AUCKLAND: B2B marketers in categories where trust is vital are exploring the use of virtual reality as a way to tell their stories and provide reassurance to buyers.

One such is New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, a government agency tasked with marketing the nation's food and drink output, among other sectors, to buyers around the world.

"For us, virtual reality is almost more effective in B2B than B2C." said Lauren Bartlett, regional marketing manager for New Zealand Trade in Asia, as she outlined a VR experience that introduces people to the landscapes of agricultural New Zealand and the places where products are actually made.

"It can be quite a single, personal experience, so for a smaller audience it's ideal," she explained to The Drum. "At the moment we're trialling VR at our own events – after the experience we're able to follow up directly with our buyers by pouring them a glass of wine from the vineyard they've just seen, or introducing them directly to the supplier.

Bartlett added that the falling costs of VR production made this approach more feasible. "We were able to put this campaign together for an extremely modest price point by pulling the storyline together in-house, and utilising some existing footage," she said.

While the results of the strategy have yet to be seen in terms of sales, Bartlett reported a there had been a strong emotional response from those buyers experiencing the technology.

She was also confident its use would expand into other sectors such as aviation and marine as well as to B2C within the food and drink category, although the latter presents greater challenges in terms of scale.

"I do see us preparing more content for B2C users, because consumers are becoming so much more aware of where their food is coming from," she said.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff