Category Archives: Blog

Creating Greater Value And Returning ROI With Your Promotional Products

How to Get the Greatest ROI from Your Promotional Products

Austin, Texas: This past week, I have been walking around the various SXSW showcases, booths and musical venues in Austin, Texas – and noticed a ton of promotional swag being given out at many booths, venues, events, etc.

I love it-as our company, Geek Tech Branding, sells cool promotional swag and there were over 20 companies using our promotional products as incentives and give-aways this week.

However, it pains me to see how few companies are maximizing the effectiveness of their promotional swag dollars.

All people like promotional products. People will stand in line for cool promotional gifts. People will sign up on websites, fill out forms, take surveys, participate in forums and sit through a seminar to get cool promotional swag.

…So why are so many companies just handing out swag at these events without getting any ROI? I just don’t get it.

Just yesterday, I was handed earbuds, 2 stylus pens, 1 bottle opener, a pair of logo sunglasses, 4 foam koozies, 3 microfiber cloths and a silicone i-phone wallet– at various events–without ANYONE asking for anything in return.

I get that you brought along 5,000 promotional items and you want to hand them all out so you don’t have to lug them home.

But why not get people to get immersed in your brand for an extra moment before handing out the swag?

Get them to fill out a survey, hear about your latest features, sign up for a free trial, taste your new energy bar, play with your new device and give you the first thought that comes to mind, ask their opinion, Like your Facebook page, etc.

Make them do something in exchange for your cool promotional swag– and they will value it it more, post about it on social media platforms more often– and feel more connected to your brand.  You also get their permission to follow up for the future-whether it be just to get them onto your Facebook page, email list, questionnaire–get their contact information for future correspondence.

By doing a quid pro quo – or exchanging cool promotional swag in exchange for information– you will maximize the return on your promotional marketing dollars, while extending the reach of your brand.

Don’t be afraid to ask for something in return.  You will be pleasantly surprised at what extent people will jump through hoops to get some cool promotional swag.

Happy Promoting!


Monthly Newsletter

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Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses  and improve their branding.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power chargers and power sticks, imprinted Bluetooth speakers and promotional ear buds, custom printed tablet sleeves,  branded iPhone cases, imprinted USB car chargerspromotional stylus pens, promotional USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Understanding Acquisition Costs and Lifetime Value of a Customer

How Much is a Loyal Customer Worth to You?

determining lifetime value of a customerAustin, Texas: What is a loyal customer worth to you?

Before you answer that question, you  would need to do an analysis to determine not just the value in a year, but over the lifetime value of that customer.  You may also want to build in referral value from that customer, if you get a great deal of your business from referrals, as most of us do.

Once you remove costs to service this client, you have a pretty good idea of the average lifetime value of a regular customer–and hopefully you can run your numbers to gauge the lifetime value of a loyal customer.

Once this number is established, you can determine maximum acquisition cost for trying to attract each of these customers.

Know that exact figure and post it on your wall and on your computer — as it will determine your spend on all marketing efforts to attract AND retain your customers.

Now, when you budget your Google AdWords and your SEO strategies, your trade show budget, your promotional item expenditure, sales and service costs, Holiday gifts, follow up expenses, etc.– you will have a more accurate number in mind.

I get dozens of calls per week where my client has no idea of their what they want to spend on their promotional gifts for an up-coming trade show or for Holiday gifts.

Often I hear something like, “What is the cheapest power bank you have?” or ” Do you have any real cheap earbuds we can hand out?”

When I ask for a budget, many are ill prepared for it.  To help narrow things down for them, I may then ask about the goal for the promotional item, what the lifetime value of a good customer is, how they will be tracking these leads, and many are even less prepared for these questions.

Why give the “cheapest” gift if the lifetime value of a customer is at a substantial number? Will that impress them or make them think more highly of your brand?

What does a cheap gift say about your company in the first place?

I have written extensively on the fact that not all customers and prospects are equal–and thus should not be treated the same way.

Determine the lifetime value of a good customer and work backwards to see how you can  attract more customers like this, get more referrals from them and retain more of them.

Good numbers don’t lie. Value those clients that bring you the most potential and realized profits — and spend to acquire more just like them.

Happy Promoting!


Monthly Newsletter

———————————————————-

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses  and improve their branding.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power chargers and power sticks, imprinted Bluetooth speakers and promotional ear buds, custom printed tablet sleeves,  branded iPhone cases, imprinted USB car chargerspromotional stylus pens, promotional USB drives and hubs and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

7 Marketing Trends for the Coming Year

7 Trends in Marketing and Branding for 2017

Austin, TexaMarketing Trends for 2017s: As the year winds down, I have noticed several trends that have been developing that I’d like to  note. Here are seven trends in marketing that are here to stay for next year and beyond:

