Friday, August 3rd, 2012

What does the brave new reality of Augmented Reality mean to a B2B agency?

The idea of augmented reality (AR) has been around for some time now, but do we know exactly what it is? Simply put, it’s the meeting point of two layers: the world in real-life view and the overlaying of a digital, virtual world, brought together through screen. Does the application of AR have unprecedented potential to transform b2b marketing via search, mobile, social, and beyond? Up until now, it has been mostly a novel technology and initiatives made by early adopters haven’t seemed to have quite taken off.

However, the presentation of AR is nothing less than cool. As developers from an AR platform unfolded a string of exciting functionalities at TEDGlobal in June, it’s definitely an eye-opener. From making the painting of Robert Burns talk and toast, to superimposing a live tennis video onto a print newspaper. Any object can immediately pop up and come to life each time, integrating digital content such as video, audio, and animation; inviting the viewer to a brave new ‘‘augmented’’ world.

But creativity and imagination aside, what does it mean for a b2b agency? Put simply, AR hasn’t at all been capitalised on by marketers when looking to reach business audiences. It has thus far only really made its mark in the b2c markets. The challenge for a b2b agency is to develop key marketing strategies that incorporate AR to help maximise their engagement factor with audiences. Real AR market growth depends largely on its ability to be embedded into a wide variety of apps running on multiple devices, enabling the development of new capabilities, such as providing direct links to social channels. Used effectively, AR could be the new tool to engage with business audiences with life-like ideas that are truly humanly relevant.

Think about it. AR can be used to present contextual deals while the audiences are viewing one-dimensional print and display advertising. It can provide instant click-through to purchases and brand connections can also be forged, by capturing the priceless few seconds of attention from potential audiences. The opportunity to reach and motivate b2b audiences is all about leveraging the digital world through meaningful interaction and a clear call to action. In the end, it’s the engagement that’s being augmented.

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