Marketing in the Metaverse

How the most valuable consumer brands use the metaverse for marketing

The metaverse is a hype topic in marketing, and not just because Facebook was renamed Meta at the end of 2021 and Marc Zuckerberg's bet on the metaverse as the next generation of the Internet. Unlike today's websites, future metaverses are supposed to be virtual, immersive worlds in which users can interact with each other and with artificial intelligence in real-time. The vision for future metaverses is that thousands of users can be online at the same time and game, communicate, dance, create, and, above all, consume virtual, analog, and hybrid products and services. And they will do so across a wide variety of devices and technologies. New technologies such as NFTs and blockchains are also expected to enable entirely new applications and business models in these virtual worlds.

However, it is still completely unclear what these will be and whether the vision of the metaverse will materialize at all. Beyond rather flowery visions, there are still hardly any concrete definitions or standards of what the metaverse actually is or will be. Nevertheless, a veritable gold rush has recently broken out, with virtual property prices in metaverse platforms such as Sandbox and Decentraland exploding, and many companies did not wanting to miss the train. Yet, from the authors' point of view, many of the supposed future applications still seem richly undeveloped and without clear value for the users.

Besides all the speculation about future metaverses and the often-propagated gigantic possibilities, the question remains unanswered for the time being: what role does the metaverse already play in marketing today and what role do marketing experts believe it can play in the future? To answer these questions, NIM launched an interview study at the end of 2022 with high-ranking managers who work for the most valuable B2C brands in the US and Europe. Only companies that already use metaverse activities for their marketing in some form will be selected from industries such as fashion, automotive and food.