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How to use Virtual and Augmented Reality apps to engage your target audience at live events

Lee Ali

Lee Ali

Posted on: 12/04/2018

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More and more, Virtual and Augment Reality apps (I will use VR/AR from now on) are becoming an essential part of the live marketing brand experience, helping companies to better attract and engage their target audience.

With the introduction of such technology to any live marketing strategy, it can be an expensive and time-consuming exercise, especially if you don’t get it right. One of the most common problems is that, for such a personal approach and the mediums involved, a lot of companies simply don’t understand how to effectively implement VR/AR technology into their live marketing programme.

So how do you incorporate VR/AR into your live marketing and ensure that it gives you a great return on investment?

Lee Ali, founder and MD of Expo Stars Interactive gives us his best tips on how to get the best results from using VR/AR apps in live marketing.

1. Have a clear strategy on why and how you will use VR/AR in your live marketing;

The first question to always ask is why you want to use VR/AR in your live marketing programme? Is it because you think it’s a great idea to engage and interact with your target audience, or that because your competitors are using it, you should too?

2. Start your planning by asking some key questions within your team and organisation:

– What is the end goal you want to achieve through using VR/AR?
– What kind of attendees do you want to attract through VR/AR app?
– What is the cost of the application, and the potential return on investment it will bring you?
– What is the lead time for development?
– How will you educate and motivate your target audience to use it?
– How will you measure the key metrics and to see if it achieves ROI?

Once you have answered these questions, only then should you move onto the development stage.

3. Choose the right tech for you and your target audience: Virtual vs Augmented

A big confusion currently is the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality. To clarify, virtual reality is a recreation of a real-life environment or situation. It allows the user to immerse themselves in a reality by experiencing it first hand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing through a special VR headset.

Augmented reality layers computer-generated enhancements on top of an existing reality to make it meaningful through the ability to interact with it. It can be utilised in apps and mobile devices to combine digital components into the real world to enhance one another.

In a live marketing environment, it is important to consider these differences from the visitor engagement perspective. With VR, if someone puts on a headset, you have lost control of the conversation as they will be fully immersed in the headset. With AR apps, you can use the devices to demonstrate the key points and features and keep the conversation flowing on a personal level.

4. Design the App with your target audience in mind.

The app design needs to be from the perspective of your target audience. What is the main problem they have right now, that you are trying to solve for them? The App should be simple to use and navigate and most importantly it should do four key things; arouse curiosity, inform, educate, and entertain your target audience. For example, if you are in Real Estate, an AR app can show not only a 3D model of a building from the outside, but also take a tour internally through each door, taking your potential client on a journey from outside into the inside by clicking on each door and allow you to talk through the features and benefits of the investment.

5. Make the VR/AR interaction short and focused:

The app interaction should be no more than 6 minutes per person so that you can optimise engagement with as many people as possible. There are some great templates available where you can plug in your content or if you have the budget, a bespoke app is always the best option to give you complete control of the design and experience.

6. Proactively engage your audience to use the App.

Once you have the app developed and ready to promote, you need to proactively engage and encourage your visitors to download and use the app on your stand or event area. Most people are still unfamiliar with VR/AR tech, so you always need to lead the way in terms of encouraging people to have a go. I have seen many an exhibition stand, where they had an app displayed and the ipads on show, but there was no one actively encouraging users to use the app. Ensure that all your staff are fully trained as to how the app works, and more importantly how it fits into the event attendee journey. Set your staff a target to achieve for the duration of the event, and offer them fun incentives to achieve their targets, so that they are fully motivated during the event to proactively engage as many attendees as possible.

7. Incorporate data capture into the app.

As mentioned in point 1, one of the great things about VR and AR is that they are a great lead magnet, and will allow you to capture some great data from the audience participation so always add a feedback form at the end of the app. Of course, with GDPR in mind, it is imperative that you get the user permission if you intend to use any of their data for marketing after the event.

8. Measure ROI:

As part of the feedback form, decide what information and metrics you need to measure the return on investment. Is it brand awareness you are after or prospective value of the business that could come in from that lead?.

9. Add Social Media sharing:

If the app is compelling enough, people are naturally going to want to share their results or participation on social media, so there should always be a social media share option and it’s a great way to extend the reach beyond the live event.

10. Follow up:

So you have the app, executed the engagement perfectly, you have some excellent lead data – you need to have a strategy for following up the leads and converting them to sales. The scary statistic is that 70% of leads are not followed up after live events. The best way to follow up, is that during the engagement you give the attendees some compelling reasons to continue the conversation like special offers, free consultations or an immediate quotation for a project they are working on. This makes the following up a breeze and leads to better conversions.

About the Author – Lee Ali

Lee is the Founder & Managing Director of Expo Stars Interactive, a tradeshow performance agency based in Manchester. A Sales & Marketing specialist with over 25 years field experience and with a deep interest in Business Psychology, Lee has worked extensively in the Communications sector including Telecoms, Mobile, Broadcasting, Online and Live Marketing. For the past 10 years, Lee has supported over 400 international exhibitors across the world, to improve visitor engagement at trade shows and achieve measurable results.

Website: https://www.expostars.com
Phone number: 0161 834 9478
Email: sales@expostars.com
Twitter: @expostars

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