    1. Social Media is Still a Strong Method of Marketing: Some of the go-to apps might have changed and the demise of Vine was a bit surprising, but as people continue to use their smartphones for more and more tasks, as well as for entertainment, it is imperative to keep testing, and trying to master, a handful of apps–both the “popular” ones as well as new ones.  You just don’t know which ones are going to stick, so if you want to be considered a thought leader or market leader, it pays to be active on at least 3-4 types of social media apps and double down on them for success.
    2. Trade Shows are Still a Very Cost-Effective Way to Reach Clients and Prospects: Each year there is talk that marketers are going to stop exhibiting at and attending trade shows– but that is just not the case. Most of our clients are still exhibiting at their tried and true conventions and trade shows–and many are even doing more than ever.  Although I was not able to get 2016 trade show statistics, the industry publication Trade Show Executive states that in 2015,  the retention rate of exhibitors from year to year at 76% while the retention rate of exhibit space sold was an impressive 78%. In addition, 44% of first-time exhibitors were satisfied enough to sign on for the next edition of their respective events.
    3. Influencer Marketing is Strong: People trust thought leaders, celebrities, actors, models, rappers, athletes and others that they follow on social media.  If they promote your brand, in a blog, tweet or by being photographed using it– instant credibility can be won.  But remember, this is a two-edged sword and the public is fickle. However, influencer marketing can get you immediate followers and sales if done correctly–or, sometimes, if you are just lucky.
    4. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Will be Huge..Soon.  I’ve written a few articles on the topic of virtual reality and we have sold tens of thousands of virtual reality headsets with branded logos–but I still think VR is a few years ahead of its hype. These two trends will change how we view media, how we experience our media, etc.  I think it is just around the corner…and the pioneering companies will be at VR 2.0 before most of us have even gotten into VR 1.0–giving them a huge advantage.
    5. People Still Love Swag and its ROI is Second to None. Well, actually, according to ASI’s 2016 Impressions Study, the cost per impression of a promotional product is .007 cents – or 7/10 of a penny–making it tied with spot radio ads and internet advertising as the lowest cost way to reach your target audience. And, unlike the other forms of advertising, promotional products are not interruption marketing–meaning they do not come in between your favorite songs or sports broadcast to interrupt you with its message–making it seen in a more positive light.
    6. Too Many People are Looking for Shortcuts to Success: It is a shame that a commitment to success takes a lot of time and effort – but the rewards for long-term gains are well worth it.  I think there are too many gurus out there preaching 4-hour work weeks and the outsourcing of everything. All sound nice in theory–but it is the doing of things others would rather not do and persistence and consistency in your marketing and branding that will give you the greatest chance of success.
    7. Everyone Has a Voice and an Opinion: As the 2016 Presidential election forecasts have revealed, nobody has a crystal ball. People like to listen to pundits and experts to tell them what to do, how to act, where to spend their media budget, what investments to make, etc. — but they are just delegating to someone who is as clueless as the next person. It is time to quit passing the buck and start making and owning decisions based on your own instincts, education, knowledge and intuition.

I hope you have found this list interesting and a starting point for a successful 2017.

2016 has been another fun, exciting and prosperous year for our company– and we are very grateful to have such a long list of happy and satisfied clients that have been with us for this amazing ride as we just celebrated our 6oth anniversary in business.

Here’s to a successful new year!

Monthly Newsletter

———————————————————-

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events–including custom printed power banks, flying drones, Bluetooth speakers, wireless earbuds and more.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We just finished celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller works with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, high-tech startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses  and improve their branding.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality gogglesembroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargerspromotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Top Year End Review Tips to Boost Your Business for the Coming Years

Setting and Evaluating Business and Marketing Goals for Next Year

setting business goals for the coming year

Austin, Texas: As this year winds to an end, I try to take a few days away from the office to review our company’s performance — as well as to finalize marketing plans for the following year.

This time of reflection allows me to really dive into how our company performed – and I encourage everyone else to go through the same deep thought process alone –then with your marketing team– but away from the distractions of phone calls, text messages, tweets, snaps, etc.

Some of the ideas I try to ponder include:

