How the Metaverse will change the way marketing is done
Authored by Prasenjit Roy, Chief Marketing Officer, NTT Ltd in India.
The promise of a world where people can live, work and interact with others from the comfort of their homes seamlessly is a powerful concept, that has given rise to the Metaverse. The Metaverse is a concept that has the power to transform experiences – enabling enterprises to create a world with interactive life-like experiences. Research firm, Gartner defines a metaverse as a collective virtual shared space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. Gartner says that the Metaverse provides enhanced immersive experiences, is device independent and accessible through any type of device, from tablets to head-mounted displays. Not surprisingly, Gartner believes that the future belongs to the Metaverse, with 25% of people spending at least one hour a day in the Metaverse for work, shopping, education, social and/or entertainment.
The opportunity for brands
With better connectivity and technologies, the future looks exciting as every activity – from buying digital lands to conducting business to attending virtual classrooms – can take place in a single environment, not constrained by technologies or platforms. From a marketing perspective, the Metaverse offers opportunities for brands that are limited only by our imagination. For example, the Metaverse is always on and has self-contained economies with its own virtual currency. As the Metaverse enables firms and individuals to have virtual identities and presence, it allows marketers to engage consumers in different ways.
From static to interactive experiences
As marketers explore more opportunities in the marketplace, they will push the bar for delivering innovative experiences. Static experiences will completely transition to interactive and immersive experiences. There will be an increase in interactions, as visitors will be encouraged to earn points that they can exchange in the physical marketplace for real goods.
As the Metaverse ecosystem evolves, brands will choose different platforms and will continue to experiment till they zoom in on the perfect platform. For example, for some companies, gaming Metaverse focused platforms could be perfect, while for other firms, fashion focused Metaverse platforms could be more ideal. In the next few years, we could see the evolution of domain focused Metaverse platforms. Think of virtual universities, pubs, theaters and stadiums in the Metaverse. The possibilities are immense – the opportunity to interact with a digital avatar of your professor or exchanging a virtual handshake with a celebrity or a sports icon.
Marketers can create their own versions of Metaverses, with huge possibilities for expansion. As has been showed by many brands, it is possible to create a virtual asset within a Metaverse. For example, a car firm may have its branded cars in a popular interactive game, while a retail store may offer virtual clothes or shoes for customers to experiment and try on.
Using virtual or augmented reality systems, brands can transition from static mediums to more interactive and measurable mediums that tell them exactly what a customer likes. If a popular virtual shoe or shirt or dress is downloaded in a big way, it tells the firm that the probability of success in the physical world is also high. What’s more, it can even help the customer personalise the particular shoe or dress – from the color to the way the particular asset is designed.
Privacy and security concerns in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is a relatively new space, and has no defined best practices for ensuring security. Identities can be spoofed, digital avatars can be taken over by malicious actors and location spoofing can be done to steal information or misrepresent someone. Most users are not aware of the data they are providing to a specific Metaverse platform. As no regulations exist with respect to data sovereignty or privacy for Metaverse platforms (such as GDPR), the data is at the mercy of the Metaverse platform owner. Metaverse platforms also contain a lot of biometric data related to the user (fingerprints, facial scans, retina scans, voice prints, etc.), which can leave users extremely vulnerable to external attacks.
In summary, as the Metaverse evolves, we will see a tremendous increase in levels of innovation, and marketing will never be the same again. This will have a tremendous impact on other key functions too, as they, too, will benefit from the transformative impact of the Metaverse. This is an immensely exciting time for all marketers, and has huge potential for experimenting and creating new ways of marketing techniques that have never been explored before.