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VR Marketing & The Metaverse: Time for a Real Strategy?

Welcome to the next phase of the internet. It's time to do a little research and create a strategy for you and your brand.
By 
PJ Haarsma
December 21, 2021

First things first – what is the metaverse?

The easiest way to define it for yourself is to mentally replace the word “metaverse” in a sentence with the word “cyberspace”. For most if not all intents and purposes, these two terms are interchangeable. From a lay person’s perspective, metaverse does not refer to any specific technology or any specific activity. Rather, metaverse refers to a very broad mix that is accessed by internet users, who are your customers.

Welcome to the next phase of the internet

“At a conceptual level, the metaverse can be thought of as the successor-state to today’s internet – just as today’s predominantly mobile internet was built on top of fixed broadband internet of the 1990s and early 2000s,” according to Mathew Ball’s Metaverse Fund.

Here are examples of the metaverse

Some of the technologies and activities in the metaverse include VR experiences or virtual worlds that exist even when you are not directly engaged with them. Metaverse creates opportunities to combine elements of the physical and virtual world through augmented reality. Some additional examples of the metaverse can be found here. Most if not all aspects can be accessed through just about anything that gives you internet access: desktops, laptops, game consoles, smartphones, and mobile devices

It’s time to embrace the new metaverse market

The metaverse creates an opportunity for users to compose, trade, sell and buy goods within a digital media marketplace. This means you and your customers. The quicker you can make an impact in this new marketplace the more successful you can be.

Your competition may already be doing their marketing research to gather information and get ahead of you. This is crucially important because whether or not your marketing mix includes the metaverse, both your existing and your potential customers are already accessing portions of it. It will take a lot more time and money to overcome the advantage of being first. Why not let your competition play catch-up?

Here's why you can't ignore this

“Every brand and company will need a metaverse strategy,” Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer and CEO of metaverse-focused consulting agency Futures Intelligence Group, tells The Current.

If Nascar can do it, so can you

You can’t get more middle America than stock car racing. This multi-billion-dollar industry is not for some fringe, elite internet nerds. Nick Rend, managing director, gaming and esports at NASCAR, calls the brand’s new Roblox partnership “critical” to the brand’s long-term success in reaching new consumers, especially those who will grow up knowing NASCAR. “The community makes this platform incredible, and it is essential for us to show up authentically.” 

Rend doubles down on the metaverse in one of his posts, “We are also aware the brand impact and engagement KPIs aren’t necessarily driven by traditional licensing models” VR marketing is definitely a priority. Rend believes when it comes to digital channels, “growth comes from how users/customers interact with, interpret, and incorporate your brand as part of their virtual escapades.”

Your products and services deserve a meta marketing strategy

The reason is simple – geometric growth of home media consumption. According to Nielsen, the pandemic has fueled tremendous growth in home media consumption and opportunities for brand awareness. Here’s one example, the time we spent streaming video in the second quarter of 2020 went up 75% compared to the same period in 2019 – 142.5 billion minutes weekly vs. 81.7 billion minutes weekly. This is a heck of a lot of user interaction that your traditional marketing including some online marketing may be missing out on.

Find more examples here

No matter how you define marketing, you have more to coordinate than ever before. VR marketing, social media marketing, content marketing, and traditional marketing methods need to be prioritized and coordinated without necessarily adding zeros to your budget.

SEO to the rescue?

With all the added complexity, SEO might be your skeleton key to unlocking the potential for what’s coming and you might be halfway there already. If in the recent past, you had to figure out how to “get found” on search engines like Google, Youtube, and Bing, then you can apply some of the same learning for how to “get found” in the metaverse.

You remember? Three easy steps: content, content, and more content. In fact, the good news is that good quality content is really a driving force and today that means making sure your content is more visually oriented.

As you already know, interesting images make your content work harder. And believe or not, search engines like Google are figuring out exactly the impact of these visuals. The metaverse is a visually rich environment and focusing on images for your content puts you ahead of the game. Search out ways you can add virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D experiences to your current content strategy and you’ll be well on the way to a real metaverse strategy of your own.

3 Strategies that can hurt you

Let’s face it, there is a dizzying amount of change you’re already dealing with. Less than a generation ago, a comprehensive marketing strategy may have involved half a dozen methods to choose from and they were all from just one category – traditional marketing.

Today, the number of methods, tactics, and strategies to choose from is overwhelming. And then to make things even more challenging, add to this the metaverse. Under this kind of pressure, you might be experiencing the tyranny of choice

It’s the equivalent of freeze, flight, or fight in the animal world. Take a quick look at the list below to see if one of these less-than-optimal strategies is creeping into your plans.

The hire-and-haggle-strategy

The tell-tale signs: When it’s too difficult to evaluate different options on their own merits, just hire the cheapest vendor and haggle the price down constantly.

The illusion: Who can argue with getting the lowest price? If it’s too hard for you to figure out how to make your marketing work better this year over last year, it feels good to know at the very least, you can do it for less.

The reality: Try that for a couple of years and see where how far behind the rest of the world has left you.

The what-I-don’t-know-can’t-hurt-me-strategy

The tell-tale signs: When you declare out loud, “I don’t care about what new thing is coming. We’re doing fine.”

The illusion: Avoiding the risk of the unknown feels like a responsible choice. Why spend money on a test and learn approach to new opportunities when you’re just going to end up wasting part of the money? No one knows for sure what’s coming in the metaverse. Why take the risk?

The reality: Your existing customers and your potential customers are already neck-deep into it. Can you afford to wait?

The double-down-on-what-I-know-strategy

The tell-tale signs: Increasing your allocations to safer, more predictable choices.

The illusion: Who can argue with adding more to your moneymaker? As is often said in corporate America – “No one gets fired for doing the same thing as last year.”

The reality: New approaches are a necessary evil. The rules of the game often change underneath our feet with existing elements of the marketing mix.

It could be Google messing with its algorithms. It could be a new competitor blindsiding you with a product or service you didn’t expect. It could be a pandemic completely changing consumer behavior. Whatever it is, you should be prepared for these types of unexpected market shifts.

About the author:

PJ Haarsma is an author and Emmy nominated producer. He has been entrenched in the world of advertising for over 30 years and is certified by MIT in data analytics.
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