What Marketers Miss About AR Disruption



I often think of that moment in the great sci-fi movie “The Fly” when Jeff Goldblum emerges from the teleporter — “how cool would that be?!” and growing up with “Star Trek” where “beam me up, Scottie” just seemed an obvious way to travel. Is it really sci-fi or is it here upon us already? Augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have finally made my childhood beliefs come true. In a moment, I can be teleported to the other side of the world, on to a race track, under the ocean, into a boardroom, or into a classroom, and interact and engage with my surroundings. Recognizing that AR and MR offer the ability to teleport anywhere and do anything identifies the endless applications that truly exist in this media.

In below the line marketing we often get caught in the healthy analytical debate of return on investment: Is it quantity or is it quality — which is your priority? Whenever we ask this question the answer is inevitably the same: “BOTH of course!” And the answer is an honest one — of course we want both; however, the limitations of what we can do inhibit this. AR and MR will finally provide us with the opportunity to deliver both. But how, you naturally ask? By bringing the best of media together, and finally having our cake and eating it too.

It has been proved beyond question that delivering true experiential engagement is highly impactful to deepening product or service understanding and brand buy-in, as well as achieving successful, enduring client loyalty. While clearly worthwhile, it takes a greater level of investment per engagement to a comparative digital deployment. When managing results via a spreadsheet alone, this can often become a topic of discussion; however, fortunately the spreadsheet readers are intelligent people and quickly recognize that the true value of output can be measured not only by quantity of engagement but also quality of engagement. So, when someone responds with “I want BOTH quantity and quality” AR delivers the future of where this becomes possible. Finally, we have a world where we can enable true experiences easily accessible by a much higher volume of clients. They no longer need to leave their home or office, and just like direct digital media they can easily consume this experience; however, unlike digital media this can now offer the depth of experience and in turn the greater residual impact of a true experiential engagement.

Often we are asked “can we do something with AR?” but rarely is there a consideration beyond it just seems cool. To be fair, oh yeah it is cool! However, it is not only cool, it is highly effective and efficient when integrated into a truly immersive and engaging marketing campaign. When AR is recognized beyond the initial superficial cool, almost gimmick value, to the true marketing tool it can be, then significant opportunity will be opened to an untapped marketing media of the future that has arrived! Beam down the landing party ….

As our partner YouGov spoke to in its Digital Innovation Report, Satya Nadella stated “I believe that every walk of life and every human activity which today is mediated by computers will be transformed by AR.” I couldn’t agree more.


This post appeared on the Envy blog.