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Metaverse: what you need to know in B2B

If you have been anywhere on the internet in the last few months it would have been hard to miss the term ‘Metaverse’. From gimmick to the future of investing, every opinion is out there. But what really is the Metaverse? And more importantly, can it be used in B2B Marketing?

Why are we talking about this?

Ever since Facebook changed their name to Meta, the topic of the metaverse has skyrocketed in interest, though the concept is nothing new. From the outside, the metaverse can seem like a vague and futuristic concept. Something that requires wearing huge goggles and seems anything but practical. Although the term is everywhere,  it is still not widely understood by the general public. 58% of consumers confessed that they don’t really know what it is. What is undeniable however, is that this ‘future of the internet’ is creating noise and therefore understanding it may help in making informed decisions for future marketing campaigns. As we found out during the pandemic, unexpected circumstances can really accelerate technology adoption and those ahead of the curve can benefit the most.

So, what is the Metaverse?

In the simplest terms, the metaverse is a shared virtual space that is inherently interactive, immersive and hyper-realistic. Envisioned as a fully immersive world, it is currently mostly achieved through VR goggles, though there are also worlds accessed in other ways. Many experts look at the metaverse as a 3D model of the internet. Basically, a place parallel to the physical world, where you spend your digital life. Not only can you play games there, the metaverse is also predicted to become a space to have meetings and socialise. Microsoft Teams have already created an integration called Mesh to allow collaboration in the metaverse.

If you listen to the big tech companies, all of which are heavily investing in this space, the metaverse is the future of the internet. It is important to remember that we are not yet at the stage where there is one metaverse. Rather at the moment there are many different metaverses, each built by individual companies like Microsoft, Meta or Roblox and controlled and monetised by them. Though the fully connected future is preached by these companies, it is still not yet the reality and is still likely some time off.

Marketing and the Metaverse

As previously mentioned, we are still very much at the start of this phenomenon. Just like in the early days of the internet, we don’t really know what this concept will morph into. However, with that comes an exciting opportunity to define it and have the chance to be an early adopter.

As we’d expect, B2C marketing brands have already been dipping their toes in the water of this shiny and innovative new space. Pitched as a way to reach Gen Z, there have been some loud and crazy experiments. Some of the best examples include Spotify Island in Roblox, a place where fans and artists can interact in the digital world and have experiences together and more importantly, buy digital merchandise. Absolut.land hosted on Decentraland is another example of a brand using the Metaverse. They’re offering exclusive virtual goodies, prizes and discount codes for doing virtual activities. At the moment all these experiences have a few things in common. They use third party platforms to host, look incredibly futuristic and are effectively a game.

What is very important however, is that these types of experiences and experiments already align with the values of the brands trialing them. Just like McDonalds running one of the first NFT promotions, there will be the usual suspects at the forefront for metaverse-related campaigns where a fit makes sense for their target audiences.

What does this mean for B2B?

As always, it is important to consider your brand, your messaging and the audience you are trying to reach. The metaverse, as yet, may not the place where you would naturally find the more traditional B2B audiences. However, that doesn’t mean that some forms of future tech aren’t right for B2B audiences to utilise now.
For example our client MSA Safety, used VR very successfully with the extremely cautious health and safety sector to demonstrate fall protection equipment – where they could, in an entirely virtual situation, gain a better understanding of how the protection works to support users from falling off a roof!  
So, there are diverse opportunities to make the most of VR capabilities and eye catching future tech. Enhancing your stall with an interactive VR experience like this one is a great way to create memorable experiences and really stand out from the crowd.  

At the moment, opportunities using the metaverse in its entirety remain relatively niche, but it’s  developing fast and as we wait for more legislation and protection to come into place, it is likely to prove a very valuable tool for businesses. Especially for brands where experimenting with new technology fits well. 

Conclusion

The metaverse is still a bit of a gimmick in most people’s eyes and is still far from the vision that is being promised. Though it has a lot of potential, approaching it with caution at this stage is sensible, but it is most certainly worth keeping an eye on some of the innovations that will emerge as it’s likely they will prove valuable for many future marketing campaigns. 

Looking for help with your B2B marketing, please contact Rachel Arquati for more information. 

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