR strategy is essential to a strong ROI.
Although the value of VR seems nearly unquantifiable at this early stage of adoption in B2B, we’ve observed many benefits with our clients thus far. Here are the top three:
Space equalizer: Everything you want the end-user to experience – fits inside a headset. Without physical footprint limitations, everything from nanotechnology to massive industrial systems become accessible anywhere your VR equipment is: promotional events, sales demos and training exercises, to name a few.
Educator: VR-assisted educational initiatives – whether for marketing or training – offer a deeper understanding of the subject material. Both task-oriented processes, such as fabrication and repairs, and traditionally static or inaccessible technical concepts, such as underground petroleum distribution, become easier to understand when using VR. VR-assisted education can reduce the time it takes to really learn something. Learn it better, learn it faster.
Lead generator: The most effective VR marketing draws people into the sales funnel and helps move them through. As such, trade shows and virtual reality experiences are a natural fit. Several DeanHouston clients introduced virtual reality campaigns during 2017 trade shows and reaped the benefits.
2. Utilize proven VR expertise and repurpose 3D assets to reduce marketing costs.
Although VR often represents a sizeable investment, it doesn’t necessarily mean completely starting from scratch. Most companies already have some assets, such as renders and animations, that can be repurposed for VR.
Furnishing third-party VR talent with these building blocks to develop your VR campaign is much more affordable than investing in in-house resources to construct your virtual worlds (think about the costs of both people and equipment). Leveraging proven VR development expertise and skilled 3D asset craftsmanship is essential to creating both powerful and cost-effective VR experiences. This is especially true in the industrial/manufacturing space where products are often sophisticated and it takes skilled 3D technical artists to accurately capture their complexities. A poorly executed VR experience dilutes a marketing campaign’s potency and ultimately fails to draw leads into the sales funnel.
Further, utilizing unskilled resources who aren’t proficient in VR technology inflates costs by prolonging the time it takes to develop the content. If you are creating new 3D assets, they can be repurposed to recoup development costs. Print files, 360-videos and sales demonstrations are just a few ways that your assets can be repurposed to fuel your sales funnels.
3. Early adopters will realize VR’s most lucrative benefits.
Virtual reality offers the unique benefit of “presence.” When someone puts on a VR headset, they are immersed in the virtual environment. It effectively magnifies your marketing message’s ability to influence your audience.
But, at some point, the novelty of 3D will wear off. When that happens, the playing field will level out again and laggards will have missed out on the chance to set themselves apart from their competition. Early adopters will reap the maximum gains from VR’s unique capabilities.
Adding virtual reality to a marketing plan can be extremely rewarding for both the end user and the marketer. However, approaching VR strategically is fundamental to attaining measurable success. Go into it with a plan and you might come out of it with a game-changer.
Next: Learn how several DeanHouston clients supercharged their sales funnels utilizing VR.