Marketing in the Metaverse

How the most valuable consumer brands use the metaverse for marketing

The metaverse is a hype topic in marketing – not just since Facebook’s renaming as Meta and Mark Zuckerberg’s associated bet on the metaverse as the next generation of the Internet.

Unlike websites today, future metaverses will be virtual, immersive worlds in which thousands of users can be online at the same time and communicate, dance, create, and above all, consume beyond gaming. The offerings range from analog to hybrid to completely virtual products and services. And they do so across a wide variety of devices and hardware genres. New technologies such as NFTs and blockchains are also expected to enable completely new business models in the metaverse. However, it is still completely unclear what these will be and whether the vision of the metaverse will be realized at all.

What is the Metaverse?

Beyond mind games, there are currently hardly any concrete definitions or standards regarding what the metaverse actually is or what it will be. Nevertheless, many companies have jumped on the bandwagon and presented their own metaverses or at least marketing campaigns in virtual environments. However, many of the supposed future applications still seem half-baked, and it remains unclear what value they generate for users.

Against this background, the following questions arise: What concrete role does the metaverse already play in marketing today? And what role can it play in the future from the perspective of marketing experts? To answer these questions, NIM launched an interview study at the end of 2022 with high-ranking marketing managers who work for some of the most valuable consumer brands in the U.S. and Europe. The study focused on companies that already use the metaverse in some form for their marketing.

The preliminary results show that some brands are reluctant to explore the marketing potential of the metaverse, while others are already deriving value from their metaverse activities by establishing new communication channels with their customers and realigning their branding. However, the potential of the metaverse is still limited by several barriers, such as lack of consumer access, lack of control, and lack of protection for brands. Our study will contribute to a better understanding of the role of the metaverse in modern marketing and identify the challenges that need to be overcome in order to fully realize its potential. The results will be published and presented at conferences in 2023.