It was a cold winter Monday; the CMO logged into his MacBook to check the number of visitors they had in their Roblox metaverse home. Since they partnered with some developers, the outcome hasn’t been as expected. Login in today, the Roblox visit and sales haven’t improved. Sadly, there is no difference this time; the visitors’ numbers keep dwindling, and both virtual and physical merchandise sales have not given a slight hint that their metaverse experience is successful. Could they have created the wrong experience or marketed to the wrong audience? These are questions this CMO is battling to answer.
Metaverse is still in the infancy of its first real-time consumer engagement. However, there is much to learn from the early forerunner trying this new frontier. Metaverse marketing, as it currently stands, is not far from ways of creating compelling and irresistible brand experiences in the physical space. However, how these marketing elements are utilized in the metaverse is different. From time immemorial, creating values has been the hallmark of marketing but how it is done keeps evolving from time to platform and generation. Therefore, there is a need for brands and their marketing departments to follow successful ways of marketing in the metaverse.
The metaverse marketing strategies
Because Coca-Cola and Nike are successful in their metaverse quest does not guarantee you success. Like Web 2.0 platforms and social media that different bands tweak and utilize better than others to their satisfaction, brands are fitted for metaverse more than others. Hence, the list will guide you through the requirement to join the metaverse and how to market successfully.
Define your metaverse marketing goals
To Americans is football and to European is soccer. Before jumping into the metaverse, ask yourself why your brand should be in the metaverse and the goal of joining – increase awareness, brand positioning, or increase loyalty and engagement. Driving sales is the ultimate goal but should not be the main reason for joining metaverse because virtual item sales volume still cannot be compared to physical sales. And to make sales, there must be offers, including educating the audience and creating awareness, and loyalty.
Select a platform that resonates with your goals and fits your brand
The current popular metaverse platforms are Decentraland, Roblox, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Horizon worlds. All differ in many ways, providing opportunities to try them and selecting the best for your business. For instance, Gucci conducted numerous brand activation to identify the best way to connect with Gen Z. This activation allowed the luxury brand to draw almost 20 million users in two weeks when it launched the Gucci Garden on Roblox – a metaverse twin of its real world. The brand also partnered with Zepeto to launch a virtual world on Sandbox, a blockchain-based metaverse to create games.
Create experiences to meet your audience's yearning
Most metaverse platform users are kids and young adults with a high taste for quality and innovative experiences, requiring brands to be more creative. Therefore, brands joining the metaverse should balance advertising, creating immersive experiences, and real-world activations on their metaverse quest. For example, Vans, a skateboarding retailer launched Vans World on Roblox to appeal to the brand’s audience. The experience allows the visitors to skate with friends virtually and earn points from games. These points are collected to spend on apparel items, custom skateboards, and virtual sneakers. Creating experiences that address the yearnings of Van's audience made them engage both new and existing fans, generating 48 million visitors.
Test some income-generating strategies
Direct-to-avatar sales of virtual items stand at $54 million, with Gucci selling a digital twin of its Dionysus bag for $4115, more than the price of the physical bag. Forever 21 is selling a beanie on Roblox for a dollar. Nike, as well, is selling unique NFTs of its Dunk sneakers. All these pointed to the sales metaverse can generate. Therefore, as much as we said brands' metaverse quest should focus beyond money, they should plan to capture all the potential of the metaverse. That is, as selling physical goods online has become a norm today, metaverse to offline sales will revolutionize the future. For instance, Chipotle claimed to be the first brand that enabled Roblox players to exchange virtual currency for real-time incentives when it gave burritos vouchers to the first 30,000 visitors of its metaverse restaurant. Therefore, brands should think beyond engagement, loyalty, and awareness to succeed in the metaverse.
Leverage, consult, and partner for new opportunities
Metaverse is new, and doing things alone may not work. Therefore, brands should access their skills to recognize the gaps yet to be filled and consult third parties, like Play2learn.com. Learning from others is paramount, including web3 brands, creator communities, and developers for smooth execution. For instance, Roblox has thousands of experienced developers creating and innovating with new games and new ideas to make money. Consulting these developers could shorten the learning curve of brands in the metaverse. Another instance is NASCAR which partnered with the Jailbreak developer, Badimo, to create branded vehicles for the game for a ten-day event. This resulted in a 30% increase in Jailbreak visitors to reach 24 million during the period. Therefore, partnerships on metaverse can create awareness, increase loyalty, and boost revenues.
Create metaverse ROI metrics
Unlike Web 2.0 platforms where ROI is measured by the number of likes, shares, and cost per click, these do not apply to the metaverse. Among other metrics, brands can check are engagement, the number of sales, dwell time, and the number of visitors. However, before focusing on metrics, the need for brands to understand their goals, target market, and define their outcome against their goals to see if their metaverse campaign is successful cannot be overemphasized. For instance, Deliveroo utilized virtual drivers to make virtual deliveries in the Animal Crossing game, which included promo codes to activate in real life. This action resulted in three million in-game player interactions within the first few hours.
Metaverse will evolve, and the innovation and adoption rate will increase, resulting in myriad ways to use, engage, and monetize. Therefore, CMOs and brands should brace up and secure the know-how to understand this new frontier, including technology, customer journey analytics, and social commerce.