  • What was our biggest accomplishment this year?     Can we replicate it? Was it a one-off project or happenstance? Was it one of our priorities from last year’s end of year review?
  • What was our biggest failure or short-coming? How could we have avoided it? Was it an external or internal issue? Do we need to address this issue for the coming year or has it been fully taken care of?
  • What are our top 3 objectives for the coming year?  How will they be implemented? By whom? What budget is needed? What time frame? What are the first 5 steps to achieving this goal? What is the first and most critical step?  Who will oversee each project or goal? Who do they report to?
  • What is the one Big Hairy Audacious Goal we’d like to shoot for? This is the one thing that we cannot count on – but if we accomplished it, would take us to new and greater heights.  Who will head this up? How many resources will be devoted to this project? What are the first 5 steps to masking this goal a reality? What will be the trigger to tell us to either turn back or keep going?
  • What social media app will we double down and dominate next year? Will it be Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook Live – or something else? How much time and money will be devoted to this resource so that you don’t just dip your toes into it–but go into it 100% and establish a market leader position? Who will head this project up and why did you choose that person? What metrics will you assign to this social media marketing project – and how will you avoid hindering it when sales goals are not too immediate or even measurable?
  • What social media app will you scale back from? Are you still tweeting away without  any followers or retweets? Are you blogging like crazy but only your spouse, mom and direct reports read it?  Choose one social media app to back away from – and use those resources to double down on the one mentioned above that you will crush.
  • What were your most effective and least effective trade shows this past year?  What made them so? Were there extenuating circumstances that either made it great or a bust– such as weather, the venue or city itself, your staff, your product or service offering itself, your marketing message, timing, new competitor, booth position, traffic flow, etc.?  Consider all these circumstances and then pull out of your least profitable show and devote those resources either to a different trade show that you had been meaning to exhibit at, a larger booth at your best trade show– or toward other marketing and branding opportunities.  Just because you’ve exhibited at a trade show for 25 consecutive years does not mean year 26 should be in your cards. Ask yourself why are you even still at that show? Evaluate and run your numbers and be willing to cut the cord on the least profitable shows.
  • Take time to evaluate your staff and team to see who was most productive, who had the most impact in considering and suggesting alternative marketing ideas, who was most creative – and then reward them and encourage others to follow suit. Are you implementing an idea box where most creative ideas and suggestions are rewarded? How quickly do you implement or test new suggestions? How open are you to out-of-the-box thinking?
  • Then, be introspective and evaluate yourself. This is often the hardest, yet most beneficial part of the analysis. Be honest with yourself. What was your personal biggest accomplishment of the year? Your biggest  failure?  What new ideas did you bring to the table this year? What social media app did you learn to use this year that you never or barely had used the previous year? Where do you see the company in the next 1 year? 3 years 5 years? 10 years?– and what do you envision your role in the company will be at that time?  How will you be prepared to help its growth? What new blogs, podcasts, classes, meetups or online courses have you been immersed in this past year to expand your thoughts?  Are you a sponge for new ideas or are you too quick to say “no” as a reflex? Do you stick to “tried and true” ideas without noticing that your competitors are encroaching on your turf with newer and better ways and ideas? Are you constantly trying to put your company out of business with something better? Most industries are changing very rapidly and it seems to be the upstarts that are (or will be) encroaching on your old business model.  Instead of defending the old ways, isn’t it better that your own company replaces your existing one–rather than a competitor?

I have used this list extensively and watched our company, Geek Tech Branding, grow every quarter since 2007… and I don’t intend for that growth to end. Being pro-active helps our company to pivot and anticipate new threats and new opportunities as well…as long as we keep our eyes and ears open.

I hope this list serves as a starting point for you – and would love to hear what questions you ask yourself and your team as the year winds down.

Here’s to a successful new year!

Monthly Newsletter

———————————————————-

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events–including custom printed power banks, flying drones, Bluetooth speakers, wireless earbuds and more.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses  and improve their branding.

He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, by email (robert [at] geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality gogglesembroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargerspromotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Bringing Virtual Reality to Business

How Will Virtual Reality Affect Your Particular Industry–And What Can You Do To Capitalize On It?

Austin, Texas: What’s your first thought when you hear someone mention “virtual reality”? Teenagers playing video games? Computer geeks building fantasy worlds? Time to update your perceptions. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have progressed to the realm of business and industry. Both are poised to change the way we shop, learn, receive healthcare, create, and travel.

pexels-photo-123335Defining Virtual Reality

So what is virtual reality? Virtual reality or VR means blocking out the “real world” to experience a computer generated alternative. To truly be considered VR, there are a few criteria that must be met:
— Believable: you must believe what you are experiencing is real
— Interactive: what you are seeing or experiencing must be responsive to your body’s movements.
— Computer Generated: what you are experiencing must be generated by a powerful, high-speed computer.
— Explorable: the program must offer a place for you to explore and allow you to choose where to go or what to do.
— Immersive: you should be able to employ several senses to experience the virtual world.

Fully immersive VR usually involves 3 components:
— a computer generated world to explore
— a powerful, high-speed computer
— linked hardware, such as headsets or goggles

VR allows you to walk on the Moon, take the field in the World Series, or explore the ocean floor. Businesses can use it to allow home buyers to tour houses, pilots to practice landings, and travelers to select hotel rooms.

vr-1570071_960_720Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) is related to VR, but not quite the same. AR enhances the “real world” with computer generated images. Google Glass and other “smart glasses” are examples of AR. It is also used in cars that feature windshield displays of directions and road conditions.

Virtual Reality Gets Real

VR is not new to business and industry. Some of the earliest applications involved training airline pilots and surgeons. However, new technology and affordability are bringing VR to more disciplines. Headsets are now available in all price ranges. They are also more comfortable and easier to wear. Powerful computers are able to create more realistic experiences.

The success of Oculus Rift headsets indicates both industry and the public are interested in exploring VR possibilities. We are in the early days of exciting new opportunities. Let’s explore how VR is being used in many different industries.

virtual-reality-1220293__180
Virtual Reality Steps into Education and Training

Have you ever noticed your children often navigate technology better than you? Has your child ever said, “Give it to me, I’ll do it,” and then taken your phone and made it do something wonderful that you couldn’t figure out? Today’s youth are the first generation growing up using tablets and smart phones on a daily basis. And the classroom is keeping up with them. This involves more than just smart boards, tablets, and laptops. VR is blazing a path into education and training.

red-school-blur-factory-mediumVR in the Classroom

TechCrunch reports a spike in the number of companies marketing VR technology to schools over the space couple of years. One factor behind this is the recent release of affordable VR headsets. These headsets are often made from cardboard. In addition to affordability, they fit comfortably and transport easily. Schools can now afford to purchase enough headsets for an entire class to use.

