You Ask, I Answer: Metaverse Impact on Marketing?

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You Ask, I Answer: Metaverse Impact on Marketing?

Chandni asks, “Is the metaverse going to change everything? How can brands prepare?”

You Ask, I Answer: Metaverse Impact on Marketing?

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Christopher Penn 0:29

Johnny asks, Is the metaverse going to change everything? How can brands prepare? A drink but this one? No.

The Metaverse is not a new idea, by any means, right? As much as, as Mark Zuckerberg and company would like to tell us that this is the promised future.

It isn’t.

We’ve had meta versus before, maybe not with VR application of VR technology.

But we’ve had meta vs and virtual worlds.

This is not a new concept.

I mean, go back to the 90s.

And you have Neil Stevenson, Snow Crash.

I mean, that was one of the first really fleshed out meta verses, go back to 2006.

And you have second life from Linden Labs, which I confess, I spent an awful lot of time in and back then people are saying, this is the future.

This is it.

This is where everything’s going to happen.

It was cool, right? A virtual reality world that was an open world, what that you could build in kinda like, you know, it was like a more technically complex version of Minecraft.

And then fast forward to worlds like Minecraft, where you have these meta verses where there’s transactions and you know, building in an open environments.

what Facebook is trying to position as the future is not new.

And it’s not going to change everything, for a variety of reasons.

Number one, the barrier to entry is still too expensive, right? Even though we’ve had virtual reality, adapters and stuff for smartphones and to be able to generate the virtual worlds.

It still sucks as an experience, right? And these devices, right are even at 199 or 299 $399.


This is a luxury item, right? It’s a it’s a unit Tasker, it does one thing, right? It does virtual reality.

You can’t go driving a car with us on yet probably shouldn’t be, you know, just wearing it around in general life.

I mean, I guess you could, but it would be dramatically unsafe.

Compare that to these guys.

Right? The ubiquitous smartphone, which is everywhere, which is your portal to the hybrid world.

Facebook’s motivations for the metaverse are pretty clear, right? The more you get people into a virtual system where you can measure and track everything and eye movement, and interactions, the more you can advertise to those people, and the better your targeting can get and the more your machine learning algorithms can learn.

Facebook doesn’t need any more information, right? Especially given the most recent round of legal revelations where it was shown that they had very clear knowledge of how their data was being misused.

And they did literally nothing about it.

This is not a company that needs any more data.

So is this Metaverse going to change everything? No, in the same way the cryptocurrency and blockchain itself is not going to change everything.

These are interesting technologies with very, very high barriers to entry and limited applications right now.

Now in 10 years, could that be different? Absolutely.


in 10 years, the barrier to entry may be much lower, the cost of the experience may be much better, and that will be great.

I still wouldn’t trust a Metaverse assembled by Facebook because as a company, they’re fundamentally untrustworthy.

But you got a ways to go.

Again, back in 2006, when Linden labs released second life, you had brands leaping in left and right building their own islands, releasing branded content now, you know, branded clothing and hats and, and all sorts of crazy stuff, holding concerts and other virtual experiences.

And it was a niche.

It was a niche environment.

There were probably, I would say, maybe a couple 100,000 people in that universe.

At any given time.

There are several million users.

But it was still a very high barrier to entry not from a computing perspective, just from a a time perspective, because you had to jump into this virtual world and interact with it and spend a lot of time in it.

We have had persistent virtual worlds now for decades, Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft first debuted in 2004.

And other than, you know, for obvious things like system maintenance,

Christopher Penn 5:26

that has been a persistent virtual world for the last, what, 18 years? Does it change everything? No, it didn’t? Did it provide people with a particular kind of experience? Yes.

For what brands should be thinking about? The question is with any technology, how does it amplify the the inherent brand attributes that your brand has, if your brand is an experiential brand, say like you’re a musician, then a virtual world may be a great fit for you to be able to get your content to a wider audience to get it to new audiences that you haven’t met.

If your brand is selling industrial, concrete, virtual probably is not the first place you should be spending your marketing dollars.

Now, once you’ve satisfied all your other marketing needs, and you’ve done a really great job of building your brand and you have global recognition, then yeah, you can afford to divert some marketing budget as a test to see how it works.

But should you be going all in on it? Know, in the same way that I would say a brand shouldn’t be going all in on creator coins or NF T’s? There are some use cases where that technology makes a lot of sense, but not many, right? In terms of how you prepare? It’s fundamentally no different than preparing for any new technology.

You’ve learned about it, you understand what it is? And then you try to figure out is it a good fit? And if it is a good fit, then you run a pilot project, you see, can we test the waters and see if this thing makes sense? Can we ask our customers if they would be interested in interacting with us in that environment? Right now, people have so much choice when it comes to content, so much choice when it comes to experiences that it’s very hard to get consumers to pick up anything new B2B or B2C? The most scarce resource we have today is attention.

The fact that you are watching and hearing these words at all, I am immensely thankful to you for spending, you know, seven minutes of your time.

That is that is the most valuable currency.

And so expecting somebody to strap a headset on and then invest hours of their life.

Yes, there will be some people that that is their jam, right? And if those people are also your customers, then the metaverse is for you.

The majority of the population though, probably is not going to be hanging out there any more than the majority of the population adopted second life back in the day when it was available on desktop computers that of the time it didn’t require any extra special equipment.

So that would be my take on on it.

If the concept takes off.

It will be for it will take a long time to do that.


It will not be immediate, but interesting question.

Take all things with Metaverse with a grain of salt right now.

Thanks for asking.

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