Augmented Reality in Marketing

It’s no secret that mobile is a key media channel for marketing. Consumers, not only use their phones to call or text, but also to watch videos, play games, check social media sites and download apps. But 2013 showed that this consumer behavior, has allowed for marketers to develop new ways of reaching consumers through advertising. According to the Business Insider, mobile advertising has increased from $1.4 billion in 2011 to $4.1 billion in 2012, and is projected to grow to $7.3 billion in 2013, with the bulk of spending being directed to iOS platforms. All mobile ads are not equal and there is diversity in the way mobile is used as a marketing communication channel. Mobile ads can be interactive, take over the user’s screen, fun, entertaining or highly targeted. With so many options on how to reach customers with so many mobile options – it would seem that the age of mobile advertising’s peak has been reached – or has it?

Despite its’ promises of high market value, augmented reality may seem like a foreign concept to introduce to a mobile marketing campaign. However, augmented reality and mobile marketing are very much related. Both are based on a consumer’s behavior and location, in the effort to make a consumer’s life easier by allowing for increasing ability to interact with the world around them. Augmented reality is also more user friendly than other interactive mobile marketing techniques such as QR codes, since augmented reality doesn’t require a reader of any kind – just a user to move their phone across an area. What are the results of an augmented reality campaign? A luxury watch company Tissot, launched an augmented reality campaign in which consumers could try on their watches virtually. When the campaign was tracked it was found that in-store sales increased by 85%.

Augmented reality marketing campaigns can go in many directions – the goal of an augmented reality marketing campaign is to keep the consumer’s “entertainment value” while providing useful tools. A few ways to do this are:

Help the consumer with geo-targeting: This method harkens back to the original apps using augmented reality by helping consumers to find points of interest via their location. The brand Stella Artios has a Le Bar augmented reality app that helps users find a bar with their beer by populating you phone with arrows on how to reach the nearest Stella vendors.

Show consumers what they need: Online shopping can be a challenge for consumers. Many times when purchasing online a consumer can’t get a good idea of what an object will look like on them until they receive it. Converse shoes uses an augmented reality iPhone app to help combat that issue. The app, a free download, allows a consumer to “try on” shoes before you buy them in-store or online. When a consumer has found a shoe that they like – they are then able to click on a “buy” button which directs them to a mobile optimized website for purchase. If the shoes are purchased through the augmented reality app, the consumer then receives free ground shipping.

Expand consumers’ perspectives: Other mobile marketing techniques that play with print tend to be static and non-dynamic, but with the use of augmented reality, there is the ability to enhance printed materials with new digital interactions. The most current example of this is the 2013, Ikea catalog, using augmented reality. When a consumer comes across a section of the catalog with a phone symbol on it, they then hold up their phone to the catalog and are able to see inside the furniture, optional layouts of the room and even the different colors an item comes in. The Ikea augmented reality app helps to simulate a similar experience that one would have in their stores – looking at a display room and then exploring further within it.

With almost every mobile device available on the market coming with internet, and app capabilities, marketers within the mobile advertising space now have the opportunity to create a user experience that helps to make a user’s interaction with the advertisement easier. Augmented reality when used to guide, enhance or give new perspective to a consumer is when it is the most successful. As the mobile market and usage grows so will augmented reality.

Marketing and Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, when a group of people collectively network and pool their money to support projects or ideas by an organization or other people, is not a new concept. Crowdfunding today requires a mix of social media, marketing, and internet savvy in order to persuade the public to donate to one project over the many thousands vying for attention and money. To date crowdfunding has raised over $1.5 billion dollars, and counting. It is this large capital gain, the ability to communicate directly with the public, and test new ideas that has helped crowdfunding to get the attention of major brands. Crowdfunding allows for another source brands to connect with consumers and further push their marketing messages further.