Some researchers report VR may lead to better memorization and comprehension. The interactive and immersive nature of VR activate more of your brain. VR also allows students to see and experience things they wouldn’t be able to without VR. For example, a class in rural Iowa could turn the British Museum or visit the Amazon Rainforest.

Current VR offerings mainly focus on biology, anatomy, geology, and astronomy. But other applications are set to make an impact, such as field trips to historical sites, museums, natural sites and architectural construction models.

The following companies produce VR technology for schools and universities:

Pioneer Expeditions by Google: Allows students to visit anywhere from the Great Wall of China to Mars.
Immersive VR Education: Students can travel to the moon on Apollo 11 as Neil Armstrong, take a trip around the solar system, or explore Mars.
Lecture VR: Recreates historic lectures such as those of Albert Einstein.
Universiv: Students learn anatomy or explore the Titanic, Stonehenge, or the International Space Station.
Alchemy VR: Students discover the inside of the Egyptian pyramids or explore the Great Barrier Reef.
Zspace: Provides STEM education via VR.
Woofbert VR: Concentrates on the arts. Students visit museums and galleries.
Nearpod: Students take field trips to places such as volcanoes, the Coliseum, the Lincoln Memorial, caves, and travel the Oregon Trail.

firefighters-756828__180
VR in Training

Schools aren’t the only places VR is impacting the learning process. Businesses also utilize VR to train employees. In fact airline pilots were the first to use VR in their flight simulators. Since then, other industries have adopted VR training:
— skilled trades, such as welding
— medical professions, such as surgery, paramedics, ER personnel
— hazardous occupations, such as mining, oil rig platforms
— transportation personnel, such as airline pilots, truck drivers, police and fire
departments, railroad personnel
— combat personnel
— factory assembly lines

Venture Beat outlines several benefits of VR training over conventional training:
— safety: Surgical residents can practice surgery in a virtual environment, before moving on to working with patients.
— affordability: It costs less money to purchase a virtual training module and allow pilots to train on it, rather than providing maintenance and fuel for a fleet of jets.
— relaxed: Trainees know they are using a virtual environment, so they will not be as nervous about messing up. This allows them to think more clearly and to learn.
— Knowledge retention: The VR experience involves several senses and activates more parts of the brain. It also helps promote more abstract thinking.

Chances are good that you will soon experience VR training or education or your business may benefit from VR training experiences.

berlin-1429878__180Applications in Healthcare and Medical Training

Most people have visited the doctor, the ER, or even experienced a hospital stay. Those interactions usually involve an examination by the doctor and other medical staff, prescription medication, surgical or other physical intervention, and discussion with your healthcare provider. Few people have participated in VR as a part of their healthcare regimen. But this is about to change. Providers from all disciplines are developing VR applications for both medical treatments and the training of healthcare providers.

surgeon-1049534__180Virtual Reality and Healthcare Interventions

Mental health interventions mesh well with VR. Virtual situations create safe, controlled environments for patients to practice behaviors. Some examples include:

Exposure therapy for individuals with phobias.
Bravemind is a program that helps veterans cope with PTSD.
— The DEEP application uses meditation as a treatment for anxiety.
Social cognition training for young adults with autism.
— Virtual opportunities for the disabled or homebound patient.

Virtual environments also make successful pain management interventions. Two examples are:

SnowWorld is a virtual world where patients throw snowballs at snowmen, penguins, and wooly mammoths. It was initially developed for burn patients who require painful dressing changes and other treatments.
Virtual reality applications are used to treat phantom limb pain for amputees. VR also helps them to learn to manage pain outside of the virtual environment.

Rehabilitation and recovery programs use VR to speed recovery. For example:

Brain damage assessment and rehabilitation after injuries.
Mind Motion Pro is a VR program used for stroke rehabilitation programs.

Many hospitals are using VR to delivery patient education and training. Some of these are:

Pre-surgery education for patients prior to surgery.
Quintiles is using VR to recruit patients into clinical trials.

doctor-79579__180Virtual Reality and Medical Training

Educators use VR to teach students of various medical disciplines. VR provides “hands on” medical training without risk of harming patients. It also helps students feel more comfortable learning medical procedures.

Doctors also use VR to prepare for surgeries and other procedures and to communicate with patients and other staff. These applications include the following:
SIM-K: A VR simulation of a total knee replacement.
Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform: helps surgeons plan the safety route to removing a tumor.
Virtual Interactive Presence & Augmented Reality: Helps deliver tele mentoring during surgery. An experienced surgeon at one location can guide a surgeon in another location.
Echo Pixel True 3D System delivers more detailed imaging by converting ultrasounds, CTs, and MRIs to 3D images.

In the next 5 years, VR will move into mainstream healthcare. Doctor visits may involve virtual environments to teach skills such as checking blood sugar or proper medication administration. Healthcare providers will use VR to review medical histories and charts. The possibilities are endless.

virtual-reality-1237523__180Real Estate Warms up to Virtual Reality

Imagine your job transfers you overseas. You need to find a new place to live, but you can’t take off a couple weeks to look for a house. What would you do? In the future, you might find yourself virtually touring homes in Europe from the office of a real estate agent in the United States. It might seem far-fetched, but this is only one of the many ways VR may impact how we buy homes. From the design process, to marketing, to house hunting….things are about to get virtual.

