If a company hopes to grow, an omnichannel customer experience and marketing strategy are essential. Consider Coca-Cola, which has begun advertising new flavors inside its proprietary Fortnite map, showing that with the advent of Web3 and the Metaverse, novel approaches cannot be overlooked. The company has created a touchpoint for consumers that integrates their daily life with potential product consumption, which is, essentially, what I refer to as “Metarketing.”
Shifting to Metarketing requires companies to adjust their customer experience and marketing tactics to include new touchpoints and loop the Metaverse into omnichannel strategies. This is not without risk. It requires a significant investment of both time and funds for companies. As we see from the history of the internet age, taking chances is essential for keeping up with modern development. Innovation depends on risk. To continue to grow, companies must tolerate a certain amount of risk or they will fall behind and lose relevance.
There is a fine line between blindly jumping into the Metaverse and taking risks with expert coaching. Coca-Cola used Fortnite, a relatively safe environment, to enter the Metaverse. As an established brand venue and popular gaming environment, platforms like Fortnite, Decentraland, Sandbox, or Roblox present a way for companies to experiment with the Metaverse without having to build a touchpoint from scratch. The reason is simple: A failure would be quite expensive and damaging. Yet, taking a risk is a necessary step to begin the omnichannel approach.
A New Kind of Marketing
Don’t think of the Metaverse as digital avatars and 3D desktop digital environments; don’t translate “Metarketing” as merely doing marketing in the Metaverse. This approach would not be correct.
Meta (from the Greek μετά, meta, meaning “after” or “beyond”) is a prefix meaning “more comprehensive” or “transcending.” It stands for “an evolution of the customer experience and the marketing practice that is able to integrate astonishing levels of consumer insights into real-time interactions to generate next-level of immersive marketing.”
Also, consider that a fully immersive and digitally integrated Metaverse world is probably decades away. Right now, brands should be focused on proactively leveraging the Metaverse as a growing customer touch point and evaluating how it stimulates engagement both inside and outside of the ecosystem, as well as between the two worlds.
I think about the Metaverse as a continuation of where marketing and tech were headed prior to COVID-19. On the one hand, we have Instagram, email, Whatsapp, and even TikTok. And then, on the other hand, we have our real-life friends and the real-life activities we are participating in. Sometimes there’s an intersection between these two realities. In a practical example, think that perhaps a Balenciaga shopper wants to purchase their Fortnite capsule wardrobe in reality; in that case, the shopper should have the option, at their convenience and in the right context, to buy it in a storefront or online and ultimately receive physical goods.
It may also be helpful to consider the synergies with Web3. Customer experience with NFTs may start online, but many brands are already designing experiences that cross these new digital touchpoints with traditional physical touch points. Brands are already smartly gravitating towards relationships that mix different touchpoints to increase their reach and influence or generate leads. Some wine companies, for instance, have begun offering NFTs. They might be for art plus wine or for ownership of wine that is kept in a temperature-controlled facility until you’re ready to drink it, but the initial interaction occurs online during the advertisement and transaction and continues with real service and consumption in the physical world. The brands who succeed in achieving this seamless omnichannel integration today are those who will win in the future of the Metaverse and Web3.
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A New Source of Customer Data
In the Metaverse, data must be integrated with real-world data and existing touchpoints. Taking advantage of this data will give brands an edge over slower-to-adopt competitors. You will have better consumer insights, be better prepared to leverage the Metaverse to meet your goals, and improve your products and services.
These insights also give you an edge when developing new products and services and help you better understand your consumer’s journey proactively. Having realized this, Banco de Brasil, one of the biggest financial institutions in Brazil, has become one of the first banks to enter the Metaverse. It has created a video game similar to Roblox so that users can give their characters jobs, homes, and tasks within the game universe. Although its functionality is still limited, the bank has found a way to advertise itself at a new touchpoint: inside homes via a video game.
However, to effectively engage customers and use the power of this new data to drastically improve your business, you must have the right talent and partners on your team. New roles may be required to address and maneuver the Metaverse experience as it develops properly. Many companies are already posting jobs and creating these new positions in an effort to pull ahead. This is important because the Metaverse is growing and developing very quickly as a relevant customer touchpoint and consequent source of strategic data.
How To Engage and Where to Invest
Consumer behavior has largely shifted toward adopting digital personas, yet many brands have yet to provide a solution. Before brands invest in the Metaverse, they need to make sure they have a holistic plan considering their whole omnichannel ecosystem and strategy. It is not enough just to throw money at a problem. So instead of developing the Metaverse as an isolated channel, create a roadmap for your new customer journey goals and develop a clear plan of what your return on investment should be. Invest in these goals and their stated ROI. Collect data and analyze consumer behavior. Bring the talent and nurture the innovative mindset that can support you to create the best Metarketing strategy for your organization.
Yes, there is an inherent risk, but companies that want to succeed in the future will need to take risks and develop a culture that encourages this attitude.
And remember, marketing for the Metaverse is only one aspect of Metarketing. Metarketing should allow companies to achieve the full omnichannel personalization needed to connect digital and physical touchpoints where convergence happens: mobile apps, digital displays, interactive screens, tech-enabled associates, or physical points of sale.
While it is essential that companies are on the leading edge of technology, Metarketing should not neglect physical reality as this would limit their vision and ability to serve clients in one of their key challenges in the near future. This means integrating powerful digital technology with the best people to give human understanding and empathy to customers across the globe, wherever they decide to interact with you as a brand.