For a smaller companies and individuals crowdfunding is a more simplistic, than that of a large corporation. For example, in May of this year when actor, director, and writer Zach Braff sought to make a sequel to his 2004 movie Garden State, to avoid lower funding from movie studios and have more creative control, Braff turned to a Kickstarter campaign for help. Depending on the level of contribution fans could receive a wide range of benefits, everything from autographed memorabilia to attending the premiere. Through the use of social media, Braff and fellow producers worked to get the attention of fans and as a result netted $3.1 million dollars to make their movie.

Braff Kickstarter

For an individual, like Braff crowdfunding is a way in which they can gather a lot of support under a lending or reward/pre-purchase model of crowdfunding. However, this type of model where a consumer gets marketed to for a purchase of a good or service, can be problematic for a larger corporation, brand or company. Instead, big brands such as Coca-Cola, Honda, and Domino’s are using another model for crowdfunding- donation. For large brands this method of crowdfunding allows for the ability to show consumers that a brand stands behind a cause, helps to give back, and they could also possibly get participation from even noncustomer. One example of this is Honda’s work with Indiegogo, with their “Save the Drive-In” campaign which is helping to raise money to support the shrinking number of drive-in movie theaters that can’t afford to upgrade to digital equipment.

Honda Save the Drive In

Brands that do decide to participate in crowdfunding have several unique opportunities for their business through this medium. Crowdfunding can be used as a research tool to track who is donating to your cause, and if they are a not current customer, help to provide information on how to bring them on as one. Taken a step further, crowdfunding can also be used as a way to allow consumers to interact with experimental products or services, and gauge feedback. Crowdfunding is also a great way to positively push forth your brand’s message – when backing a cause, or innovation; it allows consumers to approach your brand in a different way than they would with traditional marketing techniques. Finally, crowd funding provides a marketing channel that allows for brands to reward their backers. Since many crowd funding projects offer some sort of reward for backing a project, it gives the chance to brands to have the ability to not only give back to their communities but also to those helping improve them.

Crowdfunding is a great way to reach out to current and prospective consumers on a different level. It is important that when a brand or company looks to use crowdfunding as a marketing tool, that research is done on regulations, how it will be supported internally, and that it is promoted through other marketing channels correctly. Crowdfunding must be treated as any other channel and that means using other types of media such as social media to promote it. Throwing up your brand on Kickstarter and expecting it to sell itself will not work; it takes time and a solid marketing plan for it to truly be a success.

Learning from 2013 Marketing Flops

As we look to the New Year, we are hoping for a new start. While 2013 saw many successful marketing campaigns – unfortunately sometimes, despite great efforts marketing messages just don’t work and a campaign goes from a win to a flop. However, even the most unsuccessful marketing campaigns can have some lessons to be learned from. I have outlined the top marketing flops of 2013, in hopes that you can learn from these terrible mistakes.

JC Penny’s Lesson: Know Thy Customer

When JC Penny changed their marketing strategy by trying to extend deals and offer promotions for a longer time it not only confused consumers but most just stopped shopping in the store all together. Under the leadership of Ron Johnson, JC Penny made marketing blunder after blunder by not paying attention to their core customers’ needs, and as a result JC Penny had its worst year in decades. The important lesson to take away from this is that marketers must really know their customer before suddenly changing a brand’s marketing message. In the case of JC Penny their customers has become accustomed to short sales and coupons, instead of supplementing this with maybe mobile or social media capabilities, they chose to change quickly and drastically, thus insulting their customer by showing them they really didn’t know them that well after all.

Go Daddy’s Lesson: Don’t Make Consumers Squirm

Consumers, don’t necessarily want to feel themselves blushing every time they see your marketing message, Go Daddy’s 2013 Super Bowl ad did just that. The ad was labeled as sexist, awful and gross within the first few hours of it being aired.

It was meant to start a conversation but it was all negative. In fact, the ad was so offensive that it caused Go Daddy to change their whole message, and they announced in October 2013 that they were done with “sexy” ads for good.

