Assistant Professor, Brock University
The Goodman School of Business offers the world’s first augmented reality marketing university course to students.
At a time when brands are using Augment Realty (AR) marketing tools at a record pace, Brock University’s Goodman School of Business is training future marketers to respond to this demand.
“Augmented Reality is the next big thing in marketing,” says Joachim Scholz, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing and International Business Strategy at the St. Catharines, Ont. School.
“It’s already used by millions of people every day and is having an impact on online retailing and e-commerce and how brands communicate,” Scholz says.
With the global market size expected to grow from US$25 billion in 2021 to US$340 billion in 2028 (a 13.6 per cent increase), AR is going to need people who know how to maximize its potential.
Recognizing this need, Goodman recently added a course on AR marketing to its Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) undergraduate program.
“We launched it in May of 2020 and believe it’s the world’s first and only course dedicated entirely to strategic marketing opportunities in AR,” says Scholz, who developed and teaches the course.
Augmented reality and virtual reality — similar but different
AR is often confused with Virtual Reality (VR), and while there are some similarities between the two, Scholz explains that AR has more practical uses and benefits for businesses and consumers. Whereas VR offers the user a simulated experience in a virtual world and is used more often in gaming and entertainment, AR augments the consumer’s everyday physical environments with digital components. As a result, consumers more and more integrate AR with the everyday ebbs and flows of their lives.
“AR kind of sits between the traditional marketing and digital marketing realm,” says Scholz. “The benefit of AR is that it shows consumers exactly how a product would look like in size, colour, and dimension, so, for example, how a chair might look in your living room.”
Students explore strategies and frameworks for AR marketing
During the 12-week course offered during the fourth year of Goodman’s BBA program, students explore strategies and frameworks for using AR to build brands, create customer experiences and influence consumer decision-making. The course is comprised of lectures, guest speakers who connect concepts to industry practices, student-created presentations, and a real-world learning project.
“All these things are valuable in the job market. If you think back to around 2010, when social media came along, suddenly anybody who had even the remotest exposure to social media at university was immediately snapped up by employers. It was a seller’s market then because very few universities at the time offered those types of classes,” says Scholz. “I think it’s going to be the same with augmented reality in the next two years when every company left and right will be looking to build an AR strategy. Students who have taken an AR marketing course will be hired instantly.”
The course has already gained international recognition, having placed first in the 2020 Innovation in Business Education Award by the MidAmerican Business Deans Association.
“If you want to get on the early train to this new business paradigm, I think there’s no better place to be than right here,” says Scholz.
The AR marketing course is an example of how the Goodman School of Business is adapting its curriculum to meet the industry’s rapidly changing needs and help to ensure students have future-ready skills when they graduate. As new industry trends evolve, Goodman will continue to respond with innovations to its BBA course and program offerings that give students a leading edge in the job market.