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One of the most innovative ideas to gain momentum is the concept of the metaverse. It’s critical for marketers to understand what the metaverse is and how it will affect how brands promote their products and services.
Related: Oculus founder slams Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Terrible’ Metaverse
What is the Metaverse?
Think science fiction movies from the early to mid-20th century. In those movies, they imagined the future of floating cities with millions of flying cars flying around (for those who can’t afford teleportation, of course). Some aspects of these films came true, such as robots depicted in the 1927 film Metropolis or video calls shown in the 1968 movie 2001: A space odyssey. Of course, much of today’s technology looks very different from those early predictions. The same can be said about the metaverse.
Although there has been talk of creating a metaverse for the past decade or so, most people still don’t know what the metaverse is. Part of the challenge in defining the metaverse is that it is still very early in its development phase. The reality is that we don’t know what the metaverse will look like in the future. The metaverse is really at a point where science fiction is starting to meet reality.
Much of the promotional metaverse content we see now is ambitious and does not represent what can be done with current technology. The exciting thing is that the future is unknown.
Related: Your brand can become part of the metaverse. Here’s how.
The Metaverse and Web 3.0
While the metaverse will be an important innovation in this century, its development is not an isolated one. The development of the metaverse is just one part of a much larger transformation of digital technology. It’s hard to imagine a metaverse built on top of our existing infrastructure. For this reason, many companies are shifting their focus to creating and adopting a third iteration of the Internet (called Web3 or Web 3.0).
It’s important for marketers to understand the technology being envisioned for Web 3.0, as many of these innovations will be incorporated into and powering the metaverse. The first version of the Internet (Web 1.0) focused on simple protocols that could be used to share and deliver information. Web 2.0 went one step further, focusing on user-created content (email, blogs, video content) and peer-to-peer interactions (social media). The evolution to Web 3.0 will transform the Internet into a trusted and permissionless version of the Internet, meaning people will have more control over their data and how they use the Internet.
Web 3.0 will be heavily powered by blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented reality. Web 3.0 will also shift to a more decentralized model where sites, applications, and tools are collectively shared and developed. These technologies include decentralized financial platforms (Defi), decentralized applications (dApps), and decentralized autonomous organizations (DOAs).
Related: How Small Businesses Can Use the Metaverse to Grow Their Customers
How to use the metaverse for marketing today
Businesses around the world are beginning to realize that their advertising and marketing efforts are likely to be severely disrupted by the shift from physical to digital spaces. Today, the metaverse industry is worth more than $61 billion. This is expected to increase rapidly, with some taking a total market value in excess of $400 billion within the next five years. Smart marketers need to understand how to take advantage of new opportunities to promote their products and services on digital platforms. Here are five ways marketers can get started today.
1. Incorporate the metaverse into your marketing strategy
The most important thing marketers can do today is develop a comprehensive strategy about how their business will adapt and move its efforts into digital spaces. Because the metaverse is largely still in development, resources should be allocated to monitoring and understanding this emerging technology. Companies that have the best visibility into new technology and advancements in space will have a significant advantage. With the speed of technology development, reactive approaches will not be effective.
2. Create your own digital spaces
Brands should consider creating their own digital spaces within existing digital platforms. There is a wide variety of strategies when it comes to creating these spaces depending on the type of product or service you are marketing. Businesses with physical products may want to consider building a digital version of one of their physical locations. For example, a car manufacturer can create a digital car showroom where users can view the latest models.
3. Immersive experiences
Traditional marketing approaches have worked for decades, but the metaverse environment will require more immersive experiences. For example, a major movie theater brand could create a virtual movie theater where you can visit and watch a movie with friends thousands of miles away. Or a Michelin-starred restaurant can invite visitors to learn how to cook with world-renowned chefs in a digital kitchen.
4. Digital collectibles
In the real world, some companies focus on handing out branded items such as T-shirts or other collectibles to their biggest fans. This can work the same way in the metaverse. Some companies focus on creating and distributing digital collectibles. These can range from unique badges to skins that can change the appearance of the user’s avatar. Disney is a good example by allowing Fortnite players to “dress up” their in-game characters in Marvel or Star Wars– theme skins. Many of these skins are used to promote upcoming movies or other events.
NFT (non-fungible token) technology can create unique and exclusive collectibles that can be issued to users.
5. Traditional marketing with a digital twist
While new approaches will be needed for metaverse marketing, traditional marketing efforts should not be completely abandoned. The metaverse world can still allow for many traditional types of advertising, such as billboards and ads on the side of digital buildings. We are already seeing this as major companies paste digital advertising into digital stadiums into popular sports games, just as they would in real life.
Related: 5 Metaverse Jobs That Can Make Your Kids Wealthy
The metaverse creates unlimited marketing potential
In the short term, there may be some restrictions on the types of digital advertising and marketing you can run in the metaverse. For example, a cookie manufacturer may rely on the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to sell its product. Smelling digital cookies is (unfortunately) not an option. So some companies may need to get more creative when it comes to how they market their products.
However, there is much more flexibility than there are limitations within the metaverse. For example, a natural history museum could promote a new dinosaur exhibit by attracting young users to spend an afternoon as a “digital zookeeper” feeding and caring for a virtual baby Triceratops.
Ultimately, the most creative and innovative marketing departments will shine in this new digital world.
Related: This australiabusinessblog.com is using the metaverse to create an immersive virtual lesbian bar so it’s open to everyone