Metaverse is the buzzword of the moment. Various investments have moved it from a fantastical concept to front-page news, including Epic Games announcing $1 billion in funding to support its long-term metaverse vision, Microsoft launching its “metaverse tech stack” that enables metaverse app development, and Mark Zuckerberg declaring that Facebook will become a “metaverse company” complete with a full company rebrand. Since then, the headlines of brands staking their claim on the nascent and budding metaverse have only continued to multiply.
The metaverse has multiple definitions but, put simply, it is our digital lives overlaid across our physical lives. Essentially, it’s the ultimate connected experience. The metaverse is a convergence of many technologies that include Augmented Reality (AR), Visual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, blockchain, IoT, and NFT technology, to name a few. Each holds significant power on its own. When used together, they present an exciting opportunity for B2B marketers to drive the continuity of end-user journeys and deliver the immersive, personalized experiences that they crave.
While we’ll seek to break down the top items B2B marketers need to know about the metaverse in this blog, one thing is clear: the metaverse will have a massive impact on how we work and interact with customers, organizations, and people from a business perspective.
There’s even more to metaverse marketing. Listen to the latest Lay of the Brand podcast here:
Understanding brand experience in the metaverse
In today’s highly-fragmented media landscape, the way B2B companies interact with one another has significantly changed. While the ways we define the brand experience have fluctuated with time, the desire to widen reach while harnessing exclusivity has remained consistent.
The metaverse is the next stage of this evolution: blended technologies delivering experiences at scale through participation. It is therefore a space that not only empowers the end-user but gives businesses an opportunity to get creative with their positioning and product differentiation. As such, B2B marketers can now embed awareness of a company’s product or services in new ways to unexplored audiences and within nascent verticals.
For instance, NVIDIA has created a precursor to their vision of a “metaverse for engineers” in the form of Omniverse, a platform that connects engineers and allows for the running of manufacturing processes as a digital twin. This use case essentially allows companies to test, learn, and optimize production before implementing it in real life.
Creating immersive events and experiences for businesses
One of the most immediate opportunities for businesses in the metaverse right now is creating virtual venues, worlds, and spaces to host events and experiences. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, marketers have struggled to reach audiences through events and conferences, historically the lifeblood of B2B marketing. Although technically virtual, events in the metaverse are fundamentally different. This digital space offers businesses the opportunity to recreate a seamless virtual experience, allowing companies to easily set up virtual stalls or booths with real-time interaction.
Virtual worlds can facilitate all types of group events, bringing audiences together in one accessible and shared environment. Virtual events have been around in some form or another for some time, starting with conference calls, moving onto webinars and screen sharing, and then multi-person video conferencing. Each has had a profound impact on how we work, communicate, and share information, reshaping how we communicate remotely at each step. Business avatars and events in the metaverse are the next generation of innovative technologies set to transform remote collaboration for the digital age.
Prioritizing augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) opportunities
The line between digital and physical experiences is rapidly diminishing, creating new forms and end-user interactions and extended reality experiences. These new experiences are often interactive and experienced “together,” adding a visual layer to reality or transposing traditional “real-life” behaviors into digital platforms.
Business leaders and marketers will be expected to incorporate the increasingly popular AR avatars into their business processes, not solely for attracting users but for helping them navigate in their virtual world. This also aims to add to the overall seamless experience of the end-user by making companies’ virtual spaces more attractive to visit repeatedly. Many automotive industry companies are already embracing the idea of using AR/VR technologies to redefine the way people travel in the form of voice assistants, in-car AR, automated driving experiences, and more.
There is no one way to enter the metaverse
There is not a single “right” way to begin experimenting in the metaverse. By determining a businesses’ “why” for the future, B2B marketers will be able to guide companies into this new, digital world. At the end of the day, the metaverse is still an emerging, nascent idea, providing an opportunity for businesses to be adventurous, bold and try new things.
And remember, even the sky isn’t the limit in the metaverse.