Should we be marketing in the Metaverse?

As the saying goes, go where your customers are, and that might include marketing in the Metaverse to them. But how do brands decide when the right time is to get on the Metaverse bandwagon? Futurist Faith Popcorn said the time is now. Our own consumer study found that consumers care about a Metaverse presence by brands. We’ll discuss that topic and more in this article.

Article sections:

What is the Metaverse?
Who needs to be in the Metaverse?
How to interact in the Metaverse as a brand?
The ways to get started in the Metaverse
Examples of companies in the Metaverse

What is the Metaverse anyway?

On “Reel Talk: The Customer Insights Show” Futurist Faith Popcorn said that the Metaverse is an “alternate reality that is growing as in-real-life gets tougher and tougher to navigate.”

The Metaverse likely came out of gaming, Faith said, and includes:

  • People creating a digital version of themselves – through an avatar
  • The creation of a digital life. For example, when my daughter says she’s farming in the virtual world and just sold 15 virtual chickens, she’s indeed a participant.
  • Interact with other people in this digital world.

Metaverse participation can be done through:

  • Desktop computers – like on platforms that include virtual ways to interact through spatial audios of our actual voices but avatar-like bodies.
  • Virtual reality headsets and interactions
  • Smartphones

“There’s a lot of mixing of who you are and where you are,” said Faith. “How you show up is also an aspect of the Metaverse.”

Who needs to be in the Metaverse?

Faith said she has many big brands saying,” ‘I don’t know. Do we really have to do this?’ That’s also what they said, by the way, about home delivery. They said that about the internet, and now they are saying it about the Metaverse.”

Marketing expert Jason Falls cautions a bit: “The Metaverse is neat, but it’s not for everybody or every brand. And there’s still a lot of gap-closing that needs to happen between consumer engagement and brands solving the problem of how to drive that engagement.”

Even if it’s not for your brand or not today, marketing in the Metaverse needs to be considered as audiences move there.

“You need to be where the eyes are,” Faith said. “And the eyes, bodies, and future are in the Metaverse.”

How to interact in the Metaverse as a brand?

And there certainly is a gap in how brands are learning to market themselves in the Metaverse. It’s often the case that people do what they’ve done in existing places in the new areas.

Think about when publishers moved online from print. They treated online like a print publication, except it was on a screen and not on paper. But, of course, we now know that people consume content differently online and publishers need to produce digital content differently.

"You do it well by really understanding where you are when you are in the Metaverse."

And environments and consumer behaviors change, Faith said, which can be challenging for companies to stay ahead of.

She said to think of it this way. In typical marketing, it’s:

  • Who is the brand talking to?
  • What does brand mean?

But when it comes to marketing in the Metaverse, it’s more like:

  • Who is the brand talking to now… and how about now… and now?
  • What does the brand mean… and how about now… and now?

And then consider how you show up. Maybe it’s not in a suit, Faith said.

“Google captured that early on by changing its logo daily, but this is like changing your logo every minute,” she said. “The idea of fluidity really becomes a watchword in the Metaverse.”

How to get started in the Metaverse

It’s a mindset to start. But, first, understand what the Metaverse is, how it could be added to the overall strategy and what kind of marketing in the Metaverse would make sense.

“I also think you have to play personally in the Metaverse,” Faith said. “You’d be surprised how many CEOs I ask, ‘have you ever put on an Oculus headset?’ and they say, ‘well, I should.'”

Participating yourself at some level – even if it’s just as an observer – helps you understand the Metaverse. From there, it’s easier to determine how brands can start to show up in the Metaverse.

“If you don’t get it, a different brand can disrupt you,” Faith said.

Consider what the future will hold, she said, and that can even include cars and bars in the Metaverse.

“What a great opportunity for an alcoholic beverage company to start a bar in the Metaverse,” she said. “But start a bar differently. And maybe every day, the bar changes.”

Don’t think of it as balancing another network in your strategy, but evolve your marketing and participation, Faith said.

“And that experience just has to be unique in the Metaverse,” said Jenn Vogel, CRO at Voxpopme and host of “Reel Talk.” “You can’t just take what you are doing in real life and then throw it in the Metaverse.”

To get started, partner with people who know what they are doing and have tried strategies in the Metaverse, Faith said.

Determine how your company offerings fit in the Metaverse

Finding the right fit is crucial. Clothing brands can sell virtual versions of their outfits. So can beauty products, Faith said.

“But what is beauty in the Metaverse?” she wondered aloud. “Is it changing your genesis? Your species?”

"If it's the real thing in real life, it has to be something different in the Metaverse."

While integrated marketing is built on the practice of brand consistency, brands may have to let some of that go in the Metaverse, Faith said. Things are just not consistent there, and change is fluid and ongoing.

“I think we have to let go of those rule books of marketing,” Faith said.

And to do marketing in the Metaverse work, consider taking the approach of “playing.” Make it fun, explore and find new ways to connect with your audience.

Like this article? Read more like it here. 

What’s a question you’d like to ask consumers?