Tulip Media Group
By Jessica Embree, Creative Director at Tulip Media Group

You’ve heard the buzz. The metaverse is set to be the successor to the mobile internet. It is described as a place where digital and physical reality unite. Instead of existing separately from physical reality as the internet does now, the metaverse will be seamlessly integrated with the fabric of reality. Among other things, it’s going to revolutionize the future of digital marketing.

By merging our understanding of social media, gameplay, and entertainment, we can get a glimpse into the metaverse. What is being described as the next great computing revolution presents incredible marketing opportunities for your business. Unlike anything we’ve seen before, the metaverse will empower your business to connect with customers on new levels through channels that are flexible and dynamic, and that deliver with unprecedented efficiency. But you need to know how to play the game.

Marketing in the Metaverse

Emma Chiu, the global director of Wunderman Thompson Intelligence and author of the Into The Metaverse report says that individuals and business leaders will have the opportunity to shape the metaverse. However, three key elements will inevitably define this new environment: social presence, continuity, and interaction. These are the tools you need to master in the development of your metaverse marketing strategy. 

To start, you will need to make sure your company is a part of the digital spaces that your customers are engaging in. In this game-like atmosphere, potential customers will be working, socializing, and shopping simultaneously online. You need to decide how you are going to integrate your marketing attractively into this new digital experience. 

Gamevertising is one way you will be able to do this. Since gaming has replaced television and streaming for much of the younger generation and is used prominently as a social hub, interactive gaming technologies are being heavily applied to the development of the metaverse. Brands in the new digital environment will be expected to develop a digital avatar presence as a creative extension of their physical one to engage with customers. In-game branding has already seen success in many popular games like Animal Crossing, Fortnite, and Roblox that attract millions of players, and the same idea will be transplanted into the metaverse.

In the metaverse, retail frontiers will take a new shape. E-commerce has already grown rapidly in the last two years, but it’s going to transform even further as we move into the new digital reality. The online shopping experience will soon look far more similar to the physical one, with digital storefronts designed to resemble your company’s real-life storefront. The metaverse will also provide a more visual, engaging, and organic approach for presenting products online by integrating digital replicas into social and gaming platforms.

With the limitless creativity allowed by the metaverse, your company will be empowered to offer experiences that can’t be replicated in the physical world. Gucci Garden, for example, removed the roof on its online storefront and adorned its mannequins with “live” flowers and butterflies. Creative environments like this will be the norm in the metaverse with options for augmented product presentation that simply aren’t available in a physical storefront. 

Because the metaverse will use mass application integration to eliminate boundaries between various digital experiences, there will be unlimited opportunities for brand integration, expression, and expansion. Digital product replicas, for example, can be used to quantify the demand for physical goods. Creating products first in the metaverse will provide opportunities to develop, test, manufacture, and sell new products in the online space before debuting them in the physical world. This means the actions you take in the metaverse will have real-life consequences for your business that you can use to your advantage with the right strategy. 

The metaverse will be an environment that promotes inclusion and equality. As a result, it is expected that these values will become more prominent in the digital atmosphere. As you begin to conceive your metaverse presence, think of ways your digital storefront, your avatars, and your digital products can reflect the values and identities that are important to your customers. To do this in a meaningful way, think beyond entertainment and novelty at how your company can contribute to an ethical and inclusive world inside the metaverse and out.

Creativity in the metaverse is anticipated to be a symbol of status far greater than wealth. In the digital world, your customers won’t be passive consumers but instead act as agents in realizing their creative expression and curating their virtual identity. This creative agency means an innovative marketing strategy will have the potential to launch your brand to fame. 

Paving the Way

Tech giants across the board are pioneering new, 360-degree digital experiences in anticipation of the new virtual and augmented reality. Facebook, TikTok, Snap, and Google have all announced projects geared toward the development of the metaverse.

Facebook’s recently established, 10,000-employee metaverse division is working to develop a social media platform that will incorporate elements of gaming, a crypto-economy, and a variety of new technologies aimed at enhancing connectivity (in fact, it recently changed its holding company’s name to Meta). TikTok is developing a new Effect Studio that will enable users to create AR experiences on their platforms. Snap Spectacles will soon enable users to record and superimpose effects on their physical reality without using their phone. And Google’s latest tensor chip is designed to keep pace with the new era of augmented reality. 

Looking Ahead

Guardian editor James Stuart believes that the virtual worlds integrated in the metaverse are going to be a marketing battleground. Marketers are going to need to learn how to claim space in these worlds early on if they want a chance to compete, and he anticipates the approach to this will be very complex and require businesses to incorporate a sense of wonder and the suspension of disbelief into their marketing strategies. Your company needs to be on the front lines of this development to get the edge on your competitors.

In the words of Surreal CEO Josh Rush, “We are all at the Big Bang moment where creation, consciousness, and awareness of the metaverse is being born.”