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    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…]

    Why Product & Brand Marketers Must Step Up Their Game in 2013

    Product and Brand Marketers Step Up Their Game in 2013 Well, you’ve survived the Mayans’ prediction and are heading into a new year!

    Here are some marketing must-dos to help you engage your consumers, supercharge your sales force and establish your brand as a go-to resource in the new year.

    Secure the Sale

    In 2013, real-time response and relevancy win. If you’re serious about sales, arm your customers with essential product information. Pronto.

    [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…]

    The Science of Distraction: Why Your Audience May Be Missing Your Message

    Remember the famous airport scene from the movie “Catch Me If You Can?” Legendary con man Frank Abagnale, Jr. successfully impersonates a PanAm pilot by surrounding himself with a bevy of beautiful would-be flight attendants.

    Incredibly, the master distracter strolls past dozens of police officers and G-Men actively searching for him. In real life, Abagnale executed this trick by hiding in plain sight as his pursuers focused on the lovely ladies and overlooked the criminal they were hunting.

    Intrigued by similar real-life accounts of mass distraction, neuroscientists Stephen L. Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde launched a thought-provoking study that confirmed what they’d already suspected — that viewers can be so distracted by faces that they miss what’s happening right in front of them. We found these results especially relevant in light of our previous blog post about onscreen talent and the way it can distract viewers when used in instructional videos.

    Shut Your Face

    When Macknik and Martinez-Conde began to explore the distraction phenomenon by studying magicians in Las Vegas, they were particularly interested in understanding how we can be so easily deceived by simple magic tricks— even though we know that magicians are out to trick us. It turns out all the magician has to do is divert our focus a bit.

    So what’s one of the most effective tools in the magician’s bag of tricks?

    His face.

    [Read more…]

    3 Reasons Onscreen Talent is a Bad Idea in Product Demos

    For traditional advertising and marketing, choosing to use onscreen talent or a spokesperson may indeed be spot on. After all, consumers can relate to them, warm up to them and feel motivated to go buy a product simply because of the personality and trust they can evoke.

    But, when it comes to helping customers with complex installation, instructions or in-depth product details, onscreen talent may actually hurt matters.

    Before booking talent for your product videos consider this…

    Myth #1: The best way to demonstrate complex product details is to use onscreen talent or spokespeople.

    Truth: In instructional videos – such as product demos or “how to” tutorials – the use of talent can actually confuse or even frustrate the viewer.

    Why? On any media platform, your talent’s physical presence can block important product details from your consumer’s line of sight.

    [Read more…]

    Will Printed Instructions Slow Down Your Product’s Success?

    As a savvy product manager, chances are you run a tight ship when it comes to new product launches.

    Your company’s strategists carefully research the concept’s viability. Your engineers translate it into an appealing prototype. Production delivers on time and on budget. The marketing campaign rolls out as planned, just prior to launch.

    Under your watchful eye, the entire product development team pulls together and meets all launch targets. Voila! Success!

    Sales begin to grow. Momentum is building. You’re a Product Management rock star.

    Then suddenly, reports start trickling in about increasing rates of returns and consumer complaints.

    Yikes. What went wrong?

    With any product launch, potential risks always exist.

    Almost 75% of newly-launched consumer goods and retail products fail. – Harvard Business Review Tweet It!

    Sometimes, an obvious culprit is the one most often overlooked: customers just don’t understand how to install or use your product. You included a manual, you say? Guess what? That may no longer be enough.

    [Read more…]