Marketing in the Metaverse: how businesses can thrive in the great unknown

Christian Thomson
LinkedIn

Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing.

If there’s anything digital marketers and advertisers have found out in the past decade, it’s that nothing stays the same for very long. Increased competition and near-daily disruption make succeeding with traditional digital marketing methods more difficult by the day.

Meanwhile, some marketers have their sights locked onto an opportunity they believe is much bigger: advertising and marketing in the Metaverse.

They have identified the Metaverse as an advertising and marketing venue that is practically untapped, but that holds the potential for billions of dollars in sales for forward-focused marketers who understand how to interact in this new and exciting environment.

In this article, we will describe the Metaverse and uncover a few of the opportunities for advertising and marketing to its “citizens.”

So what IS the Metaverse, anyway?

According to The Verge, the term “Metaverse” first appeared in the novel Snow Crash, written by Neal Stephenson and published in 1992. In the novel, Metaverse refers to a convergence of physical, augmented, and virtual reality that allows multiple users to interact within a shared space.

ERIK LONDRÉ, FOUNDER OF KARTA, DESCRIBES THE METAVERSE AS “INTERNET 2.0” – THE “SUM TOTAL OF ALL SHARED VIRTUAL WORLDS.” FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBURG CALLS IT “THE SUCCESSOR TO THE MOBILE INTERNET.”

To put it in practical terms, think of the Metaverse as the universe of all places – physical, digital, and in between – where humans can interact.

Most people, if they have heard of the Metaverse at all, associate it with multiple-player online video games. Although this is a good way to connect to the concept, the Metaverse goes far beyond this example – it continually evolves to allow people almost anywhere in the world to have any kind of experience they want.

Why is now the right time for marketers to innovate within the Metaverse?

The Metaverse has developed rapidly just out of sight of ordinary Internet users for years. Until recently, though, it hasn’t been seen as a viable opportunity to market to users as potential long-term customers.

There are several factors, though, that make this the ideal time for marketers to explore, innovate, and test Metaverse marketing:

  • There is practically no competition. Very few marketers or brands currently focus on creating and implementing ads and marketing in this space. This gives you the chance to step up and become the go-to-authority in your industry, even when your competitors are tripping over each other back on Internet 1.0.
  • The way we live, work, and buy has changed forever. Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, people were used to going to physical stores, restaurants, workplaces, and other venues where they could engage socially. Today, the isolation many people feel is driving them to demand much more interactive virtual experiences to replace the social interaction they’ve lost.
  • Humans want new experiences without the headaches. Cities around the world are losing population as people are seeking more space and lower living costs. The Metaverse will likely continue this trend by giving people the opportunity to have new, exciting experiences while living just about anywhere in the world. As humans continue to leave urban areas, the need for digital and hybrid engagement will continue to increase.

What are some of the opportunities for advertising and marketing in the metaverse?

With such a vast, untapped opportunity, there will come a time when legions of advertisers and marketers show up, ready to sell. When that happens, the Metaverse may end up plagued with the same problems that squash Internet and social media marketers by the thousands today.

If you take action now, though, you can build and protect your empire within the Metaverse before the masses show up.

Here are just a few of the ways Metaverse advertising and marketing are helping brands interact with their audiences today:

Branded virtual and hybrid experiences

When people are discussing the Metaverse, the word “experience” comes up a lot. That’s because that’s what users are looking for – something new and different where they can participate in a unique experience without the hassles of physical travel.

Concerts, both large and small, are emerging as branded events that garner massive attention. One of the most well-known examples is the recent Travis Scott virtual concert, which attracted more than 12 million attendees.

Virtual product launches, demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and many others can all serve as powerful branded events for your business. The more unique and memorable the experience, the greater the brand equity you build, which translates to the potential for more sales and revenue.

Coworking environments – themed, work/social

Even as companies begin to consider bringing employees back to centralized offices, the prospect of a full return to in-person work seems distant. Data collected by PwC revealed that 55% of workers would prefer to keep working remotely at least three days each week.

Still, at-home employees crave social interaction – “the office” is as much about meeting social needs as it is about completing projects and increasing company profits.

Virtual coworking environments give employees and independent contractors alike the chance to work alongside each other without being physically in the same room.

Marketers who want to build brand equity and be remembered in the Metaverse can host branded coworking rooms and facilities for users to enjoy. Your spaces can be as creative as you want, since there are no physical limitations. Make sure all of the virtual “resources” folks use while they’re visiting – cups, whiteboards, etc. – are designed using your brand colors and assets.

Virtual products

One Metaverse seller has already cashed in on virtual products in the Metaverse by selling virtual sneakers for over $1 million a pair. Gucci has begun selling virtual clothing in Roblox, and Louis Vuitton has started selling skins for League of Legends.

These are just a few examples of how virtual products could fit into your advertising and marketing plan. You might sell coffee in branded cups in a virtual kiosk, commemorative t-shirts at a virtual concert, or maybe offer VIP experiences to presentation attendees who want to go deeper.

The potential is nearly endless.

None of us truly know how the Metaverse will evolve, or how many opportunities will surface as it gains visibility and acceptance in the mainstream world. The sooner you begin exploring, though, the greater the chance that you’ll find that perfect opportunity before someone else does.

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