Metaverse triggered a wave of curiosity among Facebook users when the company renamed itself, Meta. The Metaverse technology today is picking up big as more and more businesses are realizing the value of offering enhanced, digitally immersive customer experiences. In short, it is nothing but going real in the virtual world. Several leading app development software companies are working to innovate in this space.
Just as the internet, which came as a big breakthrough for online retailers, business enterprises carry the same vibe for the Metaverse. Many companies believe that Metaverse is capable of reinventing customer-seller relationships. Its ability to teleport people, objects, and feelings could expand its horizon for customer reach. It has a greater value in terms of marketing and establishing a symbiotic relationship with customers.
What Is Metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual environment that simulates every element of the real world. It offers a unique experience that uses a combination of technologies such as AR, VR, and 3D avatars. It lets users connect with friends, colleagues, family, favorite destinations, and lifestyles in a virtual environment. It can connect several virtual platforms the way the internet connects websites through a browser. Metaverse gives one more reason for organizations to gear up for digital transformation.
Why Do Marketers Anticipate Metaverse As the Better Alternative to Traditional Marketing Approaches?
Customers accustomed to the digital world find it easy to fit in the Metaverse and are comfortable exploring products in a novel way. There is no limit to the imagination in the Metaverse, which makes it ideal for running unique marketing campaigns. It can take digital marketing to a whole new dimension and engage customers through an immersive environment. It even helps business owners to save costs over expensive marketing campaigns, especially small businesses that prefer attracting customers through low-cost marketing strategies.
Considering the fact the average human attention span is 8 seconds, it is a challenging task for marketers to drive customers’ attention and achieve the company’s goal ( brand awareness, sales, etc.). But with Metaverse, their tasks become relatively easy; customers can walk through the product without encountering long sales pitches or skip the products they don’t want. Besides that, they can learn about the product at their own pace.
Personalized experience has been a focal point for most brands today to attract customers and drive profit. As per MarketWatch, 85% of business owners admit that delivering a personalized experience is their highest priority, and failing to meet this could significantly impact the bottom line. Metaverse can drive a high level of personalization and facilitate brands to build strong affection with customers. Compared to forced marketing campaigns, Metaverse gives customers the liberty to take complete control over product selection through a shared virtual space and virtual avatars. Another reason to envision Metaverse as a marketing platform is the customers changing preferences for product interaction. Customers now rely on social media, community sites, review and rating sites, and other digital platforms to explore products. They prefer to interact with products in a fun and entertaining way, like story-telling, public polls, or live chat. This is where Metaverse could be pretty valuable.
Best Use Cases of Metaverse In Marketing
Metaverse digital social media:
Technology has changed the way customers communicate and interact with brands. They explore every possible channel; social media sites, discussion forums, and community platforms- before buying the product. They prefer sharing their views on the product with friends, family, and influencers over these channels.
With the introduction of Metaverse, business enterprises are entering the new world of virtual socializing, and it can give wings to customer engagement. Customers can hang out in groups and socialize with each other and discuss the products. In the future, brands can use this virtual space to communicate with customers in real-time and close deals quickly.
Example- Roblox “Vans World”:
Roblox is a virtual platform that brings people together through games and entertainment. Roblox has partnered with Vans, a global action sports brand, to create an interactive experience, “Vans World .”The idea behind “Vans World” is to build brand awareness and engage customers. The brand is said to be bringing skateboarding, fashion, and community together by allowing customers to create custom skateboards and shoes. Visitors can virtually explore skate sites with friends, play games, and earn points. They can use these points to buy virtual sneakers and apparel items. The company was successful in engaging new and existing customers with more than 48 million visitors.
In the traditional marketing approach, marketers used to be involved in various activities to give information about the product or services to customers, such as giving demos, communicating with customers, preparing seminars, etc. It is a tedious process, and yet sometimes marketers fall short of their goals and lose customers.
However, with Metaverse, the marketers’ job becomes pretty simple and yields better results by including immersive experiences to the customers. Marketers put customers into a virtual environment where they can explore products by themselves and learn more in detail about them.
Nike, a well-known sports apparel and footwear company, used Metaverse to create a virtual space called Nikeland. The digital space allows players to outfit their Avatars with Nike virtual products. Visitors can play various games in the virtual space wearing Nike outfits. Further, they can use the accelerometer in their mobile devices to transfer offline movement to online play, enabling them to take real-time movement into digital space.
Maintaining its global image company wants players to compete in games that are associated with global sporting events. The company sees huge potential in Metaverse in connecting with the new generation of athletes and understanding their mindset. Once they know what visitors wear in the virtual world, they can come up with the same apparel and footwear in the real world.
