VR is fast becoming a reality. Only a few decades ago it seemed that virtual reality would never come to fruition. The necessary hardware was so extensive and the software so complex that it seemed like it would take eons for us to arrive at an affordable consumer product. As costs for expensive hardware have steadily decreased and development time for software has shortened, prices for commercial VR products have gone down, and consumer interest has gone up. PlayStation VR, Sony’s foray into the VR space, sold over 2 million units in just one year.
Although VR has had slower growth in the past few years, the market has begun to pick up at a fast rate. The HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift have posted similar numbers PlayStation VR, selling millions of copies to consumers ready to adopt the technology. As a result, VR software productions is also on the rise as the market expands. In fact, Statista projects that the industry will grow to double its size in this year alone, ballooning to $12 billion in total market value.
Start with Research
Before delving into creating a marketing plan, you’ll want to gather information about the consumers you believe would be interested in your VR product. It’s important to collect information about your target market and ideal customer profile before creating a concrete marketing plan. You can think of gathering this information as drawing up wireframes like UX designers do. These are the initial steps that will help you form a marketing plan that serves your needs. So while UX designers need to understand the intention of the software product and make it usable and accessible based on that intention, marketers need to understand their audience and what drives their audience to purchase products similar to their own.
Conducting market research can be done in a myriad of ways. Looking up reports on consumers often isn’t enough, and you’ll want to supplement the stats, graphs, and figures you find with some substantial, in-depth research. When you’re zoning in on a target market, you’re building a full profile of your consumer. Marketing relies on social prowess as it is inherently a social process. This means you’re going to need more than just numbers to get the job done. In short, you really want to get to know your customers on a personal level as they are going to be the lifeblood of your VR product.
Target Ideal Customer Profile
For example, you’ll want to know the websites that your target market visits. In the case of VR, it’s a good idea to start following prominent tech magazines, video game developers, and software development communities. This includes news outlets like TNW, Engadget, and TechCrunch. Exploring the VR communities within sites like Stack Overflow, GitHub, and the Unreal Engine’s forums related to VR can also help you get a better picture of your consumer. Read what VR hardware they are using, what they have to say about, their complaints, and what they like about VR games and apps they’re using now. You might even find information that will help you better position and deploy your product based on these needs.
Gathering information is one of the biggest components of creating a successful marketing campaign. Other important elements are presentation and exceptional design. This is because, in marketing, presentation is of the utmost importance. Superb graphic design and copywriting build credibility for your product. For this, you’ll want to look at what the large brands are doing within the tech industry. How does the HTC Vive market their product? What about their marketing material, their images, their typography, their graphic design that makes their system so alluring? Look to brands outside your industry as well. There’s a great deal to learn from fashion brands or any niche and emerging industry that mirrors VR.
VR Is the New Reality
Marketing your VR product is an arduous task. But with little research and some tenacity, you’ll be able to pull it off. Promoting your VR product requires that you know your target market, the platform where you’ll publish, and the limits of the software product that you’ll be creating. Once you understand these elements, you’ll be able to craft a marketing plan that is both practical and effective.