Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the contributors are theirs.
One of the most innovative ideas to gain momentum is the concept of metaverse. For marketers, it’s essential to understand what the metaverse is and how it impacts how brands promote their products and services.
Related: Oculus Founder Slams Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Terrible’ Metaverse
What is the Metaverse?
Think of science fiction films from the early to mid-20th century. In those movies, they depicted the future of floating cities with millions of flying cars driving around (for those who can’t afford to teleport, of course). Some aspects of these films came true, such as the robots depicted in the 1927 film Metropolis or video calls shown in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course, much of today’s technology looks very different from those early predictions. The same can be said of the metaverse.
Although there have been discussions over the past decade about creating a metaverse, most people still don’t know what a metaverse is. Part of the challenge in defining the metaverse is that it’s still very early in the development stages. The reality is that we don’t know what the metaverse will look like in the future. Metaverse is really at a point where science fiction is starting to meet reality.
Much of the promotional metaverse content we see right now is ambitious and doesn’t represent what can be done with today’s technology. What is exciting is that the future is unknown.
Related: Your brand can be part of the metaverse. Here’s how.
The Metaverse and Web 3.0
Although the metaverse will be an important innovation in this century, its development is not an isolated event. The development of the metaverse is only 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 focusing on creating and adopting a third iteration of the Internet (called Web3 or Web 3.0).
For marketers, it’s important to understand the technology being considered for Web 3.0, as many of these innovations will be integrated and propel 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 even further by emphasizing user-created content (emails, blogs, video content) and peer-to-peer interactions (social media). The evolution to Web 3.0 will move the Internet to a trustless and permissionless version of the Internet, which means users will have more control over their data and Internet usage.
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 shared and developed collectively. These technologies will include decentralized financial platforms (Defi), decentralized applications (dApps) and decentralized autonomous organizations (DOAs).
Related: How Small Businesses Can Use the Metaverse to Increase 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 significantly disrupted by the shift from physical to digital spaces. Today, the metaverse industry is valued at over $61 billion. This is expected to grow rapidly, with some predicting a total market value of over $400 billion over the next five years. Savvy marketers need to understand how to start taking advantage of new opportunities to promote their products and services on digital platforms. Here are five ways marketers can get started today.
1. Integrate the metaverse into your marketing strategy
The most important thing marketers can do today is develop an overall strategy for how their business will adapt and shift its efforts into digital spaces. Since the metaverse is still largely in development, resources must be allocated to monitoring and understanding this emerging technology. Companies that have the best visibility on new technologies and advancements in the space will have a significant advantage. At the rate at which technology is changing, reactive approaches will be ineffective.
2. Create your own digital spaces
Brands should consider creating their own digital spaces within existing digital platforms. There is a wide range of strategies for creating these spaces, depending on the type of product or service you are marketing. Companies offering physical products may consider creating a digital version of one of their physical sites. For example, a car manufacturer can create a digital car showroom where users can check out the latest models.
3. Immersive experiences
Traditional marketing approaches have worked for decades, but the metaverse environment will demand more immersive experiences. For example, a major movie theater brand could create a virtual movie theater where you could visit and watch a movie with friends who are thousands of miles away. Or a Michelin-starred restaurant could invite visitors to join them in a digital kitchen to learn how to cook alongside world-class chefs.
4. Digital collectibles
In the real world, some companies focus on distributing branded items such as T-shirts or other collectibles to their biggest fans. It 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 look of the user’s avatar. Disney is a great example by allowing Fortnite players to “dress” their in-game characters as Marvel or star wars– thematic 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 are needed in metaverse marketing, traditional marketing efforts shouldn’t be completely abandoned. The metaverse world could still allow many traditional types of advertising, such as billboards and advertising on the side of digital buildings. We’re already seeing this as big companies place digital advertising in digital stadiums in popular sports games, much like they would in real life.
Related: 5 Metaverse Jobs That Could Make Your Kids Rich
The metaverse creates unlimited marketing potential
In the short term, there may be some limitations on the types of digital advertising and marketing you can conduct in the metaverse. For example, a cookie manufacturer may rely on the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies to sell their product. Sniffing digital cookies (unfortunately) is not an option. So, some companies may need to be more creative when it comes to marketing their products.
However, there is a lot more flexibility than limitations in the Metaverse. For example, a natural history museum could promote a new dinosaur exhibit by encouraging young users to spend an afternoon working 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 Entrepreneur Is Using The Metaverse To Create An Immersive Virtual Lesbian Bar So It’s Accessible To Everyone