Marketers who want to push the envelope must make sure their messaging continues a conversation about their brand not just the content of the ad. In a marketing success, Volvo’s ad with Jean-Claude Van Damme, is different, causing a conversation, and showing the capabilities of Volvo’s vehicles all at the same time.

AT&T, and Home Depot’s Lesson: Think before You Tweet

Twitter is supposed to be a way to engage with consumers on an instantaneous and personal level. Everything is live in Twitter, so marketers must really be sure they think before tweeting messages to the masses. Two brands that learned this lesson in 2013 were Home Depot and AT&T. In the case of AT&T a tweet about 9-11, that was used as a platform to advertise a new phone did not go over well with consumers and the company was blasted on Twitter and forced to delete the tweet. For Home Depot, it was a racist tweet of a drum line, which had consumers and the NAACP fuming on Twitter. In Home Depot’s case, it was a PR firm that was in charge of their Twitter account that posted but it provides another important message for brands that they should be in close contact with 3rd party marketing sources that do such work for them.

J.P. Morgan’s Lesson: Know Your Brand’s Sentiment with the Public

Financial giant, J.P. Morgan thought it would be a good idea a few weeks ago to engage with consumers on Twitter through a Q&A session. What they did not take into consideration was the public sentiment of their brand on the internet and as soon as the Q&A session began, an angry public took over.  Soon tweets from the public became rolling, but they were far from light hearted – for example, “Can I have my house back? #AskJPM”. J.P. Morgan becoming overwhelmed with the situation, gave up, shut down the Q&A and cancelled any future sessions. When marketers decide to open up a live dialogue on such a large platform, they must be prepared to handle any response; furthermore it is important that there is awareness among those in the company of the public sentiment of your brand. If a brand is controversial they need to be aware of how they approach the public, otherwise they run the risk of alienating consumers even more.

The Ultimate Challenge: Brining a New Product to Market

In 2012, the letters “BB” became inseparable in many consumers’ minds with the word “cream”. BB Cream, merges both the benefits of foundation and skincare, was the latest new cosmetic product to take the North American market by storm in 2012. At the end of 2012 BB Cream sales reached $36 million in North America, compared to $2 million dollars in 2011. Large corporations such as Revlon, MAC, and Maybelline launched their products after the arrival of the first creams in the Asian-Pacific market. As a result of its popularity more products offering combination solutions entered the market – and new category of hybrid skincare was born. The story of BB Cream is a perfect example of how proper marketing of a new product can help jump start a new product category and create a product success. Before putting a new product to market – there are key concepts marketers need to know and abide by.

My weapon of choice is Bobbi Brown BB Cream
My weapon of choice is Bobbi Brown BB Cream

New Product Categories to Watch

The research firm Nielson, in 2013 released a study on consumers and their responses to new product categories. In this study, 58 countries were surveyed online to find out what markets are the key drivers for new products. It was found that there are five key product categories that have the most success introducing a new product – food/beverage, clothing/apparel, personal hygiene, household cleaning, and oral care. Each of these market verticals had four or more new products purchased by a consumer in the last six months.  Nielson also found that consumers’ responsiveness to new products is also culturally based. For example, Asia-Pacific respondents have the highest likelihood of purchasing new products within these top categories than any other nationality but Latin America respondents are more actively seeking out new products. It was also found that certain product categories resonate more within different countries, such as in the Middle East/Africa where the number one product category by a 29% margin was in cosmetics rather than food/beverage.

Consumer Responses to Different Media

One of the most important aspects of launching a new product is getting consumers to hear about it then use it. Nielson found that 72% of new product awareness comes from the traditional method of in store discovery. Marketers can use this information to their advantage by establishing interactive displays for new products.

Another important method that still is proving affective for some products is TV ads and 59% of those surveyed found a new product through television. However, the way in which most consumers found a new product was through word of mouth, particularly via social media, mobile and the internet. Social media and mobile is becoming an increasingly more important aspect to a marketer’s campaign and for new products this step must not be ignored.

