Augmented Reality when Marketing to Farmers

The possibilities of AR for agriculture are limitless.

It’s no secret that augmented reality (AR) applications have taken over pop culture by storm. Don’t believe me? Take a walk through a large park on any given day and make note of how many people seem to be wandering aimlessly while glancing down at their smartphone. Chances are they’re playing Pokémon Go. The app is well on its way to becoming one of the most popular downloads in the history of the App Store.

The concept of the game is location-based AR, a media platform that provides overlays of virtual information atop of real-world objects. It presents the opportunity to combine elements of online and print advertising to deliver persuasive messages and provide an interactive and immersive user experience to a technologically minded audience. Grand View Research, Inc., expects AR go through a substantial growth period and increase market reach to $100 billion by 2024.

Naturally, marketers are itching for provocative ways to take advantage of this technological revolution. Ad agencies like Starcom jumped into the mix, trying to weave brands directly into the game. Snickers introduced a mobile app that enables consumers to create images related to their particular hunger symptoms and share them on social media. Even smaller, local businesses are taking their shot: A New York pizzeria increased its sales by more than 75 percent after dropping a “lure” in the Pokémon Go game to attract players to the store’s proximity.

AR already has a track record of successful marketing and public relations initiatives for television, motion pictures and other media promotional campaigns. So what does this mean for agrimarketing? Can it be effective in the fields as well? The answer is yes. It means that AR can be a viable tool when marketing to farmers for years to come.

There are many factors that go into reaching farmers in today’s world. AR is a novelty because it’s considered to be the ‘latest thing’ on the technology front. There is still that drive to be an early adopter, especially among a group that has been quick to adapt to mobile technology.

Many may assume differently, but agriculture certainly isn’t excluded from tech trends such as AR. Even as far back as 2011, John Deere featured a program on its website allowing viewers to sync with a webcam to have equipment come to life with animation and sound on their computer. Successful Farming magazine recently introduced augmented reality tactics into its magazine so viewers can scan their hard copy and tap into different elements even further on their smartphone.

AR farming apps already are available for educational purposes in the classroom and in the fields. Smart-Farm is a free-standing, self-guided, nonlinear AR tour of the Flint Hill Farm Agricultural Education Center with 14 one-minute overlay videos. The design effectively meets the needs of digital learners by providing engaging, innovative technology and encouraging collaboration.

According to Augmented Reality (AR) Applications in Agriculture, new services like AR, cloud computing and near field communication (NFC) “have great potential in agriculture.” The authors state:

  • Cloud computing provides better resource management and effective cost control,
  • Augmented reality expands the control, and
  • NFC gives better personalized information exchange.

Beyond these benefits, the possibilities of AR in the agrimarketing world are endless.  Farmers are drowning in data right now, just imagine if we can find ways to overlay that virtual data in a farmer’s real world. If they can use a mobile device to evaluate and diagnose crop or field conditions for example.  “Augmented reality is poised to evolve how we interact with computers in a way as meaningful as the smartphone,” claims Amitt Mahajan, co-creator of FarmVille. “AR can become the ultimate platform by merging computers with the real world and by virtualizing all other computing devices.”

In short, AR will provide marketers with an attention-grabbing platform for years to come. The strategy and the success of the campaign falls on the shoulders of the marketer.