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The Metaverse and Its Place in Marketing

Picture this: You are the captain of a spaceship, the USS Callister, trying to defeat your arch-rival Valdack, the alien villain from another planet.  Your real-life boring co-workers are your subordinates. Even the one you are crushing on currently is a part of the crew. All is well and your subs treat you like the Starlord until your crush pulls a coup d’état – space edition on your leadership. 

Oh,  the heartbreak! 

Okay, this might be too dark. Let’s imagine a much softer scenario: 

You are turning eighty tomorrow but all you want to do is re-live your youth one last time. You share this with your regular doctor and something clicks – he informs you about a place called San Junipero where you can turn into your younger self again! With a snap of a finger, you are transported to this place and to your 20s. You re-live all those exciting times from your youth and even end up meeting the love of your life. 

Uh, sounds bizarre, right? 

Imagining such situations almost seemed outlandish when the infamous Black Mirror series hit Netflix in 2011. USS Callister and San Junipero were Black Mirror’s most popular episodes based on simulated reality. Even after these episodes came out, a virtual world where you could literally create your alter ego seemed far-fetched. 

That was until Mark Zuckerberg entered the Metaverse. 

For the uninitiated, Metaverse is a virtual universe where one can assume any avatar and build a simulated life for themselves. This universe keeps evolving based on user preferences and how they interact with their virtual environment. It is akin to the real world, but it doesn’t have an “end” – it just keeps inflating as more and more users join in. 

It is not a new concept, though – traces of the Metaverse go back as far as 1992, with the novel Snow Crash predicting its existence. The SecondLife wave in 2007 was the first proof of augmented reality, and then again in 2016 when Nike opened its first virtual store. Crypto adoption and Zuck’s decision about Facebook has just breathed new life into the Metaverse we know today. 

No one really knows how big it can get in the years to come but Bloomberg predicts that the Metaverse may soon be an 800$ billion market. This is the right time for modern marketers to make the most of this marketing opportunity. 

Let’s deep dive into the marketing opportunities in Metaverse 

Due to the pandemic and the global lockdown, a copious number of brands had to cancel their offline marketing events. Companies and artists (who represent various lifestyle brands) sought to present their events through different channels, the Metaverse being one of them. 

The most iconic Fortnite event featuring Travis Scott comes to mind. 

New marketing channels don’t come around often. Like any other form of media, the Metaverse can be used by brands to advertise and market themselves. Just like the magnitude of the Metaverse, the opportunities are also infinite: 

  • Native in-game advertising
  • Selling virtual goods for consumers’ avatars 
  • Limited edition digital collectibles
  • Creating virtual venues 
  • Hosting live events (we cannot stress this enough!)

Paris Hilton’s New Year’s Eve and even the iconic Time Square New Year’s Eve ball drop was replicated virtually in the Decentraland Metaverse in 2022. Such events suggest that a lot of prospects await at the Metaverse

Plus, since it’s so new, running a marketing campaign on the ‘Verse is relatively economical right now. So, marketers should leap at the chance, especially to lure in their Gen Z audience. Moreover, even the sky is not the limit for marketers looking to expand their real-life campaigns into the Metaverse. Here, AB InBev’s beer brand Stella Artois’ exceptional branding comes to mind. Artois collaborated with Zen Run to create a Tamagotchi-esque experience for the Kentucky Derby. In real life, Stella Artois is known for sponsoring horse races. So, creating a platform where their customers can trade, race, and breed NFT horses seemed like a natural choice – and ended up being one of the best marketing campaigns so far. 

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Next, marketers need to unload immersive experiences to make it in the Metaverse. Tech advertising companies like BidStack are already leveraging immersive content by placing ads on virtual billboards. Marketers can go one step further and offer brand installations and live events where users can interact with the products as well as other users. 

Metaverse in the future will be a shared collectors’ space as well, where just like in real life, people will invest heavily in collectibles. Marketers can offer limited-edition items that can only be collected in the Metaverse. For instance, Roblox allows its users to collect limited Gucci items in its Collector’s Room. From their initial sales, Gucci ended up collecting 286,000,000 Robux in the game – that’s $ 3,575,000 USD!  

Here are a few ways marketers can stay relevant in the Metaverse 

1. VIP access to events through NFTs

NFTs are one of the hottest innovations on the blockchain that allows users to own digital assets. Marketers can leverage NFTs to offer VIP access to exclusive events such as product launches. 

2. Product Customization

Brands can hold live demos for product customization and configuration within the Metaverse. These sessions enable users to customise products to their liking and also try on the products or choose to try them in real-time. 

3. Gamified Rewards

Marketers can create a gamified flywheel for a reward system in the Metaverse by offering redeemable virtual rewards that users can use anywhere in the brand’s metaverse. 

The Metaverse is a great place for marketers to experiment with various strategies and tactics as they continue to uncover new consumer behaviours and user insights. This is an untapped playground – one with no rules or best practices and so much to explore. The most inquisitive and nimble-witted of the lot could truly unleash their potential on the Metaverse. 

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Author avatar
Mayank Gulati