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The ROI of Augmented Reality

As I play around with one of the latest new social media tools,, it got me thinking about the various ways to add value to the terrestrial world via the digital world; i.e., augmented reality (AR).

Pinwheel allows you to “find and leave notes around the world.” In other words, as you’re gazing at a monument, a store, or an amazing view, you can see meaning it has for others, what interesting insights they have about the spot or leave your own comment about the space. Ahh, the power of geo-location!

The service expands on location-based social media such as FourSquare by expanding the relevant places and things on which to attach notes. Here’s a nice review of the service.

How could you as a marketer think of using these tools for your business?

Here’s a quick list for handy reference:

  1. Contextual Offers – Probably the most logical and the cash cow that location-based services like Foursquare are hoping to cash in on. Serve up that coupon while the consumer is standing in front of the store or gazing at the box on the shelf!
  2. Relationship and Advocacy  – If your goal is to build brand relationships you can use AR to send customized messages to customers and/or fans. My favorite example is still the personalized billboard messages that Mini Cooper would send a few years ago to their customers as they motored by on the highway. Now who wouldn’t drive all their friends by that billboard several times just to show off? 
  3. Instant Training and Action Prompts - Never underestimate the power of confusion for eroding your marketing's ROI. AR can be used to provide instant training or answer typical questions as a consumer hesitates ever so briefly at the right place at the right time. This presentation has a few good examples. 
  4. Brand Interaction – From AR scavenger hunts to virtual flash mobs to virtual test drives, there are some amazing things going on out there to capture that precious few seconds of focused attention from consumers. 

As with every other marketing tool from social media to traditional advertising, the question comes down to ROI. How should your firm measure the impact of AR for growing brand, revenue and relationships? 

At Mythology, we work with our clients to first go very deep on understanding their own unique value proposition. Then, we look at those key differentiation points and ask, how could a sticky, engaging tool such as AR be exploited to blow out the understanding and remembrance of those differentiations? 

It's easy to get distracted with all the whiz-bang marketing tools out there, but when your marketing strategy stays focused on this formula, the likelihood of wasting your time and money is diminished: 

Stickiness (Simplicity x Unexpectedness) x Brand Differentiation Message Alignment x Relevant Call to Action = Return on Investment 

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