Virtual reality still seems far away, like a concept out of bad 90’s science fiction, but the genre has always been anchored by two premises: 1), the material uses exotic characters, locations, and technology to tell us something about contemporary life, and 2), there is an underlying scientific basis and plausibility that can predict future behavior or technology. 

Automated cars? Four states have laws permitting autonomous cars on public roads, and Google has a head start developing the technology. Computer watches? Dick Tracy had the first Apple Watch. Artificial intelligence? Instead of Skynet, we have Siri. These were at one time all thought of as far-fetched ideas that lived in the realm of science fiction but have become staples of our daily life.

One of the fun things about science fiction is the way writers and thinkers have either predicted or in some cases influenced the future. The excitement and anticipation over VR tells us a lot about the world now. People are hungry for immersive, interactive experiences. Examining the future trajectory of technology helps us understand how we can feed their demand with content today, and it’s not too late to start thinking about the implications that VR will have on marketing.

The widespread adoption of VR will create a market that is estimated to be in the $60 billion dollar range in about 10 years. Adrian Nitro of SapientNitro thinks the tech could be adopted by the masses as early as this holiday season. That timeframe seems a bit ambitious, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see VR arrive and catch on much earlier than expected.

Undoubtedly, VR tech will be a highly disruptive innovation. Traditional models of content marketing and media production will have to either be adapted, or in extreme cases, abandoned.

Presently, the United Nations is using a film called Clouds Over Sidra in a campaign to build empathy and support for vulnerable communities and refugees. The film has been described by many as being highly profound, affecting, and immersive.

Many tears have been shed while watching the infamous Sarah McLachlan ASPCA commercials, which proved to be a revolutionary campaign for the ASPCA. Can you imagine the impact of the material if it was presented in an immersive, virtual world?

VR doesn’t just evoke emotions; it enables your audience to have meaningful interactions with products, service, brands, and places in an immersive environment. This is where marketing theory comes in. Developing new methods and content strategies to take full advantage of this medium will be a challenge that we will all face. Mobile and web will be seen as complements to, and not substitutions to VR. In other words, it seems the technology will build off the existing base and take it to new levels.

Stay tuned to our blog for more information about the death of content marketing. In the meantime, check out our slideshow that provides a fantastic overview of the subject.

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