Extended reality (XR) is rapidly growing as a go-to strategy for marketers looking to embrace new technological advancements. Caspar Thykier, co-founder and chief exec at Zappar, breaks down the process of investing in and implementing new tech.
Over the past couple of years, the XR industry has rapidly developed in terms of technology and business adoption. The market is set to hit a value of $1,005.9bn by 2030 (PR Newswire), so many businesses want to understand where they fit within the next billion-dollar market.
There are many different opportunities to carve a path in this space, but the question is where to start. We look at planning, establishing a team, building momentum and results for getting you started.
1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
The introduction of new technology can be overwhelming. The frameworks, processes and rules are still being defined in XR.
So before diving in, make sure your objectives are clearly defined. Consider whether XR will help you to build new business models, create better relationships with consumers or enable digital transformations within the business.
After compiling your objectives and setting your SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound), the practical groundwork begins. During your preparation stage, think about XR holistically within your business. Consider how it drives long-term business objectives and impacts different departments.
Be agile, start small and test regularly to build momentum and keep projects moving forward. This will allow for the necessary pivots as you gain insights through analysis.
2. Assembling your XR dream team
Your XR dream team needs to be centralized; they need to focus on XR across multiple verticals in your organization.
They should be made up of two halves – your stakeholders and your support. Your stakeholders are people in the team who construct and launch the strategy – often across marketing, manufacturing, R&D and e-commerce. The support team provides everything the stakeholders need to keep things moving – HR, procurement, legal and IT.
To source and assemble this team, you can create and run the team internally. Create an internal studio and bring your creative and development capabilities in-house for agility and to ensure you are running off smaller resource and licensing costs long term. There may be a larger upfront cost – and sourcing strong talent in a competitive market can also be challenging.
You could alternatively leverage established and innovative tech leaders to form partnerships. Through working with industry leaders, you’ll drive higher recognition and internal buy-in, which comes at a cost but is an investment.
You could also lean on a team of SMEs, project managers and architects to lead your strategy. Although they are best-placed handling multiple verticals and disseminating learnings beholden to budget schedules, they can oversee consistent buy-in from the rest of the business necessary for executing projects.
3. Building the momentum
Getting people on side is key.
Securing internal buy-in will support the business as a whole and set it up for success. Take a storytelling-first approach; hard numbers and technology aren’t enough for convincing internal stakeholders or decision makers to buy into your vision. Understand their perspective.
Secondly, work on fostering adoption outside of your business. Not all factors will be within your control, but you can invest in research and create benchmarks to meet by comparing the advantages of XR against alternative options. Fund or champion promising projects and initiatives within the space and build your tribe from there. Raising the profile of others pushing the industry forward will lead to possible partnerships.
4. Did it work?
If you want to track and measure your success with your XR strategy, lean on established frameworks such as SMART goals or OKRs (objectives and key results).
XR needs to link to tangible business outcomes.
If you’re a retail brand wanting to communicate a brand story on-pack across X million products, your solution could be a QR code on-pack with an embedded augmented reality (AR) experience. The measures of success could include scan rates, dwell time, engagement, click-through and links to business outcomes.
Highlight what went well and where there is room for improvement.
Embedding new technologies into your business requires embracing a test-and-learn culture. Since the early days of social media to XR strategies today, there’s always been an attitude of ‘start small, think big.’
When starting with your XR strategy, build in frameworks for measuring success; it’s essential to know what you want to achieve before you set out on the journey.