The so-called metaverse.
For something that has precisely nothing to with Doctor Strange, the Avengers, or indeed any other part of the whole Marvel thing, it all sounds suspiciously and fluffily fantastical. In fact though, writes Jonathan Sedger, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at twogether, it’s very real, very here and now, and to be taken very seriously by those that don’t want to be left behind...
So, what exactly is the Metaverse?
The Meta (Facebook) vision of The Metaverse” is that it will evolve to become the new 3D UI of the internet wherein users interact with 3D digital objects and one another via avatars, but so far the reality is that it has just become a catch-all term for every variety of 3D interactive digital experience, with Web3 and some other stuff often lumped in with it all too.
What the metaverse is plainly not then (at least not yet), is a single, all-encompassing entity. Which is probably why there’s so much debate over the term’s meaning and usefulness.
The conclusion we reached at a recent metaverse industry event (hosted by one of the larger consulting firms) was this however: while the word metaverse has been misconstrued, misinterpreted, and misused at times, its use has also achieved one very important thing – it’s given the aforementioned emergent interactive 3D interactive digital experiences (Web/VR/AR) the attention that they undoubtedly deserve.
(While I say ‘emergent’, having been around for the last decade or so, these technologies aren’t exactly ‘new’. What’s also true however, is that they’ve been woefully underutilised, especially in the B2B space.)
Cool, you say, but what does it have to do with B2B marketing? What’s in it for me? And not tomorrow, now? Plenty, quite frankly.
Why B2B marketers should care
First of all, it’s kind of a big deal and it’s not going away. The fact that the biggest names in tech are investing $10s of billions in metaverse-related activities proves that. So too does Citi’s projection for the size of the metaverse economy by 2030: $13 trillion.**
Second, (and this may provide a clue as to why the numbers quoted above and others like them are being bandied about so freely) the metaverse is about a great deal more than just entertainment. It’s predicted to penetrate every area of our lives from education and training to engineering and medicine, to construction and (yes) marketing.
Okay, so the metaverse is probably going to be a pretty big noise. But how big exactly?
It’s hard to be certain, but at another recent event we attended, AntiConLX Global 2022, Steven Bartlett of Dragons Den fame, offered an idea or two.
Asked whether the metaverse was “all hype” or if, conversely, it will see us all “end up in the matrix”, Bartlett was confident that it would probably be “somewhere in the middle”, and that’s a view we happen to share here at twogether.
No one has a crystal ball here, but Bartlett – who made his fortune by spotting social trends before most corporations – seems as close to clairvoyance as we’re likely to get. He likened today’s metaverse cynics to the likes of MTV who procrastinated about launching social media pages in the early 2010s.
“How relevant are MTV now?”, he inquired of the audience.
With savvy tech natives emerging as the new decision-makers, rare is the organisation that can afford that kind of brand apathy and atrophy.
How to avoid it? Bartlett suggests finding ways to get your teams experimenting faster than the competition. And it’s sage advice. As I say, the associated tech has been evolving for 10 years or so now. That being the case, why wait until the metaverse is built in its entirety (if such a thing is even possible) when you could be stealing a march on the competition and gaining an edge now?
Practical steps might include:
- Using AR experiences to bridge the gap between physical and digital DMs; creating experiences that your buyers will remember when the BDR calls
- Captivating your 1:1 accounts with personalised content hubs set in immersive 3D environments where the sales team can build deeper connections with decision-makers
- Recreating some manner of human connection for virtual audiences that can’t make it to your events in person
- Supplementing your physical experiences with immersive digital ones
- Bringing your brand story to life in an interactive, 3D world rather than via samey landing pages and corporate videos
- Transforming learning content for your sales team
With such ideas demonstrating the real, live opportunities that even the fledgling metaverse tech represents, the potential for the future is clear. And keep in mind that users don’t need headsets to access today’s experiences – they can be accessed via mobile and desktop interfaces.
Clearly, there is much for marketing leaders to consider as the path to mass metaverse tech adoption opens up before them. How to adapt their brands for 3D interactive experiences. How to equip their sales and marketing functions. The potential risks and rewards.
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