It’s arguably more difficult for marketers to do a good job in today’s digital economy. Gone are the days of relying solely on promotional catalogues, stuffed through letterboxes, or batch-and-blast emails, sent to a mailing list.
While traditional tactics still have a time and a place, the business landscape today is hyper competitive. Technology has flooded every industry, making it easier to reach more consumers, but paradoxically more difficult to choose the right channels for your brand and share the right content on them. What’s more, consumers’ attention spans are on the decline, making it harder to cut through the noise.
Enter the rise of immersive marketing, which puts consumers at the centre of a brand’s narrative. With consumers receiving on average 5,000 messages from brands per day, it’s no longer enough to just share content and hope it sticks.
Consumers now want to be participants in brand actions rather than mere observers – and by blurring the physical and digital lines brands can better nudge consumers towards specific actions
Consumers want emotional connections with brands they care about, which means embracing the ability to talk to them on a multitude of different touchpoints to stir up their senses. However, content is crucial to doing immersive marketing right – it’s not about using new technologies and channels for the sake of it, or treating them as a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ to reaching customers en masse.
Here we explore the rise of immersive marketing, the importance of content in creating immersive strategies that work, and the role of digital asset management (DAM) in bridging the gap between the two.
What is immersive marketing?
Immersive marketing is the use of a mix of methods (advertising, public relations, word-of-mouth, digital marketing, partnerships and more) to ‘surround the consumer’ with a consistent message about a brand.
Over the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in different forms of storytelling that do just this, including audio, video and virtual and augmented reality. According to Ofcom data, six million Brits tune into podcasts each week. The rapid rise of YouTube is also a prime example of how visual consumers have become – collectively, we’re watching over one billion hours of YouTube videos a day, with 400 hours of video uploaded to the site every minute.
Consumers at the heart of the story
These new mediums put consumers right in the middle of a brand’s action, deeper into the conversation, engaged with the story. Consumers now want to be participants, rather than merely observers, and by blurring the physical and digital lines, brands can better nudge consumers towards specific actions – such as buying that T-shirt or trying out that new organic skincare range.
One of the most popular and recent examples of immersive marketing in action is mobile game Pokémon Go, produced by Niantic. Rather than passively interacting with a screen, gamers are transported into an AR-powered, virtual world of fantastical and mythical creatures to be competitively caught in local environs. Pokémon Go’s success has ultimately paved the way for other brands to harness augmented reality to put consumers right into the middle of a brand story, or even simulated environments, for a new breed of heightened storytelling. The New York Times’ “Meditation Journeys” propel viewers to ocean vistas, sun-kissed California hills and similar lush backdrops for guided meditation sessions.
Immersive marketing works when there is consistent storytelling across all channels. This brand consistency ultimately comes down to knowing what digital assets are available, which assets need to be created, and where these assets should be shared. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy.
When is an asset not an asset?
Every piece of marketing content that brands have (visual content, product descriptors) is a digital asset. However, creating and managing these assets takes talent and time.
As storytellers, marketers need access to the right content, at the right time, for specific campaigns. This content then needs to be rolled out quickly across internal teams and external channels. But what if content can’t be found, because it’s lost somewhere in messy folders? Some marketing departments are also either dispersed, or may include outsourced teams and freelancers. So, insight into the assets that are already available and where to find them is not so clear.
This can spell disaster for the brand, particularly when trying to implement new tactics such as immersive marketing. Wasting time and resources locating or re-creating content that already exists means brands can’t be agile and react quickly to industry changes.
Creating off-brand content can have a negative impact on how the company is perceived by customers – a lack of consistency will see users turn to competitors to give them a reliable and trusted service or experience. This is when digital assets, when underutilised or disorganised, aren’t really assets at all.
DAM to the rescue
Ultimately, immersive marketing will take ‘personalisation’ to the next level, which means content will need to work smarter, harder and be more relevant. The challenges of content management will therefore only continue to grow as immersive marketing becomes a staple tactic. Given its massive content demands, it will quickly become prohibitively expensive, chaotic and ineffective.
Digital asset management (DAM) systems help marketers to store, organise and find their content easily. As a centralised dashboard that manages the adaptation, distribution, and re-use of digital assets, it unlocks the opportunity for teams to focus on the tasks they need to, while designing more impactful marketing campaigns with proven ROI.
Ultimately, immersive marketing will take personalisation to the next level – which means content needs to work smarter, harder, and be more relevant
Marketers can manage digital assets across the entire lifecycle, from establishing a highly organised and scalable content library that is easily searchable, to enabling any team member to create content that meets brand guidelines through the simple use of templates. Through integrations and automation, DAM systems can also deliver digital assets to any channel, including the web, social networks and mobile, to facilitate immersive marketing experiences. Marketers can measure and improve content performance, to understand which piece of content worked best on which channel.
Immersed in the future
Digital marketing has come a long way in such a short time, and as new trends emerge, and consumer habits shift, brands are forced to adapt once again in the way they are telling stories. With today’s marketers under the spotlight when it comes to proving ROI, understanding the customer, and keeping up with digital trends, the key lies in arming them with the tools they need to tell better, more powerful stories that immerse consumers in the values of the brand.
Crucial to that goal is giving a DAM about how marketers approach content, because as American entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk said: “What you do after you create your content is what truly counts.”
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