Virtual reality has been one of the biggest technology developments of recent times, allowing people to experience things beyond their real-world physical surroundings. Naturally, this ability to fundamentally change a person's experience has almost limitless scope when it comes to marketing.
Although home adoption rates for virtual reality technology are lower than many within the industry were hoping, which is a potential problem for those wishing to use VR as a marketing tool, this does not apply to event marketing, where an exhibition design company can provide the technology for attendees.
Here, we look at some of the top virtual reality marketing strategies that an exhibition or event company can use.
1. Product Experience
Event marketing can be great for demonstrating physical products, but virtual reality technology helps to take this to a whole different level. Indeed, VR deployed at exhibitions or other events can allow attendees to actually experience the product and the activities or settings that are associated with it, all in a virtual setting.
The American footwear company Merrel used this to great effect at an exhibition, allowing customers to stop by their booth and go on a virtual hiking experience. The campaign attracted 750 virtual hikers, had a total reach of 500,000 thanks to social media and inspired people to go hiking in Merrel shoes.
Essentially, by working with an exhibition design company, exhibiting businesses can now create a virtual setting that compliments the product they are showcasing, creating a multi-sensory experience in the process.
2. Creating Virtual Worlds
Of course, not all businesses are looking to market physical products and one of the key benefits of the VR revolution is the ability to create virtual worlds and immerse an audience in them. This is especially useful for any business or event company that is looking to promote locations or artistic works.
For example, in the past, exhibition marketing may have had limited use for a theme park or a holiday resort, in terms of attendees actually experiencing the thing being advertised. However, today, visitors to an exhibition could experience a virtual version of a new rollercoaster, or move around a virtual hotel room.
The television network HBO also utilised this concept while promoting Game of Thrones in 2014. The company put together a travelling exhibition, allowing attendees to visit a virtual representation of the Wall at Castle Black. An elevator, VR headsets and blasts of air worked together to create a realistic, immersive experience.
3. Experiential Recruitment
Finally, events are not just about marketing products and services to customers - they are often more about networking. One way in which virtual reality is influencing this aspect is through its capacity to allow attendees to experience a different way of life, which is ideal for recruitment purposes.
One particularly interesting example of this in action was the creation of a touring 'performance lab' by the U.S. Air Force Recruiting Service. By combining virtual reality with gamification, they were able to provide attendees with a feel for some of the experiences and skills necessary for a career in the Air Force.
Again, there is almost endless scope when it comes to using VR technology for recruitment events. It has the capacity to place attendees in an accurately recreated virtual work environment, allowing them to experience something akin to what life would be like if they were working in a particular field.
Reno is a founder and director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specializing in retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, office refurbishment, event branding, exhibition stand design and much more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Feel free to follow him on twitter.