How to Sell Your Boss on Virtual Reality

You are excited about what virtual reality could mean for your company. You see its many uses and benefits, and you would love to implement a virtual reality strategy at work. The only problem is you need to get approval from your superiors for developing that strategy. So how do you speak to your boss about virtual reality?

Do Your Research
Before you sit down to talk to your boss about a virtual reality strategy, you have to be sure that you’re informed.

Your level of detail will depend on your boss’ knowledge of virtual reality. If your boss is up on the latest tech trends, or if your team has been discussing virtual reality already, you likely won’t need to go over the details of the newest mainstream virtual reality devices or talk about which major companies already have launched virtual reality campaigns. On the flipside, if virtual reality is a new concept for your company and your boss, you’ll want to talk about the many virtual reality devices that are being released and what that means for the tech and marketing industries.

You will also want to emphasize the dramatic growth that’s been forecasted for the virtual reality industry. Virtual reality headset sales are projected to hit $700 million this year. Financial projections show that virtual reality will be a $120 billion industry by 2020. Furthermore, you’ll want to explain that virtual reality is a fast-growing market that companies in all industries–from entertainment to travel to education–already use to their advantage.

Demonstrate How Virtual Reality Can Help Your Company Succeed
Often, we focus on how adopting certain technologies or strategies will benefit our own work and our own department’s goals. When you’re speaking with your boss, you have to address how virtual reality will benefit the company, across the board. Think about what goals your boss is working toward: Is your company working to raise brand awareness? Grow customer interaction? Increase revenue by upselling customers on products? Cultivate brand loyalty and repeat customers by creating an exceptional customer experience? When you speak to your boss about developing a virtual reality strategy, you have to frame the conversation in terms of your boss’ goals and your company’s agenda.

Similarly, you need to look at how a virtual reality strategy can be implemented by and benefit multiple departments. It’s easy for marketers to get excited about virtual reality because they see the possibilities in creating meaningful virtual reality experiences that educate and excite customers. Your boss needs to see more than one-dimensional value with virtual reality. A hotel might post a virtual reality tour to its website as a marketing tool. The hotel’s booking office could use that same tour, or pieces of it, to upsell customers on larger rooms or amenities they might not have sought out on their own.

Be an Optimistic Early Adopter
No company leader wants to see their company left behind on his or her watch. When persuading your boss to develop a virtual reality strategy, point to the importance of early technology adoption.

Virtual reality now is being compared to mobile technology a decade ago. While virtual reality might be in its early days, it’s projected to become part of our daily lives within the next several years. Companies have to begin exploring how they will use virtual reality to their advantage, or they risk being left behind by the competition. Approximately 75 percent of the companies on the Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brands list have developed or are in the process of developing virtual reality experiences for their customers or their employees, according to an October 2015 survey.

Companies that have deployed virtual reality marketing campaigns are reporting positive returns on their investments. British travel group Thomas Cook reported a 190 percent increase in tours booked to New York City after offering a virtual reality experience of the city in their stores. Amnesty International reported a 16 percent increase in direct-debit donations brought on by its VR campaign. Your boss certainly won’t want to miss out on an opportunity to increase brand awareness and grow revenue.

Have a Plan Outlined
Be prepared to discuss how you see your company implementing a virtual reality strategy. While it is wise to leave the details open for discussion with your boss, you should have thought a bit about how your company would begin its foray into the VR world. Where would a good starting point be? Which team members would you involve? How much is it likely to cost the company? How would you see your company’s virtual reality footprint growing over time? If your boss can start to see some inroads for implementing virtual reality, they likely will be more willing to develop a full-fledged VR strategy.

Finally, remember that the plan you have must be flexible. Once you get your boss on board with adopting virtual reality into the company’s plan, you have to be ready to adapt and evolve that plan as more team members, departments, and executives get on board.

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