Are You Metaverse Ready? How to Deepen Customer Relationships with Immersive Experiences

An issue that many marketers face is content saturation.Delivering content that stands out, adds real value, and is engaging to consume is no easy feat. While the bulk of written content that passes through our inboxes goes unnoticed, other media formats tend to get more traction. But as more marketers catch on and upskill to provide content in those formats, they too become more competitive. 

What the Metaverse represents is a whole new plane on which to connect with customers and deliver brand experiences. But as with any new technology, there’s a learning curve. What will it take to get Metaverse ready, and how should you prepare to engage your customers on it?

Here are the first two steps:

  1. Democratize everything from content creation to journey development and delivery. 
  2. Start creating 3D and immersive content to accelerate product design and the development of marketing and e-commerce assets.

Metaverses Are the New Wave of Digital Interaction

Metaverses present extensive virtual worlds that enable and enrich interactions with people globally. They push the economic advantages of the internet – a low barrier to entry, an ability to access goods and services from anywhere, and the ability to engage people around the world – a step further by facilitating these exchanges in a virtual space that mimics the brick-and-mortar format customers are used to. Economies in the Metaverse are live, persistent and shareable.

What Exactly Is an Immersive Experience? 

A Metaverse is a virtual space in which people can interact with each other online within a digital environment. We currently participate in this type of engagement with the use of various virtual tools. During the pandemic, many people used VR headsets to view entertainment such as musical performances in Metaverse settings. What makes these experiences immersive is that, with the use of VR technology, users can have the sensation of being physically in the space while they interact with virtual objects and with other visitors. 

The delivery of immersive experiences is coming to fruition in events as well. A multitude of venues and CVBs have introduced virtual property tours so event owners can prospect and source venues for upcoming events. Virtual events have become part of the event mix for event planners, marketers, and anyone else who needs to organize a meeting. Many trade shows offer 360-degree virtual tours of their virtual show floor and enable exhibitor booths to include multimedia elements. These formats allow attendees to view, interact, and connect with event hosts and fellow attendees. 

And while they do not always rely on VR headsets, the representation of the event space in a navigable 3D environment is seen as a way to add an immersive quality to the virtual event experience.

How Will We Do This?

So, how do we start down the path to becoming “Metaverse ready”? 

Shared immersive experiences require innovative methods of commerce, marketing, experience delivery, analytics, and personalization. But 3D environments and online economies have long-standing precedents. What can we learn from well-established areas where this technology has been engaging people for years?

Well, consider the generations that make up most of the new consumer market: Gen Z, Gen Y and Gen Alpha. This generation is accustomed to participating in content generation online. They have something to say about nearly everything, and they want to feel like their voice is being heard and responded to.

Therefore, the first step to becoming Metaverse ready is to adopt the mindset that, while you will create and control the environment, users will want to participate in creating the content, and will be looking for myriad ways to interact with it. They will want to define their own user journey and level of participation in a highly customizable and personalizable way – and that includes participating in creating the space. 

Video games are extremely instructive here. Today, “open world” video games allow users to explore rich, dynamic environments in which their actions have a direct impact on the world, the other personalities in it, and the value they get from exploring both. 

To fully take advantage of the Metaverse’s potential to deepen your relationship with the next customer generation inside a branded experience, your virtual space needs to empower them to do the following:

  • Create content
  • Personalize their interactions
  • Explore a rich and dynamic virtual world 

This demographic also craves immediacy, but is hyper-aware of the risks to their data and privacy. This means that any virtual engagement you attempt with your customer base needs to carefully navigate the need to demonstrate and deliver value quickly while establishing the steps and barriers required to keep everyone’s data safe. 

Ecommerce has set this precedent well, requiring logins and adding language at the point of data collection that details the data being collected, its use, and the security standards in place to protect it. Successfully achieving this balance will deepen your relationship with your customers within the Metaverse by delivering added value in a novel format while at the same time establishing trust in the safety of the spaces you created for them.

Trust will figure prominently in your plans to leverage the Metaverse. The integrity of virtual assets sold within the Metaverse will be a concern, and innovations in non-fungible tokens have already emerged to authenticate some types of digital goods. If you plan to use the space to facilitate the sale of digital assets, adding that level of authenticity will bolster the trust in your platform and reduce the risk of users exploiting it, which will in turn create better conditions for a deeper and more tenable relationship with your customers. 

Can Meetaverse Do This? 

It’s wise to define your 3D and immersive content strategy sooner rather than later; any content space is liable to become saturated quickly. Being first to market when delivering novel value can be a significant advantage. Many companies are already using 3D design to accelerate product design and the development of marketing and e-commerce assets. 

In the context of a venue, creating an opportunity to experience it virtually allows you to go beyond the limitations of previewing the physical space in a number of compelling ways:

Virtual spaces are not actually space-restricted in the same way that physical spaces are. An immersive virtual museum could exhibit vastly more of the museum’s collection than can be displayed physically. This in turn allows for more content, but also for opportunities for user-generated content to be featured alongside the formally curated content. Providing opportunities for users to participate will help them feel more invested in the experience, and in turn the brand offering it.

Venue capacity is also not an issue. Corporations can easily disseminate information across teams and host internal training sessions at scale without the volume of attendance impacting the ROI.

Virtual spaces are accessible from anywhere and allow interested stakeholders the opportunity to experience being in the space without having to travel. Corporations can grow attendance for user conferences, product launches, or other client-facing events by removing the travel- and accommodations-related barriers for attendance, thereby expanding the reach to a wider audience. 

Not only is this more convenient for customers on the fence to buy into, it also makes branded events and experiences inherently more inclusive, which is more conducive to a deeper relationship with a wider range of people.

And lastly, virtual spaces allow users to participate in a social economy in which they can customize their experience, both cosmetically and substantively. Brands can sell cosmetic upgrades, often called “skins,” that people can use to customize their avatars, which both generates revenue and makes for a stickier brand experience.