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Why we care about AR and VR: A guide for marketers



Why we care about metaverse activations

If there ever were a golden word in marketing, it’d be evolution. As consumers access more advanced technology, old marketing strategies fail to impress them. This is why modern marketers need to adapt to the constantly changing media and technology landscape to appeal to customers.

Two innovations marketers should stay abreast of are augmented and virtual reality devices. Although their marketing applications are still growing, both these tools are already being used in many ways. For example, AR is being used to let buyers see what furniture would look like in their homes.

Likewise, marketers should also ensure accessibility and interoperability with other more traditional experiences. Not to mention, as concepts like Web3 and the metaverse start to become more mainstream, these technologies will play a much larger role.

While the marketing applications of both are still emerging, these experiences are being tested in a host of ways that customers are beginning to have exposure to. For example, online shopping experiences are becoming more augmented through smartphone apps.

This article will discuss the ideas behind these two technologies, their differences, and the various outcomes that can emerge through using them. We’ll cover:

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality (AR) is a self-explanatory term— it is a tool that augments or enhances our perception of our physical surroundings. It helps bridge the gap between the digital and the physical world by overlaying digital elements in our immediate environment.

This data overlay can range from simple elements such as the lines displayed in a car’s rear-view camera while reversing to more complex product presentations for B2B clients. 

With its significant interactive and engaging learning potential, it’s no surprise that the demand for AR has been exponentially increasing. As of 2021, AR’s market size was $6.12 billion, but it is expected to rise to a whopping $97.76 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 48.6%.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality (VR) uses devices like VR headsets to create a completely immersive digital experience for users. Unlike AR, which combines digital elements with our real surroundings, VR offers a virtual replacement for our physical environment. 

The idea of VR has been around for a pretty long time now. In fact, it debuted in the 1950s with Morton Heilig’s Sensorama and has been a staple of science fiction since the early 1930s. Modern VR, however, is still in its infancy.

That being said, the potential uses of VR are limitless. It has found applications in healthcare, entertainment, automobiles, education, and many other industries (we’ll get into specific cases later). The VR market is expected to reach $84.09 billion in 2028 at a CAGR of 44.8%.

The differences between AR and VR

Although there are some overlaps between AR and VR applications, these technologies serve different purposes. AR seeks to enhance and add to the way we perceive our surroundings, while VR attempts to replace it altogether. However, it is important to note that AR and VR are not competitors; they complement one another.

It might be more cost-effective to use AR for some purposes than VR since the former does not require any additional devices or headsets and can often be operated through a regular smartphone.

customer interacting with VR marketing campaign

Examples of AR and VR

Both AR and VR find applications across many fields. This section will highlight some of their use cases across industries.

Augmented reality

AR in retail. Augmented reality tools can be used to recreate a 3D model of the item that customers wish to purchase. This 3D image can then be inspected in detail to provide customers with a better insight into the product.

Harley-Davidson is already leveraging augmented reality technology to enhance its customer experience. They have developed an AR demo offered in-store that lets users create photorealistic versions of vintage motorcycles. This app was created by Theia Interactive and is powered by Unreal Engine. Customers can zoom into the individual parts of the bike to look at a 3D-rendered model of them in a real-world environment.

AR in architecture and design. Architecture and design experts are using augmented reality tools in various stages of the production and development process. Apps like ARki can help non-architects understand the dimensions and layout of a building in the project planning phase by rendering a 3D model of the space. 

AR apps like Fologram improve real-time collaboration between on-site project managers and construction experts by enabling virtual meetings. Fologram can also act as a replacement for blueprints on construction sites by displaying the underground layout of the area, including pipelines and electrical wirings in 3D.

brands using AR to design infrastructurebrands using AR to design infrastructure

AR in tourism. Augmented reality also holds a lot in store for the travel industry. It allows tourists to enhance their experience and perception of their surroundings by providing extra information about the place by simply scanning where the person is.

Apps like City Guide Tour are already making this dream come true. The app uses object recognition to provide information about popular attractions like museums, historical sites, and galleries. And all of this without the hassle of hiring a tour guide or looking everything up online. 

AR also allows travel agents to immerse their clients in the location they want to visit. Potential tourists can take a walk through the streets of Paris and see what cafés they might want to visit or even compare it to the sunny beaches of Ibiza to decide where to go for their next vacation.

Virtual Reality

VR in the automobile industry. Virtual reality devices enter the automobile market at two junctions— at the planning stage of the vehicle and when the customer is purchasing it. In both situations, the parties involved benefit from the ability to visualize the product up close without having the car with them physically.

While companies like Jaguar have been using VR to create prototypes of cars for over a decade, Ford has also recently revamped their design process to trade in 2D drawings for 3D VR models. This helps manufacturers cut down on the overhead costs as well as the time taken to design a car. 

Other automobile giants like Audi and Volkswagen have gone the Harley-Davidson way by allowing their potential customers to virtually sit inside the car they want to buy.

VR in psychology and mental health. As the emphasis on mental health grows, so do the tools that doctors have at their disposal. VR has emerged as a method for treating post-traumatic stress. People enter a re-enactment of the traumatic incident through a VR device to attempt to reconcile with the memory and start the healing process. 

Similarly, VR can be used to treat other mental health disorders like anxiety and depression. It allows patients to confront their issues in a virtual environment without having to come in contact with the things they fear.

