Are you familiar with the parable of the elephant and the blind? You may recall how each of those blind men, based on their limited experiences and perspective, decided what an elephant looked like. Metaverse and Web3 are very similar to that elephant.
‘Phy-gital’, a term that has existed for more than a decade now, united two distinct domains of our life, with a clearly delineated space separating the two. Metaverse (the new era of the Internet based largely on the tenets of decentralization enabled by blockchains) is now set to dilute that space and gradually eliminate gaps by enabling seamless movement people and products across both digital and physical worlds. A virtual ecosystem allows users to have an almost-real experience with a virtual avatar that lets them shop for clothes and try them on. This evolution will result in new technologies and solutions to change how we interact, engage, and even live in the virtual realm.
What would a typical customer journey look like today? A typical customer journey usually begins on Google, which leads them to a brand’s website where they explore their portfolio, then maybe to YouTube to see what others are saying about the brand, then to Instagram to look for discount coupons, and finally to an online marketplace or a physical store to make the purchase.
Now, let’s Metaverse-ify it! Imagine a 3D-hologram allowing virtual product trials on your site. Buyers were then rewarded NFT-linked loyalty point or rewards. When they walked into the store, either in the offline or metaverse, their products were already ready for delivery.
So, as marketers, how does the advent of Metaverse and Web3 influence our customers’ experience and what could we do to forge our relations with them? Let’s take a look:
All brands must change. All brands must change, not just in product terms but also in the creation of memorable experiences and concrete advocacy campaign. Web3, Metaverse and other equally powerful avenues are still in their infancy, but they will grow, mature and offer endless opportunities to create meaningful partnerships with stakeholders over the long-term. Although there are many areas where it is difficult to grasp the full potential of Metaverse or Web3, and these areas will continue to grow in the future, waiting for its final form could be too risky. Rather, wise brands will go in headfirst to be the frontrunners while being adaptable to the emerging technologies-oriented world’s surprises and learnings.
Imagine how confused our customers could get if the entire marketing industry was uncertain. This will allow us to acquire new customers and strengthen our relationships with them.
Metaverse and Web3-based ecosystems like traditional ones require seamless and coherent experience journeys that can evolve over time. Although Metaverse is still in its early stages, we should not approach it with a fragmented customer experience view or predetermined exit dates. Although hosting a temporary promotion or game may increase engagement, it is unlikely to lead to long-term commitments or advocacy.
As there are so many options, it is important that companies know the “why” behind their presence in the blockchain and metaverse. Ironically, social media was not introduced to the marketing sphere because brands knew its purpose, but rather because of peer pressure. It is crucial for companies to understand the business and marketing strategy gaps Metaverse would fill in order to make the most of the potential benefits.
Physical or virtual, Metaverse or not, there is never room for inconsistency in a brand’s identity, positioning and promise. With Metaverse and Web3 opening up a whole new dimension of expression and experience, it becomes critical for brands to take the right calls so that across each touchpoint through a customer’s journey, the user enjoys a consistent, delightful experience.
The customers and co-creators of products have always been accountable and got buy-in. Metaverse and Web3 make it easier to share product ideas without having to invest in pilot versions.
The subconscious drives more than 95% of all purchases. What if we could tap into this aspect? Metaverse and Web3 enable new-age marketers, from gamifications and virtual avatars to explore the space that has always intrigued them, as well as virtual discussions and experience rooms.
Although established brands are traditionally thought to have more resources to build their brands than startups, Metaverse and Blockchain are helping to even the playing field. Metaverse empowers startups to speed up their brand-building by enabling them the ability to create TG specific personalised experiences.
Although smart products are communicating with the central monitoring system as of today’s date, what if that data could be openly democratized so customers can have their problems solved and the product is better? Blockchain and Metaverse could also be used to connect all products and keep them monitored.
The author is Head – Brand Strategy and Marketing, Log9 Materials. All views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s.