Virtual House Hunting

Sotheby’s International Reality is one of the first real estate groups to employ Virtual Reality. They currently use Samsung Gear VR to sell luxury homes. Agents can lead a tour remotely with clients all over the world. Home buyers have the convenience of touring several homes via VR to narrow down choices for actual visits.

Currently, this process works best with high-end homes because the cost of scanning homes for VR is quite expensive. However, experts believe VR tours will trickle down to lower cost homes in 5 years.

open-house-1163357__180Benefits of VR for Real Estate

Virtual tours are not the only beneficial application of VR for the real estate industry. Developers, designers, and architects use VR to design homes, businesses, subdivisions, and retail outlets. Then VR allows them to share their vision with clients in a more meaningful manner. Clients virtually walk through the designed space and experience how it will function for them. VR also provides a method of staging empty properties and customizing the space to the buyer’s needs.

Real estate agencies use VR to supplement marketing strategies. Agents can lead presentations from any location. VR presentations offer convenience and efficient use of time for both agents and buyers. Offering virtual presentations gives agents an advantage over the competition.

keys-1310919
Easier Access

There are a couple factors driving the implementation of VR in real estate.

— Affordable headsets. Cardboard headsets are now available in a wide price range. Most real estate agencies can purchase several headsets for clients to use. Clients can also purchase their own to use at home when searching for properties online. Geek Tech Branding offers a large selection of VR headsets that can be custom printed with your agency’s name or logo
.
— iOS and Android compatibility. With economical headset choices, clients and agents can utilize their own tablets, phones, and other devices to view properties and developments.

These two developments make VR more accessible to the general public and to smaller agencies. Very soon you’ll begin to notice real estate agencies near you adopting VR technology.

pexels-photo-123318-large
Traveling Virtually

Imagine you are traveling overseas for the first time. You’ll encounter new airports, new cities, different languages. You’re excited, but also a little nervous. But what if you could make a “trial run”? Navigate the airport, walk the city streets, step inside your hotel room? You might feel more confident when you begin you trip.

This is not as far-fetched as it sounds. The travel industry is beginning to adapt Virtual Reality (VR) technology to help travelers plan and prepare their trips of a lifetime.

flying-people-sitting-public-transportation-medium
A World of Opportunity

Until recently, the travel industry has been slow to adopt VR technology, which means there is a huge opportunity right now for early adapters. New technologies such as the Oculus Rift, GoPro, and drones make VR a viable and attractive options for anyone in the travel industry.

Use of VR technology in travel is not meant to replace physical travel with virtual travel. Rather, the goal is to market travel opportunities and entice consumers to travel more.

Travel Uses for VR

Experts see two areas for the application of VR in the travel industry. One is travel inspiration. This demonstrates possible trips and excursions available to the traveler. Secondly, VR provides a demonstration of travel options such as hotel rooms.

end-of-the-travel-1449763Travel Inspiration and Marketing

A few businesses already employ VR to market vacations, destinations, and experiences.

Thomas Cook: The tour operator, with offices in Belgium, Germany, and the UK, developed their “Try Before You Fly” VR program to entice consumers back into their brick and mortar stores. Recently, they filmed VR material in Egypt and mailed brochures along with cardboard goggles to targeted clients.
Marriott: The hotel chain is using VR as part of their “Travel Brilliantly” program. They offer 3 virtual experiences to market their travel destinations. They call these VR Post Cards.
Qantus: The Australian airline provides first class travelers VR experiences of Australia.
Destination BC: Offers VR experiences of various locations in British Columbia.

Travel Demonstration

There are endless possibilities for VR usage in demonstrating travel options and in the booking process.

— airlines and rail travel: demonstration of aircraft cabin or rail cars, seat selection, demonstration of business lounges.
— Hotels: demonstration of rooms, room selection, views, amenities
— Airports and train stations: provide an experience of the whole process including info desks, check-in, security, shops, lounges, gates, boarding, transfers.
— Conference and exhibition centers: demonstration of meeting rooms, conference rooms, and exhibition space.

The travel industry is in the early stages of VR adoption, so there is a great deal of opportunity for travel agents and tour operators.

woman-1418844__180Virtual Shopping

Technology is now a part of daily life. From smart phones to tablets and even to GoPros, we use technology to complete many routine tasks. Therefore, today’s shoppers expect, and in some cases demand, the use of technology when they shop. VR is poised to be the next frontier for retail outlets. In April 2016, Samsung’s Gear VR boasted over 1 million active users, and Tractica predicts almost 200 million VR headsets will be sold by 2020. With such a large potential audience, there is a lot of opportunity for companies ready to adopt VR.

Just like the other industries we discussed, the driving factors behind retail using of VR is affordability. All the shopper requires is a smart phone and a headset. Most people now have smart phones, and headsets are now affordable for businesses to acquire.

VR can benefit shoppers by:

— giving them more information to make a decision about purchases
— simplify the design and planning process for home and garden purchases or for complete outfit purchases
— allow immediate feedback from friends who may be shopping with them

What’s in it for Retailers?

— provide an economical testing market. It will be cheaper for retailers to test a shopping environment virtually, rather than building a physical space.
— Create a totally immersive brand experience.
— Showcase their products in more meaningful ways.
— May decrease the amount of returns or exchanges.

business-888146__180Examples of VR Retail Experiences

Although we are very much in the early days of VR retail adaptation, a few companies are testing the waters of VR shopping.

