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Marketing in the metaverse: Limitless - Manisha Dokania

Twenty years ago, the internet became a thing and businesses across the globe realised that having a website was an absolute necessity for marketing. Today, it has almost become table stakes and hardly creates any sort of competitive advantage, unless you are in the e-commerce business. In the current environment, the metaverse, touted as Web 3.0, is trending.

While ‘metaverse’ is the buzzword these days, the question to ask is whether it is buzzworthy. Let’s see what the metaverse is and what it can accomplish. Imagine immersing yourself completely into a Van Gogh painting and getting lost under the starry nights! And that too without even leaving your house! Sounds completely fantastical, doesn’t it?Well, metaverse allows you to do just that.

A whole new world

Interestingly, the name ‘metaverse’ itself is quite a giveaway – ‘meta’ means beyond and ‘verse’ is derived from the universe. So, metaverse simply means beyond the universe, or for us, another universe. A universe, or a collective virtual shared space, that creates multiple ecosystems and allows us to have immersive experiences. For marketers, the metaverse is a dream come true!

With technology, marketing has also had a steep evolution curve. There was a time when businesses could talk to their customers only through limited means – 1) through strategically placed hoarding on busy roads and intersections, 2) advertisements on the television, and 3) ads placed in newspapers and periodicals. Today, the landscape has completely changed. One, as marketers we have multiple avenues through which we can connect with consumers and correspondingly, customers are able to talk to us as well. This means that engagements with customers are no longer one-way in nature, instead, it’s all about having meaningful conversations. And, two, marketing is no longer about pushing brands and products. It is more about enabling experiences and giving customers an opportunity to immerse themselves in the product or service experience. It is about making the value proposition more tangible. And this is where the metaverse can really shift the needle.

Big retail brands are already making their presence felt in the metaverse. Case in point would be a global luxury brand that launched a digital only collection in the metaverse. Interestingly, financial services companies are not far behind with leading global banks purchasing real estate in the metaverse in a bid to create presence in this alternate universe.

Do marketers need to jump into the metaverse?

Inarguably, the infinite metaverse is slowly revealing itself. Whether it makes sense for marketers to enter the metaverse or not depends on the target audience. The metaverse is largely occupied by the 18-28 yearold’s, the Gen Zs whose thinking is primarily shaped by their digital experiences. They are super comfortable with technology and are willing to jump into new experiences. They are also slowly emerging as the largest category of consumers. Thus, while today the question is more along the lines of ‘do we need to market in the metaverse’, very soon it will be ‘how can we market in the metaverse’.

Since branding, marketing, and advertising in the metaverse is in its most nascent stage at the moment, everyone is currently in a phase of discovery. When the possibilities are infinite, then finding the right solutions can be challenging. However, just through initial observation, it is obvious that regular ads will not work in the metaverse. As a marketer, you will really need to push open that box and throw it away. With creativity gaining prominence, as a marketer you will need to use ‘engagement’ as your main KPI. Also, measurement, tracking, and impact would be challenging to measure with existing metrics due to the nuances of the technology being used. Since the playground is different, the rules of the game and also the winning formula is going to be different.

This means that it gives marketers a unique opportunity to create the rules of the game and influence the shape of marketing in the metaverse.

The bottom line is that marketing in the universe is going to compel us all to rethink how we look at marketing since even the sky isn’t the limit in the metaverse.

Disclaimer: Ms. Manisha Dokania is the Head – Brand of Edelweiss Asset Management Limited (EAML) and the views expressed above are her own.

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