The Tools That Allow Businesses to Know What Their Customers Want For Lunch

By now, American consumers are becoming familiar with the concept of virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality. The technology is the driving force behind some of the most popular products on the market right now like Amazon’s Echo device or the Google Home smart speaker.

Customers are loving them. Alexa has become as much of a household name as Siri over the last year, and data shows in the next two years, 75 percent of households will own one of these smart devices.

It is clear how the popularity is driving consumer interest, but how are businesses utilizing this technology to help market their own products to the most people in the most effective way?

One of the most successful use cases of virtual reality boosting a company’s marketing campaign involves 360-degree VR videos. The airline Cathay Pacific launched an interactive 360-degree advertisement which gave smartphone users an up-close and virtual look at its business class lounge, cabins, and what the airport experience looks like. The results showed a significant gain in favorability, unaided awareness, and preference for the airline.

Artificial intelligence is helping companies make smarter, more current advertisements to engage with customers better. Fast food giant Subway recently experimented with AI in its own marketing campaigns. Collaborating with IBM’s Watson and its WeatherFX platform, Subway custom-curated advertisements based on the weather of the intended target area. For example, during long heat spells, Subway would avoid promoting options like hot soups and sandwiches.

What Subway’s marketing team saw was a 53 percent reduction in marketing campaign waste and a 31 percent increase in store traffic.

The timeless adage of “knowing your customer” has never been more apparent than now. The only difference now is the means and methods by which companies get to understand the patterns and behaviors of their customer bases. The technology itself is becoming cheaper to use and increasingly more effective throughout sectors of business, from job training to marketing. VR, AR, and AI will continue to make their presence known to consumers and businesses alike.


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