youPON HEARING speak of “metaverse”, one can be forgiven for immediately thinking of a scene from Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory: Technology-obsessed Mike insists on becoming the first person to be passed on by Wonkavision, only to be shrunk to fit and then stretched back to normal via a tire puller. When we add seriousness to the conversation by discussing “the Metaverse,” it’s easy to immediately drift to the mental image of a thick plume of glitter blowing through the air in celebration.
Today, the metaverse looks both ominous and exhilarating. Many digital leaders have begun to outline the many use cases and business imperatives the Metaverse can present for those who wish to be early disrupters shaping the economy of the Metaverse.
The truth is that many will not have the will to be part of this advanced group. Much like the early pioneers of the “age of digital innocence” or the “age of digital giants,” those willing to take the leap and take a chance will serve as ambitious beacons on the road to the metaverse. .
Nonetheless, now is the time to start thinking about what the metaverse has in store for the experience. There are two conversations that today’s customer experience (CX) leaders, from marketing to sales to service, need to have: first, what is the metaverse, and second, what is our place in the metaverse economy?
DEFINING THE INDEFINED
The Metaverse is an infinite realm of shared immersive experiences in which commerce, community, and currency co-exist and are co-created. By nature and by design, the metaverse transcends the defined boundaries of “physical” and “digital”. He asks us to suspend disbelief and build whatever we dare, together.
In terms of the experience, the metaverse is where a ride on a stationary bike is a fully immersed and connected experience where riders aren’t staring at a screen but are wearing glasses to be in the room with a community. Currency, mined from the power generated by a bike in the physical world, allows riders to tip their instructor and pay for virtual waters for friends.
One could argue that this capability exists today. But in the fully realized metaverse, before classes start, runners stop by the virtual grocery store and pick up a few essentials, and before their workout cooldown runs out, real groceries are delivered to a real door. admission, paid for by those who sweat. equity dollars that just existed.
RESIST THE DESIRE TO RELIVE WEB 2.0
Web 2.0 represented the sea change from static one-way information delivery to dynamic engagements in which users could become creators and generators of content. The systems have been designed to allow the ebb and flow of continuous two-way communication. It wasn’t just communication, it was conversation through content creation, and the voice of the customer needed to ring out loud and clear.
The truth of Web 2.0 is that although it was sold as an era of “interoperability” and a culture of “participation”, what it achieved was an era where the command and control tendencies of spray-and-pray courier could be delivered fast, cheap and dirty. CX strategies evolved from mapping campaigns to the assumption that a customer’s real experience could be controlled or managed. Campaigns turned into “journeys” ready to be optimized. The data could be aggregated, analyzed and exploited.
There was a big problem: as much as we wanted community, co-creation, and collaboration, we didn’t want the accountability of community, co-creation, or collaboration. We wanted to send content through digital channels and get people to respond by mindfully buying products, not telling us what they didn’t like about the content, the channel we chose, or the products we we sell. Web 2.0 has become a beautifully designed sports car that we choose to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
REVIEW WANAMAKER’S 50 PERCENT
In the Metaverse, along with its Web 3.0 infrastructure counterpart that will be needed to power this new immersive universe, campaigns built on data collected through broad passive engagements and blindly applied as personalization will not suffice. Customer journeys cannot be carefully created in anticipation of an obedient audience of customers who dutifully follow our sequenced and orchestrated guidelines.
A line from a recent report on the economics of the Metaverse by Constellation Research posits the mandate of the Metaverse as such: “Entry to the Metaverse should take a goal- and brand-driven approach. Identify areas where the brand has market permission to introduce, participate and lead. »
It’s a world in which a company must be prepared to bring 50% of a shared experience to the table. Yet it feels like a trap – a strange invitation to return to this age-old question of which 50 percent was effective and that was wasteful. Have we really returned to a time when we evoke the ghost of John Wanamaker? Can companies let their guard down and co-create in the moment? Or will we wrap the same push-centric communications of Web 2.0, delivered through VR glasses?
Businesses won’t rest when the one-way street of push communications is presented as an experiment. The mere presence of digital content will not pass for an experience.
NOT BEST PRACTICES—BEST STARTING POINTS
Unfortunately, we’re just not at the point of legitimately identifying metaverse launch best practices. We’re just too early in a game that hasn’t really started yet. This means there is still time to prepare.
- Define cultural values now.It doesn’t mean “write a more vivid mission and vision statement on your website”. Now is the time to really take a step back and articulate where and how your products, your brand, your people, and your vision intersect with the world. Don’t confuse this opportunity with a chance to rewrite that slogan. Step away from the branding workshop. It is about understanding the Why you are, as opposed to the What you want the customer to buy.
- Move from strategies that “build relationships” to those that “maintain relationships”.Ask any couple who’ve been married for decades: Success isn’t measured by grand gestures and promises of rainbows and butterflies. Instead, success is measured in the mundane, problem-solving, everyday, reliable experiences that become like a second skin, comfortable and comforting at the same time. Think about the acts and actions each of your brand ambassadors should be willing to take to nurture a relationship. These are the building blocks of that 50% that a brand must bring to the table. Don’t underestimate the importance this will have.
- Give up the fun times.The metaverse will not be about fun. The Metaverse will be moments – moments of opportunity that are immediately recognized and leveraged with all parties jumping in, all at once, with millions of expectations and a shared journey. By letting go of pleasure as the destination, perhaps we can finally begin to focus on what is truly important, what is needed, at this time. And yes, you could say that at times the pleasure is exactly what the customer ordered. So let it be. Build that fun together. But forcing every moment to be “delicious” is too much pressure. In the metaverse, sometimes showing up and just saying hello will be all the fun a customer asks for until you can build an experience together.
CX leaders, beware. You will not be able to campaign through the metaverse. It will be easy to lose focus and fall back into old habits. But if you want to participate in the metaverse economy, start by asking yourself what your brand is for and what value it can bring. What will be your 50% of any shared experience?
Liz Miller is a Vice President and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, covering the broad landscape of customer experience strategy and technologies.