People v platform: does your brand really need to be in the metaverse?
It’s seemingly hard for brands to resist the allure of the metaverse, but is it for everyone? Callum Gill of DRPG unravels the complexity of marketing on the platform.
In the interest of staying relevant, brands should carefully assess their entry into the metaverse / Jezael Melgoza via Unsplash
‘We want to do something in the metaverse’ is a common client request these days. But it’s about as useful as saying ‘we want to do something on the internet.’
The question that must be answered when this is asked is why? With what can only be described as a tech gold rush, the past few years have seen a lurch from marketers and communicators to be on the latest platform, without so much as really understanding why; they’re fueled by buzzwords and FOMO. The reality is that it is a surefire recipe for wasting money and chasing shadows.
People are more predictable than platforms
Why should you focus on people rather than the platform itself? Well, people are more predictable and stable than tech and the wider macro environment.
There are those who swear demographics are the ultimate useful tool, but others say they are less useful. Do I laud or lambast the usefulness of demographics? I think they’re particularly useful in telling us the technology people were exposed to in their formative years, because we know when they were born – and by knowing this, you can catch your core market in their natural habitats.
You also need to understand why they are where they are. This is a much more successful strategy than blindly following media hype. This is where, however, the usefulness of demographics can fall off a cliff edge. BBH Labs did some excellent research showing there is better group cohesion and affinity among daily nut eaters and Orangina drinkers than within demographic groups.
Know who you’re dealing with
Clients and brands are desperate to enter the metaverse. Yet, the perception that only gamers who are young with no disposable income occupy this space is incredibly naïve. True, the primary audience enjoying the metaverse is gamers; however, the average age is not as young as one would expect at 35. Brands that we talk to view gaming audiences as young and without disposable income – and therefore not worth targeting. The reality is hugely different.
Armed with that, you can start to align your audiences with wider platform demographics and make a solid case for investment, approach and deployment. Jaws drop when I tell clients that recently a virtual Gucci handbag sold for 350,000 Robux (approximately $4,500) – a whopping $800 more than a physical Gucci bag. This proves a whole new digital ecosystem is on the rise – and it is worth billions.
It doesn’t matter if you can’t understand why anyone would want such a thing – the point is that there is a market, and you need to tap into it. There is a market that values this kind of transaction, and knowing this is more important than trying to understand why.
Wait until the time is right
If you’re a luxury fashion brand, it’s likely you needed to be in the metaverse yesterday. If you’re a B2B stationery company, your entry point is probably a lot further down the line, because your audience’s entry point is further down the line.
Without understanding the audience, you can deliver at best ham-fisted campaigns, and at worst tone-deaf and offensive campaigns (think Pepsi and Black Lives Matter).
Now is the time to do some considered audience work. No matter the brand; the turmoil of the last few years, the pandemic and the war in Europe have all upended customer expectations and behaviors. The impending cost of living and energy crises promising to bite in November and December will further shift behaviors and buying patterns.
If you can get to grips with your segments now using market data from sources such as CACI and Experian, your own first-party data, third-party digital data (while it lasts) and direct contact with your consumers and audiences, you stand to make platform choice a secondary concern.
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