By Jenifer Joyce
In the overall marketing landscape, no doubt mobile marketing is one of the fastest-evolving disciplines. With so many new trends coming to the fore, it’s easy for marketers to be lured by the latest hype or cool app launch. Here’s a real-deal technology to get in front of now: Augmented Reality (AR).
If you’ve watched an NFL game on television in the last two years, you’ve already experienced it. That handy yellow line that appears to help fans find the nearest down is the same technology that has captured the attention of a growing number of experts, including Forrester and Gartner. In short, AR takes something from the physical world and uses technology to enhance it. At a recent mobile marketing conference, one expert pegged it well: “It’s the GPS for your life.” Overblown? It depends on how you use it.
As your enchantment with this bright, shiny object grows, remember that the customer is king. Companies like Layar are making it easier to build apps utilizing AR. But with over 25% of apps used once and forgotten, it’s clear that already an inordinate amount of time and money have been lost building apps that are “one and done.” AR development isn’t cheap. It’s imperative to think things through from the customer’s perspective, and your mobile investment will be most effective when it is utilized to solve a real consumer need.
I’d challenge that only a handful of companies and organizations have successfully tapped AR to help consumers. Need a ride? If you’re in NY, all you need is New York Subway “Your New Eye” app, which helps you find the nearest transit options. Hungry? Just download Yelp’s app with Monocle feature to help you navigate the nearest fare. These are examples of AR applications that do a great job of solving a need.
Marketing leaders face increased pressures to make mobile a more effective sales channel. Because mobile is wonderfully trackable, make sure every action counts. Better yet, connect it to sales. With strategy as your guide, utilize mobile to give the customer a unique experience that makes it easier to transact or faster to make a decision. Companies are using AR to bring products and services to life by conducting virtual demonstrations or even tours on prospects’ PCs using AR markers embedded into direct mail pieces (as Target has done for its grocery section). B2B enterprises like Regus are using AR to book available office space right at the time of customer need. What other sales-driven AR experiences do you like?
Companies that were first-in with mobile marketing a few years ago failed early, and successful ones applied learnings to build a stronger program. Now AR offers another first-in opportunity to take unique, sales-driven mobile marketing experiences to a new level. Just make sure that shiny thing can sell, too.