Westfield Malls in the UK, Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop, and River Island have all used VR to provide in-store virtual experiences of their latest fashion collections. Shoppers can then shop the collection.
Lexus and Volvo have used VR for virtual test drives.
Lowe’s installed the Holoroom in 19 of their stores. It is an immersive space where shoppers can design their bathroom or kitchen.
Ikea is also piloting a virtual kitchen experience.
Tom’s offered an in-store virtual trip to Peru as part of their One-for-One campaign.
McDonald’s restaurants in Sweden gave away “Happy Goggles” with virtual snow skiing experience.
— UK retailer John Lewis used VR headsets as part of a Christmas promotion last year.
Ikebukuro, a Japanese retailer, features a virtual dressing room in their stores.
Adidas is piloting 2 VR options. The first is the Body Kinectizer which scans your body and allows you to find the right size and see how a garment will look on you. Cyber Fit is their virtual dressing room.
eBay introduced a VR app and virtual dressing room in Australia.
Avenue Imperial is a business that creates virtual shopping experiences for retailers. As we saw with real estate, a whole new industry is emerging to design and develop VR shopping experiences.

image-29
The Common Denominator

Again, the affordability of VR accessories such as headsets, is behind the explosion in VR usage. Geek Tech Branding offers a large variety of headsets at every price point. All their headsets can be customized with your organizations name and/or logo. For more information, visit our website.

The website eMarketer recommends retailers, “start thinking about and preparing for virtual reality….sooner rather than later. The future is now.

——————————–
Monthly Newsletter

About the author:

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Virtual Reality Forges Ahead into Retail (Part 6 of 6)

Previously, we discussed emerging virtual reality (VR) applications in the industries of education, health care, real estate, and travel. Today we wrap up our series on virtual reality with a look at VR technologies used in the retail industries.

woman-1418844__180What’s in it for Shoppers?

Technology is now a part of daily life. From smart phones to tablets and even to GoPros, we use technology to complete many routine tasks. Therefore, today’s shoppers expect, and in some cases demand, the use of technology when they shop. VR is poised to be the next frontier for retail outlets. In April 2016, Samsung’s Gear VR boasted over 1 million active users, and Tractica predicts almost 200 million VR headsets will be sold by 2020. With such a large potential audience, there is a lot of opportunity for companies ready to adopt VR.

Just like the other industries we discussed, the driving factors behind retail using of VR is affordability. All the shopper requires is a smart phone and a headset. Most people now have smart phones, and headsets are now affordable for businesses to acquire.

VR can benefit shoppers by:

— giving them more information to make a decision about purchases
— simplify the design and planning process for home and garden purchases or for complete outfit purchases
— allow immediate feedback from friends who may be shopping with them

business-888146__180What’s in it for Retailers?

— provide an economical testing market. It will be cheaper for retailers to test a shopping environment virtually, rather than building a physical space.
— Create a totally immersive brand experience.
— Showcase their products in more meaningful ways.
— May decrease the amount of returns or exchanges.

Examples of VR Retail Experiences

Although we are very much in the early days of VR retail adaptation, a few companies are testing the waters of VR shopping.

Westfield Malls in the UK, Tommy Hilfiger, Topshop, and River Island have all used VR to provide in-store virtual experiences of their latest fashion collections. Shoppers can then shop the collection.
Lexus and Volvo have used VR for virtual test drives.
Lowe’s installed the Holoroom in 19 of their stores. It is an immersive space where shoppers can design their bathroom or kitchen.
Ikea is also piloting a virtual kitchen experience.
Tom’s offered an in-store virtual trip to Peru as part of their One-for-One campaign.
McDonald’s restaurants in Sweden gave away “Happy Goggles” with virtual snow skiing experience.
— UK retailer John Lewis used VR headsets as part of a Christmas promotion last year.
Ikebukuro, a Japanese retailer, features a virtual dressing room in their stores.
Adidas is piloting 2 VR options. The first is the Body Kinectizer which scans your body and allows you to find the right store-984393__180size and see how a garment will look on you. Cyber Fit is their virtual dressing room.
eBay introduced a VR app and virtual dressing room in Australia.
Avenue Imperial is a business that creates virtual shopping experiences for retailers. As we saw with real estate, a whole new industry is emerging to design and develop VR shopping experiences.

The website eMarketer recommends retailers, “start thinking about and preparing for virtual reality….sooner rather than later.” VR will be involved in the future of retail. Early adapters will gain the greatest benefits and have a competitive edge.

The Common Deimage-30nominator

Both the affordability of VR accessories such as headsets and the rapid proliferation of VR apps and content, is behind the explosion in VR usage. With increased usage and improved technology come more opportunities for virtual realities in every phase of our lives, including healthcare, travel, leisure and education, as well as in marketing and sales opportunities. Early adapters will gain the greatest benefits and have a competitive edge.

Geek Tech Branding can help you obtain the materials to adapt VR technology in your business. We offer a large variety of headsets at every price point. They have seen a 400% increase in sales of custom printed virtual reality headsets in the past 6 months alone and trending upwards from there in the past 6 weeks.

How will your organization utilize the power and impact of virtual reality in the next few years?

