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Will AR Bridge the Physical and Digital Gap?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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As technology continues to advance, and consumers are learning how to let technology make their lives more convenient, marketers are running behind both consumers and technologists, trying to figure out how we can use this technology in order to help them make their lives better.

The digital landscape is more familiar to marketers than years ago, and though it still may not be a level playing field, AdLand has cut the advantage. 

Augmented Reality (AR) has been popping up now and then as yet another digital tool accessible to marketers. What AR does is allow consumers to interact with both the digital and physical environment. For example, a consumer can use their smartphone and place it on a storefront, and if the storefront has AR-enabled capabilities, it will show the consumer what deals or events are going on inside.

Very cool stuff. But how can companies use it? Or better yet, why should it be used?

Aurasma, an AR development platform company owned by HP Inc., released a white paper not only showcasing why marketers should consider it but providing ways big brands are adding it to their marketing toolbox.

The company released some compelling pieces of data that may turn some heads:
  • It notes that the average direct mail response rate is 3%; when AR was added to direct mail activities, response rates rose to 37%.
  • 72% of catalog recipients prefer to make purchases via online channels; adding AR to catalogs could increase impulse buying and making it easy for informed deciders to buy.
  • With marketers spending $58 billion dollars on sponsorships annually, adding AR to events could boost engagement and provide better ROI.
  • The report also cites a Hubspot report, stating that 3 out of 5 marketers still have no tools to track event ROI. With 78% of event marketers planning to add social media to their events, AR can add an additional tracking and engaging component.
The report adds how Budweiser, Disney, and AMC Theatres have incorporated AR to their on-site marketing activities.

In short, it is a very interesting concept. Augmented Reality is still fairly new, so finding ways to add AR to marketing activities in an affordable, efficient manner is still being explored.

Either way, it is a cool activity to consider.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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