UW-School of Medicine and Public Health is already researching the potential of VR to treat teenage mental health disorders. The study involves getting participants to play a video game that allows them to control their breathing patterns. These researchers then use the data to identify children who are most in need of care.

VR in the sports industry. Many athletes are now using VR to enhance their performances on the field. VR is mainly used as a training aid in sports like golf, athletics, football, and cycling. It can be used to gauge the technique and overall performance of an athlete to help them improve their game. 

NFL and college football teams are already integrating VR into their regular training schedules. It helps coaches and players recreate scenarios virtually to learn from previous instances. Additionally, even NASCAR drivers and professional soccer teams are using VR to retrace their mistakes in games.

VR can also be used to design better and more efficient equipment for sports. By using the technology to study stress patterns and durability of sporting equipment, companies can improve their products to better suit the athletes’ needs.

There are many tools available to you online that can be used to develop AR and VR-based applications. However, you need to consider the kind of product you wish to market to decide which software you should use.

For example, your choice will vary depending on whether you want to develop marker-based apps or location-based apps, etc. So, you must choose the correct AR/VR software development kit (SDK) for your needs.

Here are some SDKs that may be useful to your brand.

Vuforia. Vuforia is one of the highest-rated AR SDKs that frequently feature on lists of the best SDKs on the market. There are several products under Vuforia, including Vuforia Engine, Studio, and Chalk.

The added advantage of this SDK is that it allows the creation of both marker-based and markerless augmented reality applications. Marker-based apps are those which need to scan a physical marker like a barcode or a tag to trigger an AR experience.

Wikitude. Wikitude is an SDK that can be used to develop location-centric AR experiences. It allows users to integrate geolocation and cloud recognition software into the app. Wikitude allows 3D location, image recognition, and tracking. It also enables video overlay and can be used on smart glasses.

Apple ARKit. Apple’s ARKit was introduced back in June 2017, along with the launch of iOS 11. Since it has been tailor-made for Apple devices, it can be used to create apps for iPhones and iPads as long as they have an A9 processor or better.

It is an extremely versatile tool that allows developers to create applications that allow for 2D image detection and tracking, recognition and placement of 3D objects, facial tracking, and detecting planes.

ARKit’s software uses a camera sensor and other auxiliary data to analyze user surroundings for motion tracking. It is also easy to understand as Apple releases updated tutorials for every new iOS update.

Unity 3D. Unity 3D is a tool used to create VR environments accessible to professionals and amateurs alike. Its popularity and intuitive display make it easy to learn, and its vast array of 2D and 3D assets saves time and effort in creating new characters and landscapes.

Since Unity has a large user base, most issues with the software can be resolved within the community itself. It is also compatible with many devices like Oculus Quest headsets, VR/Vive, Playstation VR, Gear VR, etc., and operating software like Windows, Android, and Mac OS, among many others.

Unreal Engine 4. Unreal Engine is the preferred SDK for most professionals to build games and VR simulations. The software ensures high-quality graphics with advanced and realistic features. It also has a reliable store of assets that includes animations, plugins, live training, and blueprints that you can access to build your VR environment.

Despite its highly advanced features, Unreal Engine is supported on several platforms such as Windows PC, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Linux, and HTML5. It is also compatible with Head-Mounted Devices like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Gear VR, and Google VR.

How AR and VR can help marketers succeed at their jobs

AR and VR mark the future of the digital marketing industry. By virtually immersing your audience in the product you’re trying to sell, you can bring them closer to the product.

Grab customer attention

Using AR and VR tools will help you reach a large audience, collect information about them, and personalize your marketing strategy to their tastes. The novelty of AR and VR in marketing can also help raise interest in the product.

Improve product visualization

AR and VR can help potential customers visualize in 3D before buying it. This gives customers increased confidence in the product they are purchasing. In this way, marketers don’t have to physically reach their customers to give them an experience of the product.

Try before you buy

Marketers can also let users try on the products virtually before buying them. Warby Parker has already pioneered this technology by letting their customers check how different glass frames look on their faces using AR. 

Augmented and virtual reality technologies hold great promise for many industries across the world. They allow users to be transported into a world where they can virtually interact with a product without having to spend any money on it. In other words, AR and VR are game-changers. These two innovations represent an almost unprecedented customer experience.

Resources for learning more about AR and VR

Do you want to learn more about VR, AR, and their marketing applications? We recommend the following resources:

  • Getting the most out of AR and VR experiences: Digital and physical are becoming closely interwoven. Consumers steeped in online shopping are going to want digital experiences (and seamless discovery and checkout) in-store too.
  • Marketers: The metaverse is coming: The metaverse and Web3 aren’t here yet, but it’s time to start thinking about the positive opportunities they might create as well as the negative risks.
  • Become a metaverse marketing maven: Find out where you can get smart with online training on immersive media for marketing.
  • Google AR and VR: Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) bridge the digital and physical worlds. They allow you to take in information and content visually, in the same way you take in the world.

About The Author

Akshat Biyani is a Contributing Editor to MarTech, a former analyst who has a strong interest in writing about technology and its effect on marketing.

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State of Content Marketing in 2023



State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]



Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand


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MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow



MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.

Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 

Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.

Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.

Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 

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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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