Monthly Newsletter

About the author:

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Virtual Reality Applications for the Travel Industry (Part 5 of 6)

Virtual Reality: Practical Uses in the Travel and Resort Industry

In our previous posts, we explored the use of VR in education, health care, and real estate. Today, we turn our attention to the travel industry.

Imagine you are traveling overseas for the first time. You’ll encounter new airports, new cities, different languages. You’re excited, but also a little nervous. But what if you could make a “trial run”? Navigate the airport, walk the city streets, step inside your hotel room? You might feel more confident when you begin you trip.

This is not as far-fetcpexels-photo-123318-largehed as it sounds. The travel industry is beginning to adapt Virtual Reality (VR) technology to help travelers plan and prepare their trips of a lifetime.
A World of Opportunity

Until recently, the travel industry has been slow to adopt VR technology, which means there is a huge opportunity right now for early adapters. Relatively new technologies such as the Oculus Rift, GoPro, and drones make VR a viable and attractive options for anyone in the travel industry.

Use of VR technology in travel is not meant to replace physical travel with virtual travel. Rather, the goal is to market travel opportunities and entice consumers to travel more or to enhance their travel experience.

flying-people-sitting-public-transportation-mediumTravel Uses for VR

Experts see two major areas for the application of VR in the travel industry. One is travel inspiration. This demonstrates possible trips and excursions available to the traveler. Secondly, VR provides a demonstration of travel options such as hotel rooms, conference and exhibit space, dining, views, settings and amenities, and other options.

Travel Inspiration and Marketing

A few businesses already employ VR to market vacations, destinations, and experiences.

Thomas Cook: The tour operator, with offices in Belgium, Germany, and the UK, developed their “Try Before You Fly” VR program to entice consumers back into their brick and mortar stores. Recently, they filmed VR material in Egypt and mailed brochures along with cardboard goggles to targeted clients.
Marriott: The hotel chain is using VR as part of their “Travel Brilliantly” program. They offer 3 virtual experiences to market their travel destinations. They call these VR Post Cards.
Qantus: The Australian airline provides first class travelers VR experiences of Australia.
Destination BC: Offers VR experiences of various locations in British Columbia.

end-of-the-travel-1449763Travel Demonstration

There are endless possibilities for VR usage in demonstrating travel options and in the booking process.

— airlines and rail travel: demonstration of aircraft cabin or rail cars, seat selection, demonstration of business lounges.
— Hotels: demonstration of rooms, exhibit space, room selection, views, amenities and add-on services.
— Airports and train stations: provide an experience of the whole process including info desks, checkimage-29-in, security, shops, lounges, gates, boarding, transfers.
— Conference and exhibition centers: demonstration of meeting rooms, conference rooms, and exhibition space.

The travel industry is in the early stages of VR adoption, so there is a great deal of opportunity for travel agents and tour operators. Geek Tech Branding can provide you with affordable VR headsets for your organization to give to future guests and travelers. Check out our website for more information. We wrap our series in the next installment with a look at VR applications in the retail industry.

About the authorMonthly Newsletter:

Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Virtual Reality Usage in Real Estate (Part 4 of 6)

Virtual Reality: Practical Uses in Real Estate

In the first 3 parts of this 6 part series, we discussed the basics of Virtual Reality (VR) and how it is used in education, training, and healthcare. Today we look at applications for VR in the real estate industry.

Imagine your job transfers you overseas. You need to find a new place to live, but you can’t take off a couple weeks to look fovirtual-reality-1237523__180r a house. What would you do? In the future, you might find yourself virtually touring homes in Europe from the office of a real estate agent in the United States. It might seem far-fetched, but this is only one of the many ways VR may impact how we buy homes. From the design process, to marketing, to house hunting….things are about to get virtual.

Virtual House Hunting

Sotheby’s International Reality is one of the first real estate groups to employ Virtual Reality. They currently use Samsung Gear VR to sell luxury homes. Agents can lead a tour remotely with clients all over the world. Home buyers have the convenience of touring several homes via VR to narrow down choices for actual visits.

Currently, this process works best with high-end homes or large developments because the cost of scanning homes for VR is quite expensive. However, experts believe VR tours will trickle down to lower cost homes in 5 years.open-house-1163357__180

Benefits of VR for Real Estate

Virtual tours are not the only beneficial application of VR for the real estate industry. Developers, designers, and architects use VR to design homes, businesses, subdivisions, and retail outlets. Then VR allows them to share their vision with clients in a more meaningful manner. Clients virtually walk through the designed space and experience how it will function for them.

This is especially beneficial when selling units in new developments that are in the initial stages of construction. Agents at the new Luma condominium development in Seattle employed VR to show units to potential buyers. Previously they relied on blueprints to pre-sell units.

In fact, an entirely new type of business is emerging to provide virtual real estate content. Both Studio 216 and Virtual Xperience develop virtual tours of existing homes and planned developments. They even use drones to show buyers the views from their potential condo.

VR also provides a method of staging empty properties and customizing the space to the buyer’s needs. Often buyers have difficulty visualizing how an empty space will function. VR allows agents and developers a way to fully demonstrate how the property will look.

