Do you remember the old parable of an elephant and the blind men? Remember how each of the blind men basis their limited experience and perspective concluded what an elephant could be like? Well, the emerging world of Metaverse and Web3 no different from 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 and Web3 (the up-and-coming era of the Internet that is mainly based on the tenet of decentralization powered by blockchains) are now set to dilute this space and gradually eliminate the gaps by enabling seamless movement of people and products across both the digital and physical worlds; for instance, a virtual ecosystem allowing users to have a nearly-real experience through a virtual avatar that helps you shop for clothes without trying them on, and much more. This evolution is set to bring forth creative technologies and solutions that will redefine how we interact, engage and live in the virtual world, as well as cement the existing gaps between the physical and digital realms.
So what would a typical customer experience 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 that a 3D-hologram permitted virtual product trials on your website; that instead of a monetary discount, buyers were rewarded NFT-linked loyalty points or rewards; and then when they stepped into the store (either in the offline world or located in metaverse), their products were already prepared 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:
Essentially, all brands must evolve. Not just in terms of products, but also in terms of creating memorable experiences and concrete advocacy campaigns. Web3, Metaverse, and other equally potent avenues may be in their infancy today, but they will evolve, mature, and provide unlimited opportunity over time to form meaningful partnerships with stakeholders in the future. While there are today, and will be in the near future, murky areas in grasping the entire potential of what Metaverse and Web3 could give, but waiting for it to release its complete form may be too late! 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 if even the marketing fraternity is so uncertain, how confused could our customers get? Handholding our customers through this evolution will be key to not just acquire new customers, but to also enhance the stickiness in the relationships.
Metaverse and Web3 based ecosystems, like conventional ones, necessitate a seamless and cohesive experience journey that ideally evolves over time. Metaverse is still in its infancy, but we must never approach it with a fragmented view of customer experience or with predetermined exit dates. Hosting a temporary game or offering a limited-time promotional offer may increase engagement, but is unlikely to result in long-term commitment or advocacy.
Before diving in, companies must establish the “why” of their presence on the metaverse and blockchain, as the possibilities are endless. Ironically, when social media initially entered the sphere of marketing, the majority of brands made their presence known not because they knew what purpose it would serve, but due to peer pressure. To make the most of what Metaverse may offer, it is essential for firms to comprehend the marketing and business strategy voids it would fill.
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.
Co-creating products with the customers have always ensured accountability and a buy-in from them; Metaverse and Web3 now make it more possible to get a collective perspective on product ideas, without even investing heavily in resources for making the pilot versions.
More than 95% of the purchases made are all driven by the subconscious; what if we could attempt to tap into that aspect? From gamifications to virtual avatars, from simulated journeys to virtual discussion and experience rooms, Metaverse and Web3 empower new-age marketers to delve into a space which has intrigued them for the longest.
Large established brands have always been believed to have an edge over startups in terms of the resources required to create their brands, but Metaverse and blockchain are going a long way to level the playing field. Metaverse empowers startups to accelerate their brand-building process by enabling them to create TG-specific personalised experiences.
Smart products have been communicating with the central monitoring systems as of today, but what if this data captured could be democratized and used to solve customer issues and better the products? Metaverse and blockchain could also be used as the central nervous system connecting all products together and monitoring them continually.
The author is Head – Brand Strategy and Marketing, Log9 Materials. The views expressed in the article are author’s own.