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Augmented Reality the Future of Local Business Marketing?

Marketing, Mobile Marketing | 18 Jan 2011

Imagine yourself driving down the street with your cell phone attached to your front window like a GPS. In the view finder is the video images your cell phone is capturing in real time, and layered on top of those images are all the local pizza restaurants within a 5 mile radius. 2 miles ahead is Joe’s pizza. It comes highly recommended through yelp and other online sources so you think you’ll give it a try. You select it, choose to get directions, then the pizza shop images morph into arrows and steer you to Joe’s just like your old GPS. “Turn right here, turn left there, open parking spot in 100 feet,” and just like that, you’re guided to the best pizza joint in town.

This is Augmented Reality, and many professional marketers are calling it the future to mobile marketing. Augmented reality is a field of technology that blends real world data with computer generated data. Graphics are superimposed onto real footage to give the viewer information about their surroundings as dictated by their search parameters.

Initially, Augmented Reality (or AR) was a technology that was designed for the military. Soldiers were proposed to wear “terminator-esque” glasses that could give them up to date information on the enemy superimposed upon the actual battlefield. But today Augmented Reality is doing much more than helping the military, it has hit the mainstream public market in force and it is expected to increase exponentially over the next several years.

Perhaps the best thing about Augmented Reality is that it gives marketers a whole new venue to reach their audience. As mobile phone applications become more widespread interactive software is increasing in demand. According to one study, the profits for augmented reality were about 2 million dollars in 2010, but are expected to catapult to $714 million within the next few years, and increase continually as the technology reaches its maturity.

This year we’re going to see online marketers target the individual more than the whole, and the way they do it is through cell phones. Marketers will personalize the consumers brand experience by catering to their likes and dislikes according to past searches and feedback. For example, if a person who typically enjoys vegetarian options was searching for a local restaurant, then “Joe’s Pizza” may be replaced with something more suitable to his/her specific tastes, with coupons and special offers listed when available.

One can only imagine the potential for online marketers when it comes to Augmented Reality. From brands that create Augmented Reality experiences on the boxes of their competitors, to local businesses that give a free burger to a customer who can win an AR game of chess on the board painted on their window, the true power of Augmented Reality is yet to be seen. With all things considered, the question isn’t whether AG will be a game changer for mobile marketing; it’s who’s smart enough to use now to get the edge on their competition. To learn more about this amazing new technology, Click Here.

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