OMD Insiders Intelligence: Synthetic Marketing & It’s Consumer Value
24 July 2023

Synthetic Marketing & It’s Consumer Value

Augmented World Expo 2023 Recap by Julie Galender

This year, I had the pleasure of attending the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, CA. AWE is a thought-leader event focused on emerging technology within the spatial computing sector. Tech leaders from across the globe attend to discuss new trends pertaining to topics such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR/XR), artificial intelligence (AI), bio-interfaces, haptics, 5G, streaming, etc. The conference aims to inspire a community of tech professionals, innovators, startups, creators, and developers.

Since 2010, AWE has hosted over 5,000 companies and 60,000 professionals in the heart of Silicon Valley – all eager to connect and learn of new spatial computing opportunities that could help grow their business.

This year, four key themes stood out:

Takeaway #1: Tech Unlocking Imagination

We ultimately turn to technology to find creative ways to optimize our time and engage with content that inspires and entertains.

Simply put, the application of tech in our day-to-day lives is elevating our creative expression for how we share and create stories (e.g., AR filters), for how we experience and purchase brands (e.g., virtual try-ons), it’s unlocking new spaces for interactive ways of working (e.g., VR work/meeting spaces).

As technology becomes more embedded in our lives and we grow accustomed to applying it, the tech itself (hardware and/or software) that enables the experience blends into the background. Thus, the novelty of the tech begins to fade and evolve. For example, the evolution of computers. Since computers’ infancy, they’ve been a tool for creating and organizing information. With time, the hardware of a computer has decreased in size, and its software computing power has sped up, thus, becoming a portable tool for creative expression and connection (i.e., the smartphone).

Takeaway #2: Connecting Without Limits

A company called Sightful took on the challenge of the 2D screen to introduce their “Spacetop” – the world’s first AR laptop device with 3D AR capabilities and automated privacy.

Sightful truly leans into the notion of ‘technology disappearing’ by creating a 100-inch laptop that fits in a bag and provides solutions to enhance work flexibility.

The week following AWE, Apple gave its annual keynote presentation announcing its VisionPro spatial computer headset. This not only tackles solutions for the future of work but also offers personal and entertainment solutions.  It’s wild to think about Google Glass being released eight years ago and to see the progression that has been made since that release. Limitless connection to family, friends, and peers is being amplified with more spatial computing tools entering the market.

Takeaway #3: Augmented Marketing

The evolution of tech has shaped the future of advertising, especially as AR/VR technologies continue to evolve and reshape consumer experiences. At AWE, AR/VR tech advancements featured AR/VR tracking improvements, data analytics, and user engagement. With more data points captured, brands’ marketing approaches can uniquely engage and captivate key audiences based on user interactions and preferences with contextually relevant advertising experiences.

From an advertising perspective, the use of AR provides an opportunity to create a strong brand identity and convey compelling narratives to targeted audiences. Brands recognize immersive storytelling holds the potential to captivate viewers in new and exciting ways. However, as marketers venture into the augmented reality space for storytelling and brand building, it’s important to be alert to obstacles that could be encountered.

Despite technological advancements, the true power of advertising and impactful storytelling still resides in creative ideas. One thought-provoking discussion at AWE illuminated the complexities of realistically implementing AR into media campaigns.

Key barriers of entry that emerge when navigating this new world include:

  • A need to simplify complex technology
  • Scaling costs for early adopters and enthusiasts
  • Measuring the success of paid views, view rates, and user interactions
    • Plus, ensuring the collected data is actionable

Solutions for these barriers are being worked on through companies like Squars. Before we know it, these barriers will be eliminated, and immersive storytelling will be attainable for all.

Takeaway #4: Shopability

Building on the idea of better consumer experiences, the company VNTANA showed the adaption of digital twins in consumer retail.  COVID-19 accelerated the need for a 3D buying experience. Businesses that have incorporated digital-3D product imagery within their eCommerce channels have seen online conversion rates double and a reduction in product returns, also helping decrease the company’s carbon footprint.

3D modeling can also be used for machine learning inputs and offer an interactive feedback loop. We see this being utilized more and more. We’re now able to increase the accessibility of the consumer shopping experience and communicate with consumers more timely. Consumers can now look at 3D models to confirm if the product is true to size and examine product features they care about the most.

In closing, as spatial computing advancements continue to elevate consumer expectations for how they learn, engage, and purchase products and/or services – brands who choose to lean in are building equity and positioning themselves for a stronger consumer value experience.



Julie Galender

Associate Director, Integrated Media Planning at OMD USA & OMD RedTalks West Coast Regional Lead

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