Every year, the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report serves as a useful reality check for marketers who are too often dazzled by shiny objects. This year, it came as no surprise that virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality (MR) were high on the list of technologies whose future relevance for businesses is ripe for discussion. All three involve immersing a consumer into artificially generated experiences to varying degrees, with VR completely cutting a user off from the physical world.

Which of the three technologies ultimately wins the adoption game among marketers shouldn’t be the main question of concern right now, particularly in the B2B space. The real question is whether these technologies have any real place in a B2B company’s sales and marketing strategy. And, if so, what that place might be. For B2C marketers, it can make sense to adopt trends quickly, if solely for what leveraging technological advances does for a brand’s reputation. The buzz around a cutting-edge marketing program can often more than justify the development investment around a new (and possibly short-lived) technology by casting a long-lasting halo of innovation around the brand. Such buzz and halos are much harder to come by for B2B.

The real question is whether these technologies have any real place in a B2B company’s sales and marketing strategy. B2B marketers need to be more careful when adopting emerging technology. They should ask themselves why their company should leverage VR, AR or MR in its marketing and sales efforts and what the ultimate benefit is. B2B marketers need to set aside shiny object fascination and think deeply about the customer experience they intend to create and the business objectives they hope to accomplish.

QR codes offer a useful case study for B2B marketers when debating emerging technology […]

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