The term ‘metaverse’ has been trending ever since Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced his organization’s rebranding from Facebook to Meta. But it is not the first instance of the metaverse being discussed. The metaverse has existed for quite some time. But it is only recently that there have been discussions of its incredible potential. The metaverse is said to be ringing in a new era of the internet, so much so that it is being called one of the fundamental pillars for the establishment of Web 3.0.
Today, marketing innovators and early adopters are creating waves in digital marketing using the metaverse to engage their target market. More marketers are looking to engage their community of customers using the metaverse. Lockdowns occurring due to the Coronavirus pandemic have resulted in increased instances of augmenting and virtual reality experiences. Brands like H&M and Gucci and places like France’s Musee De Orsay have engaged with customers using the metaverse. Walt Disney Studios Park recently registered a patent for a metaverse theme park.
In the case of marketing trends, business-to-business (B2B) marketers are often known to prefer age-old, tried and tested approaches and tend to shy away from new marketing avenues. On the other hand, using the metaverse for marketing and brand recall is an excellent approach to customer (B2C) marketing. Will it be the same case for B2B Inbound Marketing? This article highlights whether or not metaverse marketing can work for B2B marketing.
If you are a metaverse newbie, you might want to understand what the metaverse means before going any further. Essentially, the metaverse is a virtual world where you experience and interact with each other through life like virtual events versions of you, also known as avatars. Those familiar with online gaming might be aware of online personas created while playing games like Fortnite, Animal Crossing, Minecraft etc. For all the Big Bang Theory Fans out there, you might be familiar with Sheldon Cooper’s virtual character called Sheldor the Conqueror on the online, multiplayer, role-playing game Age of Conan.
Now, let’s answer the big question. Can metaverse and metaverse marketing work for organizations engaging in B2B marketing? Absolutely! Opportunities for metaverse based B2B marketing are on the rise, and marketing innovators worldwide are agreeing that the metaverse will change the way B2B marketing is implemented.
Traditionally, B2B marketers usually have limited marketing avenues. They opt for trade shows, conferences, one-on-one meetings, etc., in a bid to give their customers an experience of their products and services. Since the lockdown has proven that business can be conducted without being physically present, B2B marketers can optimize metaverse marketing by reaching their customers using virtual and augmented reality.
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Because the metaverse is essentially an immersive space, B2B marketers can use virtual reality to bridge the gap between in-person and remote engagements. Using virtual and augmented reality, B2B marketers can offer a 360-degree demonstration of product and service suites. B2B marketers can also customize offerings based on the needs and profiles of their potential clients. It is even possible to interact with customers in real-time for insights and feedback, saving precious time and resources.
Using the metaverse, B2B marketers can create a show and tell and let the customers experience their products and services firsthand rather than traditional advertising. This will also be a great opportunity for brands to create their characters and personas in the metaverse. Imagine a meta persona of product demo personnel available as per the customer’s convenience. In a nutshell, B2B marketers will offer an immersive, interactive and experiential framework through use cases, business cases and planning and implementation roadmaps.
But this is only the beginning of the B2B marketing revolution. With more organizations actively starting to invest in marketing through the metaverse, it won’t be long before the need for virtual products and services begins to arise. Fundamentally, B2B marketers will need to fuse the space between physical and virtual worlds and, eventually, the metaverse. This is already happening as organizations involved in B2B marketing start rolling out digital twins of their products and services that help with monitoring, data analysis, prediction and remote maintenance.
The metaverse is also expected to expand the avenue for B2B marketing and extend its realm to other associated verticals of marketing like customer service, loyalty programs, etc. Businesses can finally move away from traditional chatbots and offer their customers almost lifelike customer service, remote solutions and account maintenance through a metaverse customer service desk. There is a possibility that organizations might set up enterprise metaverse ecosystems to support an end-to-end stakeholder engagement that will involve everything from B2B lead generation and customer acquisition to immersive training, account servicing, and rewards.
B2B marketers need to take this opportunity to revisit their drawing boards and figure out whether they must either evolve or eliminate their traditional marketing strategies and adapt to and leverage marketing in the metaverse.