Have we entered metaverse-mania in the world of marketing? Brands are unveiling immersive experiences, ranging from gaming to pure advertising. Meanwhile, a range of platforms - Meta, Roblox, Microsoft, NVIDIA and Matterport among others - present themselves as new frontiers for digital interaction.
With all the hype around the metaverse, Tom Klein, CMO at Matterport, considers how thoughtful CMOs might consider its peril and promise.
As part of the discussion, the metaverse is being built on top of another emerging technology which will be a core part of its creation - digital twins. Digital twins are photorealistic, immersive, and interactive 3D models of any item in the real world. You probably already know and use digital twins, such as 3D tours of AirBnB properties, accessible via a web browser or VR headset.
These aren’t video games, but digital 3D models of the real-world that make you feel like you’re there - wherever there might be - a store, a home for sale, a hotel room, a factory floor, and so on. You get the idea.
We believe digital twins will be critical building blocks of experiences in the metaverse, for two main reasons:-
1. Digital twins will help make environments in the metaverse look much more like the real world.
2. Digital twins have the power to evoke how it feels to be in a place by creating a fully immersive, photorealistic 3D model.
Whether it’s a more realistic or computer-generated metaverse, marketers will play critical roles in guiding the designs of experiences that best fit the needs of a brand. When it comes to thinking about the metaverse for marketers, and let’s say the art of the possible, here are several different constructs with relevant examples to help you consider how to apply metaverse-type technologies.
Value proposition and channel experience enabler
Before thinking about incorporating immersive or 3D technologies into your marketing mix, start with a thorough review of how they might be used to better communicate your value proposition.
In other words, might you be able to better communicate the emotional or functional benefits of your offering with a more immersive experience. In many cases, the answer is a resounding yes. This experience may just live on your site or be part of a direct selling experience.
Sponsoring branded metaverse outpost
Beyond communicating core benefits, CMOs should also consider creating or sponsoring metaverse-like experiences on third-party sites as part of their digital campaigns, tracking how people engage with virtual worlds and how immersed they are in brand experiences. We are seeing early examples today, with brands like Nike and Spotify creating Roblox locations.
Unlock new digital customer insights for a physical location
A digital twin can also serve as a valuable customer insight gathering tool. For example, retail stores are using immersive technologies — and either large customer sets or research panels — to create a digital model of a store and then monitor prospective customer behaviour inside the digital version - by integrating live data from their iOT and existing business or data collection systems.
Think of this as the “test location” where merchants can update and evaluate in hours or days how to best optimise almost any aspect of the retail experience.
Website alternative and marketing automation driver
Another way to invest in reaching prospects is to treat a digital twin like just another digital marketing artefact or media asset like photo or video, and incorporate it into the broader marketing mix.
That means, creating your own digital twin - ideally embedding it in a website, presenting it to customers as a more immersive and experiential alternative. Collecting customer interactions with your digital twin, as triggers for your marketing CRM or automation platform, can then create powerful ongoing & personalised communications.
For example, if yours is like many businesses, you may find that customers want to be able to experience your products “in real life” — being able to see them at scale, walk around them, or place them in a room.
What’s particularly helpful about a digital twin in this instance is that it carries with it dimensional accuracy, so customers can better appreciate and even measure products or an experience in a way that’s just not possible with two-dimensional photos. In fact, we see that customers spend 3X more time on websites with a digital twin than with only photo and video
CMOs are rethinking every step along the buying experience using these immersive, enabling toolsets. In nearly every instance, visitors to immersive digital twins tend to stay longer, investigate more, and, most importantly, make buying decisions across many categories - even buying homes sight unseen.
Activation and customer lifecycle enabler
Marketing doesn’t end at a transaction. Most CMOs these days have to worry about every customer touchpoint, especially after the sale. Digital twins in this instance, depending on the product or service, offer rich capabilities to help customers learn how to use a product, see a product or service implemented in a way that’s richer than video, and also can provide another layer of customer support.
Imagine being able to see and walk around different stages of a real-life furniture assembly vs. trying to decipher printed instructions. Digital twins today, and eventually the metaverse more broadly, have an important role to play across every stage of the customer journey.
When it comes to engaging customers, CMOs are in a prime position to both optimize the existing experience AND re-envision the customer experience in its entirety. The potential for value is tremendous, and CMOs have a key role to set the direction of how we use the metaverse to connect brands with people in a more compelling and productive way