Launch IQ

An occasional series of insights, trends and opinions in the rapidly expanding, rapidly changing digital space.

The hidden world of Augmented Reality

Some say the key to a highly-effective marketing campaign is having the ability to see through the eyes of the consumer. Marketers using Augmented Reality (AR) technology take that approach – literally.

AR merges the digital world with the physical, creating the opportunity for marketers to interact with consumers one-on-one in a unique and uniquely engaging way. It could look like a hyper-targeted ad through a smartphone camera. Or viewing information on a historical landmark that’s been augmented (pun intended) with Facebook friends’ comments using Google Goggles. Either way, AR is attracting attention – and dollars – with its ability to communicate with the constantly-connected consumer who spends more time on the phone than on the couch in front of the TV.

What is AR?

It’s simpler than you think. It’s the yellow line that marks first downs on your TV during football games. It’s a digital layer of graphics or animation over real video seen on your smartphone, computer or device. And the market for AR in the United States is expected to hit $350 million in 2014.

How can you use it?

Many companies, including Stella Artois, Esquire Magazine and Axe are using Augmented Reality to form relationships with their customers using GPS tracking and customer interaction. You could use a consumer’s phone to point them to your store location(s), or let them use their smartphone camera to interact with your advertisement. You could even set up an invisible pop-up store, like Airwalk did, selling 600 limited-edition shoes through their AR app. The possibilities are limitless and largely unexplored.

Why should you use it?

It’s smart. AR determines your consumers’ buying patterns and locations, allowing you to create a highly customized brand experience for them, wherever they are.

It’s affordable. With an AR campaign, you’re looking at a lot more consumer interactivity at a fraction of the cost of a print ad.

It’s innovative. With the right approach and effective execution of an AR campaign, your company will be seen as innovative. Being viewed as an innovative company, especially in the technological age, is always good.

It’s emotional. AR is sensorial and engaging. The consumer has the opportunity to connect with your brand in a totally personal way. Plus, the positive personal experience keeps them coming back.

It’s effective. AR turns virtual experiences into online sales by enhancing the brand experience and visibility.

It’s the future. Right now, AR is not a primary sales driver. It’s necessary to begin including it in your marketing mix, however, because with the advent of AR glasses, traditional print and video marketing will become subtext to the layered virtual world.

Put your money where your mobile is

Keep your eye on your wallet - it’s going the way of landlines and lickable stamps. And behind the demise?...

Your mobile phone.

It’s all about Near Field Communications, NFC for short. Bump or touch an NFC-enabled phone, tied to your credit card, PayPal or Google Wallet account, with another NFC device and you can make a secure payment for a wide range of products or services on the spot. Even non-monetary uses - like replacing a building access card or split-second sharing of contact information - are on the rise.

NFC also delivers companies more comprehensive consumer information than ever before. Each tap produces a complete consumer profile and behavioral pattern, including whether or not they purchased the item they viewed. This kind of insight will allow you to create optimized consumer-specific promotions and pricing...but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


Here are our predictions for how NFC might impact your world in 2012:

  • Travel and tourism. Cab fares paid with a tap. Check in to your hotel with a phone, and use it as your room key, too. Zip around the city on the metro (no metro card needed). Redeem tickets to a local art gallery and use your phone to access bonus material.
  • Retail. Say goodbye to long checkout lines, loyalty and gift cards and printed coupons. Say hello to reduced staffing, increased productivity, a better customer experience and increased consumer intelligence.
  • Watch for new companies to sprout out of the NFC sphere, including analytics companies and devices that can be activated through NFC tags, like speakers, light fixtures and alarm clocks.

Launch is a full-service advertising agency based in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We are nationally recognized for our award-winning creative work, and for competitively positioning and marketing both fast-growth and mature companies.

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