‘’Connection is evolving and so are we’’ – Meta’s seemingly simple tagline shows the thoughts behind the company’s complex future plans for our (digital) world. Facebook changed its name into Meta but behind the scenes much more is happening. In this article we will dive into the metaverse; what it means for businesses and how you can adapt your marketing strategy to these new implementations.
The metaverse explained
What did people think when the first smartphone was introduced? How did people react to making their first online purchase? What were people’s thoughts before and after working from home (on their laptops) became the norm? The digital world is always changing, and quite rapidly if we might say so. The “metaverse” is a new concept in our digital world that we are slowly but surely moving into.
It all started with Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Meta) started Facebook with the aim to create more social (online) connections but the platform became much more than this over the years. Individuals connected with each other, business grew, and people were suddenly able to connect very easily, which brought opportunities to people from all over the world. Over the years Facebook has grown tremendously. Despite its growth, Facebook has also faced backlash for matters such as data protection and selling data to third parties without disclosing this to their users.
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What is the metaverse?
Over the years, Facebook merged with other platforms such as Instagram and Whatsapp and in 2021 Facebook announced that the mother company is now called Meta. Under Meta you can still find the same organizations such as Facebook, Instagram, and more.
Meta describes itself like this: ‘Meta is helping build a future where people have more ways to play and connect in the metaverse. Welcome to the new chapter of social connection’. Meta also introduced the metaverse, which we will dive into today.
In the metaverse we can be together with friends and family who are overseas, work together with colleagues from home, or play games with others online. Now, I can hear you think, doesn’t this all exist already? You’re correct. However, the metaverse is planning to take all of that to a new level. A level in which you, the user, will walk around the metaverse interacting with others in a much more ‘real’ and ‘immersive’ way. How?
Examples of the metaverse
As Zuckerberg says: ‘’immersive all day experiences will require a lot of novel technologies’’. The metaverse is and will be developing in the next decade. Which examples of change can we expect over time? The metaverse will involve immersive experiences built with new technologies, such as: Displays, Audio, Input, Haptics, Hand tracking, Eye tracking, Mixed Reality, Sensors, Graphics, Computer Vision, Avatars, Perceptual Science, AI and more.
The goal is to create a world of avatars (which are essentially us) in realistic virtual spaces in which we can move, work, play, and explore. Besides having a realistic avatar that can move through this virtual space, you can also create a stylised version of yourself. You can play around with clothes, make-up, tattoos, and other ways of expressing your own style. This technology is getting really advanced and in the coming years every single one of us can be made into a very realistic full body avatar version of ourselves.
These full body avatars need virtual spaces to move around in. These virtual environments differ from realistic work environments, universities, or hospitals to stylized gaming, sports, or other environments. Neural interfaces, which is technology that interacts with our nervous system, will at some point enable us to interact in these virtual environments without much physical effort. We will literally be able to think our way through the digital world.
The ultimate promise of technology
Zuckerberg mentions that the ultimate promise of technology is to be able to be together with anyone, to be able to teleport anywhere, and create experiences from nothing. He says that our devices are still designed around apps, not people. This is something that he keeps on pursuing to change: he believes that technology should be there to help people connect with one another. The metaverse will be linked to who you are and you can walk through all its functions without the need to log into all of them separately. This will spare you time that you can take to really and truly connect with other people in the metaverse.
Slowly adapting to the new realityWhilst some of the technologies that are going to be used in the (near) future in the metaverse are not entirely usable yet, other technologies are already making their way into our day to day usage. Businesses will learn about avatars, AI in technology, immersive and interactive virtual meeting places, and new ways of educating others in the coming years. Where can you best start to make the necessary changes? Let’s look at the best approach.
What does a metaverse marketing strategy look like?
A metaverse marketing strategy is all about the future. Since we know now that our digital landscapes will continue to grow and develop, especially for businesses, we are best to grow together with its changes. Let’s discuss 4 steps that you can implement right now that will make you able to grow towards a different digital future.
Step 1: Understand what it means
Research is the first step to creating a metaverse-based marketing strategy. What exactly can you expect? Which technologies are already being implemented and which changes are still just ‘plans’ and ‘words’? By understanding the possibilities and the scope of these implementations, you will get a much better insight into how you can adapt your own business to these changes.
How do you go about this? Of course you can ask people from your team to research this, but in this phase a third party can also help you to investigate this. They often have a lot of extensive knowledge on marketing trends and predictions. It will save you time and it will help build a proper foundation based on facts and knowledge that you can build your future strategy on. Look for more information on predictions for 2022’s marketing trends here.
Step 2: What fits and what doesn’t fit your business
After having gained more knowledge on what kinds of changes are going to be expected in the coming years, you now want to link these changes to your business. What aligns and what doesn’t align with your values, standards, and target market. Are you able to use VR and AR to promote your product or service? Is your target market interested in seeing images from virtual influencers or avatars? Does your target market have the technical skills to move through a virtual world such as the metaverse?
This step will enable you to get a clear understanding of your business’s digital future. We advise you to be honest to yourself in this step. Not every change is beneficial for your company. Try to keep an open yet realistic mind. Who knows: maybe these changes might not be ideal for your company now, but that doesn’t mean that this will always be the case.
Step 3: Define time-frames, goals, and KPIs
After knowing which changes fit your business you can now categorize them into time frames, goals, and KPI’s. What would you like to achieve with this goal and when do you want to achieve it? Which one is most important and urgent?
For example: if you can choose between implementing avatars in your customer service, basing marketing decisions on AI, or creating a virtual space where your clients can meet you; which one do you choose first? By defining these goals and looking at what you want to achieve with them, you can see which goals are more urgent and/or achievable.
Step 4: Implement and iterate
In the process of change it is likely that you will step into a cycle of constant implementation and iteration. This is OK. As long as you know your goals and what you want to achieve, then you can start with the first changes that you can already make. It is always important to test the results and change accordingly. Remember that the future might seem far away, but you are actually helping to shape its form today with the changes you are making right now.
Are we ready?The title of this article states that we have time to adapt to the changes that the metaverse will introduce to our digital world. Time will teach us and enable us to slowly implement new technologies into our personal life and businesses. Are you ready for change? Or does it all seem too overwhelming? Just start with the changes you can and want to implement. This way we all move forward to a digital world in which better technology and more online connection will give us opportunities that we didn’t know existed.
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