Promotional marketing is done to raise the interest of customers in the products and influence their purchases. For instance, marketers’ offers free coupons or gift vouchers bundled with the main product. The conventional approach for promotional marketing is effective, but it does not have the active involvement of the customers. Simply distributing freebies cannot help business owners to make customers loyal to the brand.
It requires customers’ active participation. Metaverse can solve this problem. In the Metaverse virtual space, marketers can push various product promotional activities in a meaningful way.
Example- Chipotle Burrito Builder:
Chipotle is an American chain of fast-food restaurants known for its Mexican food. The food chain has launched a metaverse experience for players to increase customers’ footprint. Celebrating national Burrito Day, the brand offered free burritos to the first 100,000 participants. It asks customers to step behind the counter and roll their burritos.
They need to complete customers’ orders by rolling the burrito by following the arrow key within the set time. The winners earn the Burrito reward points and even unlock virtual items. Players can use reward points to exchange them to earn a free entree code. The brand has also launched Chipotle Boorito Maze, a ’90s-themed virtual restaurant paying homage to the company’s first outlet in Denver. Chipotle has become the first restaurant that allows loyal customers to exchange reward points and earn Roblox gift cards.
Creative marketing campaigns:
There are various types of marketing campaigns, such as affiliate marketing campaigns, email marketing campaigns, product marketing campaigns, etc. The goal of a marketing campaign is to convey the brand’s message clearly to the customers. But despite investing heavily in marketing campaigns, many companies fail to deliver their messages to their customers effectively.
For a successful marketing campaign, it is necessary that customers absorb maximum detail through the campaigns. Since businesses are at the forefront of digitization, their marketing strategy must reflect the latest trends. By taking the help of professionals in digital marketing services, organizations can make their campaigns more effective. Metaverse can work as the icing on the cake for creating an interactive marketing campaign and standing out from the rest.
Example- Gucci Garden Archetype:
Gucci is an Italian high-end luxury brand popular for its opulent designs. On its 100th anniversary, the brand has created a unique and memorable moment for its customers through a virtual Gucci Garden. The Gucci Garden is a virtual exhibition that takes visitors through themed rooms depicting 15 of the most appealing advertising campaigns inspired by Gucci’s creative director.
With each room, the visitors go through a series of emotions as it showcases glimpses of the aesthetic garden and intergalactic scenes from Berlin, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Meanwhile, visitors can explore and purchase Gucci’s exclusive virtual items. The items included in the virtual garden were perfumes, eyewear, bottles, hats, and bags. The item cost around $5, but the campaign was for a limited period of time, which sky-rocketed the products’ resale value. One of its virtual bags was sold for around $4000.
Brand awareness via NFTs:
While buying products from retail shops, customers usually ask for the product with their brand names rather than the product. For instance, customers ask for a band-aid and not a plastic bandage, Coke and not fizzy drinks, or Colgate and not toothpaste. Customers are loyal to their brands and buy products even if the price is higher than their competitors. It is due to the company’s outstanding efforts for brand awareness. It is critical for business sustainability. Brand awareness is a continuous process, and marketers must be mindful in pitching brands to customers. Metaverse offers a platform where brands can interact with customers on a much deeper level and develop a distinct voice in their minds.
Example- Coca-Cola NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens):
Metaverse is not just limited to virtual avatars or merchandise, but it has emerged as the best platform to auction collectibles and NFTs. Coca-Cola, as part of its digital campaign, created four NFTs that include a Coca-Cola bubble jacket, a sound visualizer, a friendship card, and a friendship box. The NFT auction fetched a whopping $575,000 that went to charity. The winning bidder receives a real-life retro refrigerator filled with Coca-Cola and other stuff. Coca-Cola has been successful in connecting with customers over the period through their lifestyle and culture. Identifying the rising trend of technologies such as Metaverse and NFTs, once again, Coca-Cola strikes the right chord to drive customers’ attention.
The global metaverse market is valued at approximately $38.88 billion in 2021 and is estimated to grow at 39.5% over the forecast period 2022- 2028. Forward-looking brands seek new ways to connect with their customers, and Metaverse has huge potential. Unlike typical customer-buyer interaction, Metaverse is unique in its offering as customers are actively involved in the sale process. It means they can expect some mind-blowing immersive experience and feel a strong connection with the brand. Customers can build, learn, explore, share and do much more with products that were not possible earlier. On the other hand, the brand can usher into a new era of marketing where it can achieve optimum customer traction with minimum effort. Metaverse is the future for customer engagement, and companies investing in this new technology can play a long-term game.
By: Jason Adams