How AR Enables Marketers to Reach Out to Customers with a Multi-Channel Approach
By Jason Norris, Head of Media
Multi-channel marketing means something different from what it did 20 years ago, thanks in part to the rise of digital media. In addition to cable, television, radio, and traditional websites, we now have streaming services, gaming consoles, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and the looming Metaverse. Augmented reality is one key technology that’s available now that can help marketers navigate a more complicated media landscape through an integrated messaging approach. How can it serve as an entry point for them to reach prospective customers better?
Elevating the Customer Experience
One crucial reason to start including AR as part of a multi-channel approach to marketing is the elevation factor. A brand’s exposure can’t all be promotional or static. Ads have their place, but sometimes businesses must be a little more subtle in how they connect. People buy when they think something is cool or wows them a little bit. Studies show that if companies can demonstrate they are the new kids on the block doing cool, exciting things, it can help elevate their brands (even if they have been around for a while). AR can play a role here by upgrading the customer experience. That’s because AR allows the user to be the one that’s creating things within their environment. Brands can create that environment where prospective customers are excited about that brand’s content, whether it’s a sticker, an AR lens, or a filter. What’s more, that user is willing to share that content with all their friends to say, “look, this is cool!”
AR is a highly immersive media and consumers who interact with AR tend to interact with the content at a much higher rate than other forms of advertising. Because AR brings in that interactive, user-generated aspect to branded content, it almost guarantees that it is content that people will want to use and share.
Making Marketing Material More Accessible
Part of elevating customer experience is streamlining marketing materials. With average online attention spans ranging from 3–7 seconds, how can marketers ensure that traditional marketing materials are made more accessible? AR can help do this while lowering the cost of production. So, instead of having to create an extensive brochure detailing a complex product scheme, today, businesses could send a postcard. They could touch on the highlights of what they are trying to sell, but once an accompanying QR code is scanned, it could launch an AR experience, fully displaying the rest of the information in a fun, immersive way.
Finally, businesses can integrate AR with other channels with the specific purpose of facilitating sales. AR can be combined with an eCommerce website to help retailers give prospective customers a try before you buy experience. They could try on an outfit or see how a specific piece of furniture would look in their bedroom. For example, Burberry has a “smart mirror” feature where shoppers can walk into their stores, try on an outfit and stand in front of a mirror. The mirror will show them how the outfit would look in different colors. With AR, now clothing brands don’t have to have every style of an outfit in stock—and shoppers could have a better buyer experience by quickly trying on different combinations of wardrobe pieces, colors, and sizes without the hassles associated with changing rooms.
Restaurants can drive more foot traffic by having onsite promotions available or tying the AR experiences to a rewards or loyalty program. For example, if someone is sitting at a coffee shop, they could open their phones, and a sticker or AR content could appear based on that coffee shop’s content and flavor release calendar. A fast-food restaurant could track the number of drive-through purchases so that when a customer hits a specific number, an AR-activated coupon would appear offering a free sandwich.