Reality marketing uses interactive technology to engage consumers in virtual reality scenarios that highlight the firm's product or services. Advertising campaigns that incorporate reality marketing techniques could feature interactive billboards, mobile phone applications, video games and web-based interaction. Using social media as a "sharing" tool among game and scenario participants is another vital aspect of reality marketing.
The concept of reality marketing is based on the idea of being non-intrusive and gaining permission from the consumer. Instead of traditional media, which "forces" the consumer to notice or listen to an advertising message, permission marketing is initiated by the consumer in some fashion. An example of permission marketing is when a customer submits his contact information to a company online and agrees to receive promotional newsletters and product samples in the mail.
With a reality marketing campaign, firms take the idea of permission marketing to a higher level. Interactive technology is used to subtly deliver the firm's advertising message. Consumers might use a mobile phone application to access an online game that teaches them about the different flavors of an ice cream company's product line. There may be rewards involved in playing the game, such as coupons or points towards future purchases.
Another example of interactive advertising is the idea that consumers can upload photos of themselves on fashion and beauty websites. Once the photo is uploaded, consumers can virtually experiment with different wardrobes, hair styles and hair colors. Links to other websites may be integrated into these virtual experiments. The websites help close the sale on purchases related to the clothing or hair color the customer "tried on" during her experience.
Car companies have implemented campaigns where customers are able to virtually "test drive" their vehicles. Some of these campaigns may add an element of competition by entering the names of the "best drivers" into a sweepstakes. Mobile applications have also been used to give customers access to special one-time products if they participate in an offline scavenger hunt. These events usually involve having the customer experience the company's retail locations face-to-face.
Some television programs and cable companies are incorporating the idea of interactive advertising techniques. Subscribers to digital cable may see interactive messages on their television screens during programming or commercials. Advertising messages prompt the subscribers to press certain buttons on their remotes to respond and interact with the commercial.
The goal of reality marketing is to encourage purchases through a personalized, fun experience. Consumers shouldn't feel as though they are being exposed to blatant advertising messages or being forced to purchase a certain product. While they certainly prompt the customer, the majority of interactive advertising techniques are customer driven.