Marketing strategy

How to Design a Marketing Strategy for the Age of the Metaverse, Marketing & Advertising News, ET BrandEquity

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By Anupam Narula

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, and tech companies have gone a step further to improve user experience, eventually converging with the concept of Metaverse – a concept coined by Neal Stephenson in 1992. Although the The term Metaverse has been around for quite some time, it has gained worldwide popularity over the past year with tech giants such as Facebook and Microsoft announcing Metaverse projects in development.

General recognition of this new concept of a digital and virtual world is growing due to its promising possibilities. Some experts say embracing this channel is key to future-proofing in a digitally-enhanced world. The year 2023 is predicted to be the year of the metaverse gold rush, as assets such as cryptocurrencies, stablecoins, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) help businesses and developers build a transactional base to support the metaverse.

This is exactly what many global players are doing, but some companies are hesitant to enter the metaverse due to the fact that everything is in the cloud and the bad reputation of cryptocurrencies that are often intertwined with the metaverse. As the metaverse explodes into a multi-trillion dollar opportunity, innovators and early adopters will be the ones to reap the benefits. Most businesses want to know how to make the metaverse work for them and make the most of the metaverse opportunity.

The answers to the following questions will help marketers and their organizations make decisions on how to enter and design a marketing strategy for the era of the metaverse.

1. What is the metaverse?

Metaverse is the next version of the Internet that combines multiple virtual spaces and takes it even further from a two-dimensional virtual world to a three-dimensional virtual world that strives to be highly interactive, experiential and playful. This will allow customers to have real-time interactions and experiences remotely with a combination of virtual reality and mixed reality via browser or headset.

This digital movement has begun to blur the boundaries between the physical and virtual worlds. If companies are trying to target a digital audience of 15-30 year olds, they’re probably not on social media anymore, they’re probably in the metaverse. For example, the design of the metaverse is a new generation of platforms like Roblox, Decentraland, Sandbox, Fortnite, Minecraft, etc.

2. How can companies enter the Metaverse?

Businesses and brands can slowly take small steps to begin taking their consumers into the metaverse, how diving into this space is the choice of business. Now is the time to adopt a test and learn mindset, be open to experiments in the metaverse, and capitalize on success.

The most cautious companies can start by integrating the metaverse into their current familiar marketing strategy and place things by replicating the physical world in the digital universe. Businesses that just want to dive a little deeper into this space could try out the product or service in the digital space. Metaverse users are very open to new experiences and new things that they want to try, and businesses can build on this depending on the preferences of their target consumers.

For example, it started through 3D virtual manuals, global digital travel guides, hotel room tours, virtual furniture shopping or experimenting with future mobility solutions. “Hyundai Mobility Adventure” is the first virtual experience content on Roblox developed by a global automotive brand to showcase future mobility lifestyles in the metaverse.

Another example is the ‘Decentraland’-3D virtual environment created to encourage social interaction which allows users to create virtual worlds using digital objects that are replicas of real objects and interact with digital avatars of other community members. On this metaverse-like platform, everything from a jacket to cars and even real estate is generated and traded using the native digital token MANA.

3. How can companies take advantage of the Metaverse?

Businesses and brands can leverage the metaverse by improving their customers’ user experience, aiming to deepen customer loyalty and engage in new ways with their target audience and increase revenue. Metaverse will help businesses understand the emotions and body language of their consumers and maintain the same emotional connection as in the physical world.

Business operations such as lending, borrowing, and browsing and buying real estate can also be expected to be done through blockchain-based asset NFTs. Businesses can also advertise or market themselves in the metaverse through banners and sponsor or host an event. In the future, the metaverse could significantly transform the way organizations and consumers interact with products, services, and each other, resulting in more exciting, realistic, and natural experiences.

For example, museums and galleries can host digital art exhibitions, and artists can open a metaverse gallery and sell their NFTs to clients who needed three-dimensional models of their unique creations, and viewers can enjoy the show at home. using a virtual reality headset.

Another example is that the sports manufacturer “Nike” which sells the lifestyle has built the metaverse space called “Nikeland” which uses the Roblox platform to allow its fans to meet, socialize, participate in promotions and participate in a variety of brand experiences. The company says 7 million visitors have spent time at “Nikeland” since its launch in November 2021. They have been able to enjoy celebrity appearances from sports stars, as well as purchase exclusive digital merchandise to decorate their avatars. Each visitor to ‘Nikeland’ also becomes the guardian of their own ‘yard’ – a personal space within ‘Nikeworld’ which can be used to show off their collectibles and decorated to suit their personality.

4. What are the stakes of the metaverse?

Metaverse must overcome challenges to become fully operational and to begin with, it is “interoperability” between the many platforms from different vendors that must be merged to operate as one unified universe rather than a dispersed platform. Another challenge is the technology that is the lifeblood of the Metaverse, although companies are rushing to develop the latest technology that would enable Metaverse experiences, is currently neither user-friendly nor affordable, resulting in limited adoption.

Metaverse will also raise new challenges for data collection and protection, as well as cybersecurity and privacy. Security will be paramount, as a new decentralized digital world could offer malicious agents new entry points for attacks. Authenticity and trust must be at the center to reduce the misinformation that has often troubled the internet.

Companies that create trustworthy metaverse experiences and protect privacy rights can build consumer loyalty and help them stay on top of metaverse trends to predict consumer preferences and purchasing behavior. The advantage can be transferred to companies that offer (via hardware or software) reliable ways for users to enter the metaverse. This will require rules for trusted digital identities, rules of engagement for users, rules for how the metaverse itself may change over time, and enforcement mechanisms, including tax collection , data governance and regulatory compliance.

5. If Metaverse is here to stay?

With increasing digitization, ongoing technological advancements and major investments in metaverse infrastructure by tech companies, shift to influencer marketing on platforms such as WeChat, YouTube, Instagram, omnichannel commerce, new Immersive retail, entertainment, sports and innovations in both virtual-to-virtual and virtual-to-physical transactions will drive the growth of the metaverse in the future. Post-pandemic consumer expectations have changed dramatically and they expect rapid delivery of highly innovative experiences from businesses. They want to be bounded by the constraints of the physical world and tend to see brands in the metaverse space as innovative.

Finally, the Metaverse has great future potential and is here to stay. To create value across the organization, business leaders need to take the time to think about the potential strategic implications of the metaverse for sales, operations, production, R&D, and HR. Companies and brands that plan and execute now will benefit the most from the future of the Metaverse.

(The author is a professor of marketing at Amity University. Opinions expressed are personal.)

The Middle East and Africa seem to be the fastest growing markets for the automotive metaverse due to the huge volume of investment in the region. Asia-Pacific is also expected to see strong demand due to the presence of automotive OEMs and software start-ups. India will need to improve their game to take the lead.

Metaverse is not owned by a major tech giant; it is a world where all new technologies come together to create a virtual world as functional as our real world.