Another keys-1310919application involves what some agents call “problem properties” that need renovation or repairs. Agents, contractors, and interior designers use VR to demonstrate improvements and remodeling.
Real estate agencies use VR to supplement marketing strategies. Agents can lead presentations from any location. VR presentations offer convenience and efficient use of time for both agents and buyers. Offering virtual presentations gives agents an advantage over the competition.
Easier Access

There are a couple of factors driving the implementation of VR in real estate.

Affordable headsets. Cardboard headsets are now available in a wide price range aimage-28nd prices continue to drop for higher quality VR headsets. Most real estate agencies can purchase several dozen headsets for clients to use for under $15 each. Clients can also purchase their own to use at home when searching for properties online with your logo on them. Geek Tech Branding offers a large selection of VR headsets that can be custom printed with your agency’s name or logo.
iOS and Android compatibility. With economical headset choices, clients and agents can utilize their own tablets, phones, and other devices to view properties and developments.

These two developments make VR more accessible to the general public and to smaller agencies. Very soon you’ll begin to notice real estate agencies near you adopting VR technology. In our next installment, we’ll discuss VR applications in the travel industry. See you then!
Monthly Newsletter

About the author:
Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.
Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses  and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.

Virtual Reality Uses in Healthcare and Medicine (Part 3 of 6)

Virtual Reality: Practical Uses in Healthcare and Medicine

In parts 1 and 2 of our Virtual Reality (VR) series, we defined VR and discussed how it is used in Education and Training. In Part 3, we explore how VR contributes to healthcare interventions and medical training.

Most people have visited the doctor, the ER, or even experienced a hospital stay. Those interactions usually involve an examination by the doctor and other medical staff, prescription medication, surgical or other physical intervention, and discussion with your healthcare provider. Few people have participated in VR as a part of their healthcare regimen. But this is about to change. Providers from all disciplines are developing VR applications for both medical treatments and the training of healthcare providers.

berlin-1429878__180

 

Virtual Reality and Healthcare Interventions

Mental health interventions mesh well with VR. Virtual situations create safe, controlled environments for patients to practice behaviors. Some examples include:

Exposure therapy for individuals with phobias.
Bravemind is a program that helps veterans cope with PTSD.
The DEEP application uses meditation as a treatment for anxiety.
Social cognition training for young adults with autism.
— Virtual opportunities for the disabled or homebound patient.

Virtual environments also make successful pain management interventions. Two examples are:

SnowWorld is a virtual world where patients throw snowballs at snowmen, penguins, and wooly mammoths. It was initially developed for burn patients who require painful dressing changes and other treatments.
— Virtual reality applications are used to treat phantom limb pain for amputees. VR also helps them to learn to manage pain outside of the virtual environment.

Rehabilitation and recovery programs use VR to speed recovery. For example:

Brain damage assessment and rehabilitation after injuries.
Mind Motion Pro is a VR program used for stroke rehabilitation programs.

Many hospitals are using VR to delivery patient education and training. Some of these are:

Pre-surgery education for patients prior to surgery.
Quintiles is using VR to recruit patients into clinical trials.

 

surgeon-1049534__180

Virtual Reality and Medical Training

Educators use VR to teach students of various medical disciplines. VR provides “hands on” medical training without risk of harming patients. It also helps students feel more comfortable learning medical procedures.

Doctors also use VR to prepare for surgeries and other procedures and to communicate with patients and other staff. These applications include the following:
SIM-K: Simulates a total knee replacement.
Surgical Navigation Advanced Platform:  Assists surgeons in planning the safety route to removing a tumor.
Virtual Interactive Presence & Augmented Reality: Helps deliver tele-mentoring during surgery. An experienced surgeon at one location can guide a surgeon in another location.
Echo Pixel True 3D System delivers more detailed imaging by converting ultrasounds, CTs, and MRIs to 3D images.

In the next 5 years,image-27 VR will move into mainstream healthcare. Doctor visits may involve virtual environments to teach skills such as checking blood sugar or proper medication administration. Healthcare providers will use VR to review medical histories and charts. The possibilities are endless. GeekTechBranding offers VR headsets that are ideal for use in any medical clinic or office. Visit our website to learn more. In our next installment, we’ll look VR opportunitiesMonthly Newsletter in real estate. Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

About the author: Robert Piller is President of GeekTechBranding.com, the leader in high tech promotional products for all occasions and events.–including custom packaging and custom promotional products.  Specifically, they offer a large selection of VR headsets at every price point.

Geek Tech Branding is a third-generation company that began in 1956 selling imprinted calendars and writing instruments and has grown to become one of the largest suppliers of imprinted technology and promotional electronic gifts in the country. We are currently celebrating our 60th anniversary of helping clients build their brand and marketing reach.

Robert Piller has been working with companies of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies, law firms, non-profit organizations, financial institutions, startups and other organizations to market and promote their businesses and improve their branding.
He is a frequent writer and speaker on marketing and technology topics and loves to share and exchange ideas. Feel free to reach him through Facebook, Twitter, by email (robert@geektechbranding.com) or through this blog.

GeekTechBranding.com offers the latest high-tech promotional products –including imprinted power banks and power chargers, imprinted Bluetooth speakers, imprinted fitness tracker watches and promotional ear buds, imprinted drones, promotional virtual reality goggles, embroidered computer backpacks,  imprinted USB car chargers, promotional stylus pens and more — all imprinted with your company’s name and logo.