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Augmented Reality (AR) in the marketing and advertising industry is quickly becoming recognised as a new, innovative and creative way of connecting with customers and increasing engagement. Global AR ad revenue in 2018 reached $428 million and is expected to triple by 2021, which makes it one of the greatest opportunities for marketers in the modern world.

AR is a technology that combines Virtual Reality with the real world in the form of live video imagery that is digitally-enhanced with computer-generated graphics. AR can be experienced through headsets and more easily through mobile devices. Whilst Pokemon Go is the most commonly known consumer use of this kind of technology, there are far more sophisticated AR applications available.

AR in marketing is definitely a different approach to traditional forms of media, but with the uptake of social media and digital marketing, it is becoming more relevant in our digitally-centric society.

Here are four reasons why AR works so well with marketing:

1. Innovation and Interest

Marketers are always looking for better ways to engage and capture the attention of customers effectively and AR meets these requirements perfectly. While the technology is relatively new, it stands out amongst traditional media such as OOH collateral, commercials and social media ads. AR in marketing campaigns adds to your brand image also – a company that applies AR solutions is seen as innovative and up-to-date. AR solutions distinguish your company from competitors by creating positive emotional response and a memorable experience for consumers when conducted effectively.

2. Flexibility

AR technology is such a flexible technology with nearly endless possibilities and variations. AR ads have the ability to suit the needs of a particular campaign in many different industries such as retail, automotive, education, healthcare, etc. These can be in the form of videos or static images, 3D models or flat pictures, informative or entertaining content.

3. Interactivity

Interactivity is an essential element of AR technology, as a user can view their environment enhanced with virtual elements that they can change and interact with, ultimately increasing customer engagement. The gamification aspect of AR makes the experience more valuable and memorable encouraging long-term brand loyalty. This repeated engagement makes the cost/efficiency ratio more beneficial than that of traditional media.

4. Better Customer Experience

Nearly 65% of users find ads annoying and intrusive, mainly as they disrupt their activity which leads to a negative perception of the piece and ultimately the brand itself. AR ads can be interacted with at will and are more attractive particularly when the ad is personalised to their needs and interests. Interactive AR applications can enable users to download their own media and create custom content, creating a unique and personalised ad for each customer, all whilst promoting the brand or service.

There are three primary factors that contribute to successful engagement strategies for AR:

  • Multi-sensory engagement – getting customers involved in learning about, and using products in a way that is active such as engaging with touch, sight and audio senses
  • Intellectual engagement – sharing relevant and useful information with customers so that they have a meaningful experience learning about and using the company’s products and solutions
  • Emotional connections – continuing to develop an emotional connection throughout the post-purchase decision making leads to loyal customer relationships

AR is a powerful tool of visualisation that conveys ideas through images in an interactive and engaging way. It is fun, it is exciting and it works. For these reasons and more, AR solutions can make marketing more relevant, improve customer experience and add new value to customer/brand relationships.

Could AR work for your business? Find out more with us today – contact us on 07 3088 3021

1811 Foot Traffic WEB

If you were to ask Google for ideas on driving foot traffic to your business, you’d be flooded with suggestions like “run a massive sale” or “hold a VIP event”. Then there’s advice to do a letterbox drop or boost a Facebook post to spread the word.

Sure, from time to time there might be an unexpected change in your business that prompts a more reactive approach to attracting customers. If you have seasonal demands in your business, your franchisor might organise something specific for your brand to drive an increase in foot traffic, but as a whole, getting customers through the door is no longer a discrete or standalone activity.

Customers today are overwhelmed with choice so getting a potential customer through your door is no longer the end game: ensuring they buy from you is. Customers travel through a series of steps before they even set foot inside a local business and every step further defines their buying experience with you. Each part of the journey has a different objective, requires a different message, and uses different marketing channels. If you are focusing your marketing efforts solely on driving foot traffic, you are missing out on opportunities to engage and connect with your customer.

The Marketing Lab segments this customer journey into 5 stages.

Stimulus

This is about advertising and helping a potential customer identify their need for your product or service. This covers the brand campaigns that your franchisor is doing on your behalf, it’s the social media paid ads you run, and it’s the bus stop signage and the letterbox drops you do. All of these things contribute to helping a customer realise they have a need and that your business can meet those needs.

Search

Once a customer has recognised they have a need, the next step is to look for a business to fulfil that need. This may come days, weeks or months after they’ve seen your (or your competitors!) ad, so your business must be easy to find. The physical location of your business, signage and in centre directories, and your online presence all matter here.

Reputation

Once a customer has found you, they are likely to try to validate if you are the best choice for them. We’ve known for a long time that referrals are powerful, but now public consensus can sway a purchase decision and impact your brand. Now, more than ever your online reputation is vital. Supporting and engaging with your local community, keeping your social channels fresh and on brand and acknowledging positive and negative reviews are all ways you can improve your potential customer’s opinion of you.

Conversion

This is the magic that happens at point of purchase. Being a part of a franchise brand, you already have a big head start in this space over non-franchise businesses. Your product and services have been refined and your systems and process facilitate a great transaction. Customer service and how your staff interact with your customers is where you should focus your attention.

Experience

The experience your customer has with your business continues after the purchase itself and the fact is, it costs less to connect with an existing customer than it does to find a new one. Loyalty programs, NPS, VIP Events and nurture programs all encourage your customers to come back.

A significant advantage to owning a franchise is you have a powerful brand behind you that immediately builds credibility for your business. Your franchisor is also likely to be taking care of some of your marketing initiatives at each stage of the customer journey which is fantastic. As you get closer to the customer purchase point, local area marketing becomes more and more about your story, and this is where you can really drive results for your business!

Build out a marketing plan, align it to your franchisor marketing activities, and start with small steps to improve how you connect with your customers at each stage of their journey.  Focusing on each step in the customer journey will build stronger relationships and there’s a good chance that you’ll have more than strong foot traffic, you’ll have a strong bottom line.

 

This article was written by Kelli Ponting and published in Issue 31 VOL6 of Inside Franchise Business.