Virtual reality (VR) is fast becoming actual reality.

Only a few decades ago, it seemed that VR would never come to be. The hardware needed was so extensive and the software so complex that it seemed like it would take eons for us to arrive at an affordable consumer product.

As costs for expensive hardware have steadily decreased and development time for software has shortened, however, prices for commercial VR products have gone down and consumer interest has gone up. PlayStation VR, Sony’s foray into the VR space, sold over 2 million units alone.

Although VR growth has slowed down in the past few years, it’s clear the market is here to stay. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift have posted numbers similar to PlayStation VR, selling millions of copies to consumers ready to adopt the technology. As a result, VR software production is also on the rise. In fact, Statista projects that the industry will grow to double its size in this year alone, ballooning to nearly $16 billion USD in total market value by 2020.

Before creating a marketing plan for your VR product, you’ll want to gather information about the consumers you believe would be interested in using it. Market research can be conducted in myriad ways. Looking up reports on consumers often isn’t enough, and you’ll want to supplement the stats, graphs, and figures you find with some tangible, in-depth research. When you’re zoning in on a target market, you’re building a full profile of your consumer. Marketing relies on social prowess as it is inherently a social process. This means you’re going to need more than just numbers to get the job done. In short, you really want to get to know your customers on a personal level, as they are going to be the lifeblood of your VR product.

You’ll want to know the websites that your target market visits, for example. In the case of VR, it’s a good idea to start following prominent tech magazines, video game developers, and software development communities. This includes news outlets like ITBusiness.ca, TNW, Engadget, and TechCrunch.

Exploring the VR communities within sites like Stack Overflow, GitHub, and the Unreal Engine’s VR and AR (augmented reality) development forums can also help you develop a better picture of your consumer. Read about the VR hardware they are using, what they have to say about it, the complaints they have, and the things they like about VR games and apps they’re using now. You might even find information that will help you better position and deploy your product based on their needs.

Gathering information is one of the biggest components of creating a successful marketing campaign. Another important component is presentation and creating exceptional design. This is because, in marketing, presentation is of the utmost importance. Superb graphic design and copywriting build credibility for your product. For this, you’ll want to look at what the large brands are doing within the tech industry. How does the HTC Vive market their product? What makes their marketing material, their images, their typography, their graphic design so alluring? Look to brands outside your industry as well. There’s a great deal to learn from fashion brands or emerging industries that mirror VR.

Courtesy HTC

Promoting your VR product requires that you know a little bit about your target market, the platform that you’re going to be publishing on, and the limits of the software product that you’ll be creating. It’s an undeniably arduous task. But with little research and some tenacity you’ll be able to pull it off.

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