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    14 Reasons Why Homebuilders Must Invest in Mobile [Infographic]

    14 Reasons Homebuilders Must Invest In MobileWe already know home buyers have gone mobile, but we also know the amount of time people are spending on mobile devices is increasing. This means homebuilders must have a mobile strategy in place to provide the information new home buyers are looking for.

    A recent joint study conducted by Google and the National Association of Realtors uncovered the following eye-opening facts about today’s new home buyers:

    • 89% use a mobile search engine
    • 68% use mobile applications
    • 51% read general home information
    • 48% get directions to visit a home
    • 44% compare prices

    Plus, with Millenials having the highest smartphone penetration rates, homebuilders looking to attract these future home buyers need to pay attention.

    Creating the Best Mobile Experience for Home Buyers

    To establish a competitive edge, your mobile site needs to be:

    • Mobile-friendly
    • App-friendly
    • Easy to navigate – especially for mobile users searching for important info like directions and new home prices

    See why homebuilders must invest in mobile…

    [Read more…]

    10 More Uses for 3D Content

    Uses for 3D ContentWe’ve all done it. You come up with a great concept, create outstanding content, post it on your site, kick back and wait for the business to roll in. But are you doing enough?

    With so much content fighting for so many eyeballs, it’s not enough to just post it and forget about it. You need to make sure your best content gets in front of your customers, sales team and partners.

    Creating a plan to effectively distribute your content takes time, but also gives you the most bang for your buck.

    So stop hoarding your best content and get planning.

    10 places to distribute your 3D content:

    1) Your Website (on the Right Pages)

    Don’t limit publishing to product pages. Customers likely search for product information on your Help, Customer Service, and FAQ sections.

    Prominently feature new products and product lines on the home page for maximum visibility. 3D set shots like those used by RODA by Basco make a lasting first impression, especially when placed above the fold.

    RODA's home page

    Screenshot of RODA‘s home page which prominently features 3D set shots from MediaLab.

    [Read more…]

    Are You Hoarding Your Best Content?

    Sharing ContentSo you’ve created visual product content that tells your story best. Content that literally gets inside your product to show customers how it works and why it’s better than the competition. Content that answers customers’ problems and helps them see the product in action. Content that helps them install, maintain or troubleshoot. You’re happy. The Marketing department is happy. Your boss is pleased. But what about the customer? Are they even seeing it?

    Don’t Be a Content Hoarder

    Great content needs to be shared. High-quality product images, set shots, instructional animations, 360° spinners, and interactive tools weren’t designed to languish on one lonely page of one website. So, don’t just post it on your website, check it off the list, and then forget about it.

    Why Hoarding Hurts Sales

    How much do you think your buyers research your product before deciding to buy?

    In 2010, shoppers needed 5.3 sources of information before making a purchase decision. By 2011, that number had climbed to 10.4, and it’s still going up.Jay Baer, Content Marketing World 2013

    And, we’re not talking about a salesperson chatting them up here. We’re talking actual research, down and dirty, checking out every detail of your product and backing their decision with solid information.

    Think you’ve got it covered by packing your company site with that fantastic product content? According to the stats above, you’re lucky if your site is even 1/10th of the equation.

    To meet the consumer during every step of their research, you must aggressively and exhaustively distribute your product content. [Read more…]

    3 iBeacon Best Practices for In-Store Product Marketing

    beacon

    An Estimote beacon; Attender.com

    Apple’s latest technological marvel, iBeacon, has the potential to change in-store product marketing forever. It enables push mobile marketing by using stationary sensors to pinpoint the location of a smartphone and proactively send information to it. The technology behind the beacons works with a store’s mobile apps, integrating location and other data to enhance the shopping experience. It’s already been deployed in Apple stores, and adopted by Estimote and the app Shopkick.

    How iBeacon Stacks Up to Current Tech

    1. Better indoor location awareness. Unlike GPS, which pings satellites and is notoriously unreliable indoors, iBeacon uses stationary indoor transmitters to detect mobile devices moving in and out of range. Even areas that were previously considered phantom zones with poor cell reception can be “geofenced” to detect mobile users anywhere from inches to yards away. [Read more…]

    Product Marketing’s Virtual Age: 12 Practical Uses of Augmented Reality

    dreamstime_xs_106630_AR_MirrorOne of the most talked about technologies on the virtual horizon is Augmented Reality (AR). Augmented Reality overlays the viewer’s real time environment with digital information, thus augmenting his or her reality. In some applications it applies a virtual layer of data and images over the live scene like informational popups. In other cases it pulls 3D objects and animations into the viewer’s environment (or casts the viewer into a virtual environment) to create a more immersive experience. It’s not brand new but as its capabilities and quality have grown, so have its applications to marketers.

    Here are just a few of the ways it’s already being used:

    In-Home Product Previews

    AR_AugmentApp_TabletPreview

    Mashable at South by Southwest® Interactive (SXSWi) with the creator of Augment. Click to play.

