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The Influencers

Marketing in the Metaverse: New Tech, New Worlds, Same Marketing Principles

New technology doesn't have to be scary, says Morgan Pomish, VP/director, strategy at Digitas

Marketing in the Metaverse: New Tech, New Worlds, Same Marketing Principles

The metaverse is what the internet and social media once were to marketers — daunting, mysterious, and something they'll worry about only when they're left behind.

However, when the brand formerly known as Facebook announced its new vision, they challenged the perception that Metaverse is some futuristic dystopian idea or an inaccessible world only for gamers. With the reach and scale of Facebook, Meta will make the metaverse more well known, better understood, and more approachable for the masses. And as that accessibility increases, it will infinitely expand the ways marketers can (and should) engage.

So, how should brands think about marketing in the metaverse?

The good news: the fundamentals don't change. The Byron Sharp philosophy for brand growth says that brands grow when you increase mental and physically availability—that is, making a brand easy to remember and easy to buy. The metaverse has the potential to massively disrupt both.

Mental Availability: At minimum, this means ensuring your brand’s distinctive assets make it into the metaverse. For example, if I walk my avatar around a virtual New York City, I should pass by famous landmarks, wearing my favorite Nike sneakers, and maybe even grab a burrito from Chipotle if I get hungry. Similarly, to grow salience, we can still put our brand assets into "digital OOH" spaces, essentially 3D versions of traditional marketing channels like billboards in a virtual Times Square or sponsor race car drivers in-game. But the richer opportunity exists when we begin to re-write the rules of engagement and take advantage of the unique types of engagement the metaverse offers, seeking new ways to add value versus reusing pages from the old marketing playbook.

Physical Availability: Physical and virtual personas will become equally important, and as those lines blur, so will the ways we shop. Beyond just making your brand shoppable in the metaverse, we must also consider that what defines “easy to buy” today (i.e. Amazon Prime same-day shipping) may not be the same in immersive environments, especially as AR and VR technology become the norm. The metaverse will create an entirely new, illusory environment that people can explore with their senses, freeing us from the constraints of 2-D e-commerce interactions. For example, Charli Cohen & Selfridges created a custom digital shopping experience where consumers could shop and wear clothing via a body-tracking AR Snapchat lens or a customizable digital AR avatar. Lastly, even the currency we use will shift, as credit cards and PayPal are traded for NFTs and cryptocurrencies as the preferred method of payment.

New technology doesn't have to be scary.

If we return to marketing fundamentals, building brands in the metaverse feels less intimidating. Much like social media, the internet, and the TV and radio before that, we simply have to find an authentic way to connect with consumers in different spaces. 


Morgan Pomish is VP/director, strategy at Digitas

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