New Product Frame work

When a new product is ready to go to market, it is an exciting time but also leaves many marketers scratching their heads on how to successfully market the product. The key to marketing a new product lies in a holistic approach of multi-media campaign. The first step is to understand whether or not the product is able to fulfill an unmet need of the consumer. Products that fulfill an unmet need for a consumer are more likely to be successful at market than those that do not. Nielson recommends making campaign focus around how the product can meet the need/opportunity rather than the features of a product.

PEW Research Shows a Shift in Social Media

Like all things, social media platforms age and as these sites develop and grow – so do their users. Users that were once frequent and active participants in a social media site either leave or become in active. In replacement of those users, new users enter a social media community and implement their own ethos upon it.  It is important for marketers to be aware of the demographic shifts that occur as a social media site develops over time, to insure that the proper channels are being used to reach target audiences.


A study published by Pew Research Center in February 2013, entitled The Demographics of Social Media Users – 2012, surveyed 1,802 respondents in North America ranging in age from 18 to 65+ to uncover the patterns and demographic migration on social media. The study found that respondents who are 18 to 29 years of age are 83% more likely to be involved in social media, 30 to 49 year olds made up the second largest group using social media and 84% of those who were 50+ were active on social media sites. The social media sites profiled were Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr. When looking at the usage of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram the activity and usage surrounding these social media sites were the most interesting, they are as follows:

  • Twitter had the heaviest users within the 18 to 29 age bracket with 16% using the site. This is a 10% decline from a previous study by Pew Research, conducted in 2011 where 26% of people in this demographic were active users.  Another Pew Research found in a study on teenagers’ (12 to 17) uses of social media and privacy that 24% of young teens use Twitter, which is an increase of 16% from 2011 in this age group. Marketers should be aware of this shift in young users on social media platforms such as Twitter, since much of the marketing on Twitter currently geared towards the 18-29 demographic.
  • Instagram is most popular with those who are under 50 years of age and its users are more likely to be women. Reinforcing the findings by Pew Research Center, a recent Nielson study, found that Instagram is the top photo sharing site for teens with over one million users in the 12 to 17 age demographic. With Instagram combining with Facebook, there is now an increase in teenagers using Facebook more than ever before (approximately 94%).
  • Facebook not only has new teen users but Pew Research had also found that two thirds of adults have and use Facebook, and that 92% of those adults surveyed are 50 or older. This is a huge demographic switch for a site founded and projected in the media a very “college based” audience. Older users in social media sites could allow for more opportunities to push e-commerce based marketing campaigns as these are the demographics with heavy spending power.

The demographics of social media seem to be switching to two main age groups the very young (12 to 17) and the more mature (50+). While those in the 18-29 demographic are still active on social media sites, they are removing themselves from them more frequently than any other demographic. Another study completed by Pew Research released in 2013, wrote about something called “Facebook Fatigue”, in which it was found that 61% of adult Facebook users would take a break from using the social media site. It is expected that in 2013, 38% of Facebook’s former core demographic, 18 to 29 year olds, would spend less time or remove themselves completely from the site. This extreme shift in Facebook user demographics is a clear example of how marketers need to be ready and be able to adapt to new demographics when using social media as a marketing tool.

Marketers must be mindful what their target demographic is using before spending large amounts of capital to reach out to an audience that is assumed to be using a social media site. It is also important to take advantage of the tools provided by social media sites to help marketers. For example, Facebook has an age feature that allows for ads to be pushed to specific age groups.  Most recently – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all taken steps to better cater to their younger demographic users by increasing their video capabilities and the ability for marketers to use video to reach video centric audiences. Remaining informed on who is using a social media site and using tools provided by  the social media sites to help you reach your target demographic – guarantees you won’t fall victim to a social media demographic shift or fatigue.