    1. Consumer Product Previews

    Augmented Reality lets online and catalog shoppers view 3D products at home at actual size and in photorealistic detail. This video by Mashable at South by Southwest® Interactive (SXSWi) shows the Augment app creator previewing a tablet in the palm of his hand and placing and arranging furniture.

    [Read more…]

    3 Emerging Techs Show How 3D Will Outperform Photography in the Virtual Age

    dreamstime_xs_2731401_binaryroadIt’s fast becoming a digital world as yesterday’s sci-fi fantasies become a reality – or, at least a virtual reality. Surveying the emerging technologies, one can’t help but note how many are aimed at delivering augmented, simulated and digitally connected experiences – in most cases, right from user’s smartphone or tablet.

    With rich opportunities for product marketers and even real estate sales, it’s time to start thinking 3D. Simply put, 3D product images and objects position innovative marketers to leverage these new technologies where traditional photography can’t.

    Here are three such technological places, which we’ll explore in greater detail over our next few posts.

    1. Augmented Reality

    AR_AugmentApp_FurniturePreviewAugmented Reality (AR) overlays the viewer’s real time environment with digital information – or, in some cases, casts the viewer into a virtual environment.

    In our next post, we’ll dive into AR and some examples of how it’s already being used, including:

    [Read more…]

    Product Imaging: Why 3D Images Trump Digital Photography

    3D Product Imaging

    3D set shot made using 3D product imaging

    If you’ve ever done product imaging old school (aka, digital photography), you know it can mean long days or weeks sourcing product, finding the right materials, building the sets, finding the right location and ambience for displaying the product, and creating the mood. And that’s all before the photographer starts shooting. And when that finally happens you can only hope you nailed the colors, lighting, angles, and décor so you won’t have to do this all over again.

    What if, instead, you could display that product in any location, with any décor, in any lifestyle or setting without pouring out significant amounts of time, money, and other resources?

    Many companies are doing exactly that with photorealistic 3D imaging — a concept catching on with manufacturers of all sizes and types of products. This technology provides cost savings, flexibility, and a new way to leave the competition standing still. Sure, digital photography still has its place in product imaging, but that niche is getting smaller with every advance in 3D imaging technology.

    Ditch the Expense

    The fact is that computer generated 3D product images cost less than digital photographsboth in dollars and logistical headaches.

    [Read more…]

    360° Product Spinners “Cover All Angles” of What Online Shoppers Want

    What consumers want in online product images isn’t new but the methods and challenges of delivery are ever-evolving, leaving some online retailers playing catch-up.

    What Online Shoppers Want

    Since 2003, consumers have been asking for alternate product views, zooms and video and have now come to expect those as standard features. Over the last few years, the e-tailing group has also noted an uptick in demand for product image features like 3D, color change and the ability to view the product in a simulated room environment.

    The stats:

    etailing_group_findings

    Attempts to Deliver

    NikeProdImage

    Interactive product image of the “Nike Free 5.0+” women’s running shoe from Nike.com

    Top brands and retailers have responded to consumer demands in varying degrees. For example, Nike lets shoppers view shoes from 4 angles and zoom in to see design details. Walmart and Zappos provide multiple zoom-enabled images to toggle between product color variants. They also show some products in action through recorded demonstration video.

    [Read more…]

    4 Reasons Animation is Superior When Teaching a Process

    Recently, Ruth Clark, a specialist in instructional design and training, challenged the use of animation when teaching a process — for example, how a toilet flushes or how brakes work.

    Clark referenced an experiment comparing animation with still images. The experiment begs the questions:

    • What type of animation was used?
    • How well was that animation designed?

    While Clark claims that animations “risk imposing too much mental load,” we suspect that the research is referring to Flash-based video rather than interactive instructional animation where the user can control the time frame and order in which information is presented. And, of course, the quality of the animation could easily impact the effectiveness.

    Well-designed instructional animations (especially interactive) are effective in demonstrating processes for several reasons: [Read more…]

    QR Codes, After the Sale [Infographic]

    After the Sale: Using QR Codes to Deliver on Product PromisesThere’s a lot of hype around QR codes as one-click sales and marketing tools. And we’ve seen a ton of executions aimed at wooing consumers before the sale – links to promotional content, online reviews, slick branding videos and landing pages.

    But what about after you’ve gotten the customer to fall in love with your product and take it home?

    Here’s where consumers get left in the lurch – feeling frustrated, abandoned and on their own. Confusing printed instruction manuals leave them with questions. User error leads to lack of confidence in the product (and the brand). Improper assembly leads to product damage. And, all of that confusion and frustration leads to customer service calls, complaints and returns.

    Keeping the customer satisfied is as critical as securing the initial sale.

    QR codes that deliver instructional animation help boost customer satisfaction and reduce service incidents and returns. Animation makes “how-to” steps simple and surpasses video in its demonstrative ability. Easy access to guided instructions via QR code and a mobile device, puts help on-hand to squelch customer frustrations the very moment they arise. When done well, QR codes can head off consumer frustration altogether by following through on the promises made before the sale.

    [Read more…]