AR in B2B: really? (2)

The augmented Reality Summit yesterday was full of thought-provoking and exciting presentations, which seamlessly merged sci-fi-style futurism with hard-hitting marketing practicalities.

I was left in little doubt about the incredible power of augmented reality technology. It is very likely to become one of the major ways in which humans share information, market our products, play games, enjoy art and experience our urban areas in the coming years.

Some of the marketing campaigns and branding experiences that have already been run (mainly B2C but there are some B2B) have produced incredible results and the more artistic or entertainment-focused uses of the technology can be quite mindboggling.

It’s all very exciting.

But when I was listening to the presentations, getting carried away with the technological possibilities being quoted, I did retain a sense of professionalism and think about whether or not AR will ever really be a viable B2B medium.

I went with the feeling that, although B2B may embrace the technology in the future, it is still very much a B2C tool at present. Did my opinion change? Maybe a bit. And that was despite what some delegates were saying to me after the event.

AR provides an incredibly interactive touch point but its temporary thrill factor does not really lend itself particularly well to the long buying cycles inherent in B2B. And the ROI isn’t always going to be there, unless your campaign is incredibly well targeted. AR is not cheap.

However, in some ways the B2B marketing industry, plagued rightly or wrongly with labels of being rather staid and lacking in wow-factor, is crying out for new ways of creating engaging content. AR, put to effective use, could be an incredible tool in the hands of the right B2B marketing teams.

We will start to see more B2B AR campaigns as the technology garners greater support in society and as more impressive case studies from the B2C world filter through.

The technology is there. If it just needs to be applied creatively and a new micro-revolution in B2B interaction could be just around the corner.

Here’s a collection of AR pieces we have carried in recent times to get the creative juices flowing:

BRANDING NEWS: ABB adopts augmented reality to showcase its ‘big solutions’

TECHNOLOGY NEWS: Marketers ‘don’t understand augmented reality’

BRAND CAMPAIGN NEWS: Knauf brings insulation solutions to life

BRAND CAMPAIGN NEWS: Aviva opts for augmented reality in latest campaign