By Steven Moy, CEO, Barbarian
While the metaverse is the new bright, shiny object for marketers, consumers are still lagging in fully understanding what it is, or even how to find it — and rightfully so.
Many consumers still haven’t visited Decentraland or created a space scene in Roblox, and they may find the prospect elusive or overwhelming. And we’ve seen a handful of marketers rushing to be on the vanguard, only to fail due to lack of authenticity or true function beyond hype and headlines.
But, if done right, marketers can guide customers into these uncharted waters and attract new customers along the way. And because Web 3.0 is still the wild, wild digital west, start-ups can begin to compete with household brands like P&G if they get it right and create experiences that enhance, engage and delight. The opportunities are wide open.
Here are five considerations as you begin your marketing journey into the metaverse:
1. Make a Long-Term Commitment
The metaverse may still be evolving at a rapid pace, but one thing is certain — it is here to stay. Simply setting up a virtual game or storefront isn’t going to build relationships. You need to lead consumers there, and you have to keep iterating your presence and making it better. When fans of your brand return to your space, you need to reward them with new content. And beware, if you engage fans, and they come back only to find you’ve closed up shop, you will have done more harm than good.
2. Make Purchase Ability Painless
What has made social commerce so successful has been making the ability to purchase seamless, offering checkout functionality. When creating a presence in the metaverse, customers should be able to make a purchase directly, with no barriers or obstacles.
3. Make Your Digital and Physical Worlds Seamless
As many brands contemplate their place in the metaverse, they should aim to create equally rich in-person and virtual experiences. For example, Disney – famously the happiest place on Earth IRL – is working on creating a metaverse experience that seamlessly blends the physical park experience with virtual storytelling.
This may be more challenging for brands that may not seem like a natural fit for a digital experience, such as food and beverage providers. However, brands like Wendy’s and AB InBev have successfully created rich brand touchpoints in the metaverse that range from a Fortnight food fight to sponsoring metaverse horse races where you can buy your friend a beer that’s then delivered to their home address.
4. Interact With Customers at Every Touchpoint in the Omniverse
Consumers today already have extensive brand interactions across physical and digital worlds. The metaverse is just one new touchpoint in the omniverse — a combination of physical, digital and now metaverse worlds.
Today, you should be communicating with customers on your website where they’re researching your latest merch, on Instagram where they sign up for a 25% off deal, in-store where they finally try it out, and on third-party sites where they search for the best price and buy it. Consider this entire world before strategically planning how the metaverse fits into their journey, like rewarding a customer’s loyalty for successful checkout with a digital version of your merchandise to outfit their avatar.
5. Use NFTs to Build Brand Loyalty and Collect Data
Most consumers and marketers understand NFTs to be collectibles like baseball cards or Beanie Babies. But NFTs can be utilized as true, universal customer IDs that can facilitate rich data collection, contextualized communications (don’t serve me the same ads twice) and anywhere commerce (let me buy when I want to buy).
Consumers today understand data collection trade-offs and are willing to share their data in exchange for a more tailored experience. Using NFTs as unique IDs will allow consumers to move through different spaces without having to constantly re-register or initiate a new sign-up every time, making the shopping experience more seamless.
Here’s the bottom line: The future belongs to brands that create inclusive communities and rewarding experiences. While Web 3.0 and the metaverse are still in their infancy, each passing minute, these worlds are offering bigger and better opportunities to forge rich, direct relationships with your customers. Before you dive in headfirst, take the time to consult with the experts who can help you learn from others’ mistakes and create a rich and lasting return on investment.