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Virtual Reality devices and software are quickly gaining a foothold in the market, despite being a young technology. VR has the benefit of appealing to a very broad target audience, which contains children, teenagers, video gamers, mobile phone users, adults, people in the industry, and the others. Due to the numerous applications in both leisure and industry, as well as massive popularity with audiences of different ages, there is a chance that, in several years, evaluating the target audiences of Virtual Reality headsets, designed to immerse the user into the virtual world, will be as difficult as assessing the audience of computer monitors.
Most major software and game developers are either working on their versions of VR headsets, like Valve with their HTC Vive, Facebook with their subsidiary Oculus VR and their Oculus Rift headset, and Sony Interactive Entertainment with their Playstation VR, or are creating products to accommodate the emerging technology (games, films, 3D experiences) (“The Best VR Headsets: The Virtual Reality Race Is on” par.1-3).
And the response is already overly positive. Numerous reaction videos online show how people from different age groups react with wonder and joy to being exposed to the VR technology. In the article “7 Hilarious Reactions to Trying Virtual Reality for the First Time”, seven Time employees ranging from the early twenties to middle-aged, test the VR headset for the first time and adore it (Vella and Raab par.1). Other test uses show no less enthusiasm from both young and elderly users, showing just how immersive this new experience is. People describe the experience as “amazing”, “breathtaking”, “wow” and “I want one”, and showed an appreciation for the experience it could provide even if they usually were not interested in that kind of entertainment (Smith par.1-4).
However, the interest in this technology is not limited to gaming and leisure. While businesses are just beginning to integrate virtual reality devices into their enterprise plans, there are already several forays into this field. For example, many adult customers will appreciate a chance to explore IKEA furniture shops in virtual reality, without leaving the comfort of their home. Alternatively, the medical industry has created a VR app that simulates suffering the visual effects of a migraine.
For research, a program called Mechdyne has been designed, which allows researchers to place data in a 3D environment, for their comfort and for ease of finding patterns and trends in data, an easy, effortless visual organization of information, etc. (Patrizio par.1-4, 6-8, 15).
This once again shows just how big the potential target market is and how much the VR technology has to offer. This new market is still in its infancy, and the completion is not as impenetrable as it is in the console and computer markets. The principal barrier for many potentially interested customers would be the hefty prices, which can force even luxury-lovers to consider postponing making purchases. The top quality VR for consoles and PC costs appropriately.
This means that an alternative product, with similar functionality but more accessible could easily fill this niche. A VR extension for iPhone 6s has all the potential to fill that gap, as it would provide the benefits of Virtual Reality for both casual and business phone users. A different VR idea already in the market can help create an impression of a possible target market reaction to such a product.
VR apps are already being developed for smartphones, which the users can experience with the help of a cheap headset which uses the smartphone as the screen of the VR headset. The camera and sensors in the smartphone allow the app developers to create a 360 degrees experience that surrounds the user and creates the feeling of immersion, similar to full VR headsets (“The Best Smartphone Headsets for VR Apps” par.1-13).
Another benefit of an iPhone VR extension headset is that unlike headsets attached to consoles or personal computers, the proposed technology would be comfortably portable, allowing for flexibility of time and place of usage, something that big-name VR device cannot offer at the moment.
Several important points link the suggested target audiences with the iPhone 6s extension that is being discussed.
- Modern culture. The proposed extension is strongly reliant on the contemporary culture, as a set of values and ideals, to gain reports with its audiences. Many of the younger modern audiences define themselves through their usage of technology and being up-to-date with new developments. The VR extension would create new ways to interact with the already established smartphone culture.
- Brand. iPhone is an established brand with a large customer base, and Apple Inc. is recognized around the world as an innovative and reliable technology developer. The company’s target market is anticipating it to have a response to the new trends like VR, so it is safe to assume that a VR extension will be eagerly anticipated. This relies on both brand-loyal and brand-aware customers as a part of the target audience.
- Standardized and localized marketing strategies. One of the major benefits of iPhones and the proposed extension is that it is a platform for new culture-sensitive products, rather than such a product itself, This means that marketers can afford to standardize their marketing techniques while app developers would have to localize their campaigns and products to appeal to the local population. Most target audience customers are likely to recognize both the iPhone brand and the virtual reality headset function.
Culture, in particular, is a very useful tool for marketing the product to our target audiences. In modern culture, access to more expensive, premium, and prestigious technology is part of what defines the person’s location in the existing social structure. iPhones, particularly the latest models with the official add-ons, have always been a mark of luxury. Also, by the Rokeach Value Survey, we determined a set of instrumental values, desired end states, which we would like our customers to associate with our products, or which are relevant to our target customer audience. These qualities are ambitiousness, broad-mindedness, imaginativeness, and intellect, a sense of accomplishment, self-respect, and social recognition (Solomon 106).
In conclusion, modern customers are not only prepared but desire innovation that Virtual Reality technology offers. There are many ways in which existing devices, like smartphones, can be further augmented with VR to go beyond their original purposes and create entirely new human-technology interactions. It is also an area that will continue improving at a rapid pace, providing many new marketing opportunities, attracting new audiences with changes in design and functionality.
Lamkin, Paul. “The Best Smartphone Headsets for VR Apps.” Wareable. N.p., 2016. Web.
Lamkin, Paul. “The Best VR Headsets: The Virtual Reality Race Is on.” Wareable. n.p., 2016. Web.
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Patrizio, Andy. “Virtual Reality for Business: 9 Key Use Cases.” Datamation. QuinStreet Inc., 2016. Web.
Smith, Sherri L. “Most Insanely Awesome Virtual Reality Reactions.” Tom’s Guide. Purch, 2016. Web.
Solomon, Michael R. Consumer Behavior: Buying, Having, and Being. 11th ed. London: Pearson, 2014. Print.
Vella, Matt, and Josh Raab. “7 Hilarious Reactions to Trying Virtual Reality for the First Time.” Time. Time Inc., 2016. Web.