Disruptive Trends in Digital Marketing: Virtual Reality

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Disruptive Trends in Digital Marketing: Virtual Reality

By: Lea Hoegsted

Organizations strive to engage their customers in unique ways through various marketing attempts.  Marketers are always looking for creative ways to reach out to the various population segments.  The future marketing scenario gets complicated due to the many channels that are available. Creative marketing will move away from agencies and move toward the platform. (Beer) The next upcoming platform to disrupt marketing is virtual/augmented reality.  The technology and the interest is definitely there.  By 2020, the economic impact of virtual and augmented reality is predicted to reach $29.5 billion. By the end of 2017, the number of shipped units of VR software and hardware from Sony, Oculus, HTC and others totaled $2.4 million.  VR headsets sold by 2020 is predicted to reach 82 million. (Becker)               

              Disruptive marketing technologies need to be approachable, not easily duplicated and have a common touchpoint. (Patel)  Consumers have come to expect more innovative engagement techniques and virtual/augmented reality platforms deliver.  Augmented reality marketing occurs when the customer can see the product. Content is placed in the user’s environment using a headset. It is a fully digital 3-D event where users walk through, experience and learn.  The virtual reality marketing experience is much more immersive.  Users can interact within the virtual space to not only obtain useful information but to actually use the product. (Drissel) This is where the transformational experience occurs.  The customer is no longer a passive receptacle of an organization’s branding.  It is a high end user experience that will change the perception of the product to an actual life event.  The virtual reality experience is rich in content and engagement capabilities.  Companies literally have 100% of the consumers attention offering high sensory impact. (Rogers)

                There are specific industries that should jump on board virtual reality train, specifically real estate, retail, tourism, sports and education. (Brown)  Realtors should be utilizing virtual reality technology.  Houses and business properties could be shown in real time.  Interior designing and home improvements can be done within the virtual space.  (Athwal) Customers will not have to travel from home to home in order to ‘see’ them.  Real estate agents will increase productivity and customers will not waste time.  Clothing makers could make it possible for users to try on clothing within the virtual space so that satisfaction is instantaneous. Another fascinating area to watch is tourism.  The applications for virtual reality technologies is endless. Destinations and experiences could be reviewed before buying tickets and making reservations.  Hotels could be scoped out for views and cleanliness.  For the handicapped and elderly, VT travel could actually replace actual travel. (Beck) 

                There are some problems inherent with VR marketing.  Customers will have to own a headset and be onboard with advertisement that could be construed as even more annoying and invasive than static ads.  Platforms will have to be compatible.  This may become an issue for some smaller businesses.  If an organization does not have the resources for virtual reality then they will not get the full exposure like bigger businesses will.  Small businesses may suffer because of it.  Competition will suffer because large organizations will be financially able to offer virtual reality experiences.  Companies that utilize virtual reality will have to have an integrated marketing and technological team.  This will be expensive.  This is another platform that executives will have to monitor for any wrong doing by employees.  There will be abuses that occur within the virtual spaces.  This is a liability for any company.  What if a crime is committed in the virtual space?  Is it really a crime if it happens within a virtual world?   Intellectual property rights are another area of concern.  Currently, there is a lot of grey area concerning laws and ownership within virtual space. (Howard)

                Within the next 5 years, consumers will see an explosion of interactive virtual reality marketing experiences.  The act of purchasing items from clothing to houses will be transformed into a personalized, customizable rich experience. Virtual reality technologies will definitely disrupt the current marketing environment.  It is exciting to see what the future brings within the virtual spaces yet to be created.


Athwal, Nav.  “The Rise of Virtual Reality in Real Estate”  Forbes.  June 13, 2017.  Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesrealestatecouncil/2017/06/13/the-rise-of-virtual-reality-in-real-estate/#5902edd21989

Beck, Julia.  “How Will Technological Development Influence Virtual Reality Travel?”  Virtual Reality in Tourism.  July 4, 2018.  Retrieved from www.virtual-reality-in-tourism.com/influence-technological-developments/

Becker, Braden. “9 VR Marketing Examples That You’ll Want to Steal for 2019”  Hubspot. September 19, 2019.  Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/vr-marketing-examples

Beer, Jeff.  “25 Predictions For What Marketing Will Look Like in 2020”  Fast Company.  March 4, 2015.  Retrieved from https://www.fastcompany.com/3043109/25-predictions-for-what-marketing-will-look-like-in-2020

Brown, Emma.  “5 Ways to Use Virtual Reality in Your Marketing Strategy in 2018”  Hootsuite.  July 16, 2018.  Retrieved by https://blog.hootsuite.com/vr-marketing/

Drissel, Dana.  “2017’s Top Disruptive B2B Marketing Technologies”  Brand Quarterly.  May 19, 2017.  Retrieved from www.brandquarterly.com/2017s-top-3-disruptive-b2b-marketing-technologies

Howard, Brianna.  “Here are Some of the Legal Implications of Virtual Reality in Esports”  Forbes.  October 24, 2017.  Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/allabouttherupees/2017/10/24/here-are-some-of-the-legal-implications-of-virtual-reality-in-esports/#5f11c01436ce

Patel, Neil.  “4 Ways Disruptive Marketing is Winning Over Customers”  Neil Patel Digital.  Retrieved from https://neilpatel.com/blog/disruptive-marketing/

Rogers, Sol.  “6 Reasons Why Marketers and Brands Need Virtual Reality”  Forbes. November 2, 2018.  Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/solrogers/2018/11/02/marketers-and-brands-need-vr-heres-six-reasons-why/#2eb8cd831395