Emerging Technologies: Unveiling Opportunities for Marketers in the Metaverse and Blockchain

This year’s standout technologies and long-term interests for marketing executives form a dynamic discussion.

Identifying the right equilibrium between trend-watching and strategic investment is both an art and a science for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs). While it’s impossible to overlook the prevailing trends, it is imprudent to heavily invest in untested technology. However, marketers need to remain vigilant for emerging technologies that can unexpectedly provide a substantial competitive edge.

CMOs play a crucial role in determining how these trends become pertinent to their consumer base. They can explore questions like, “How can this revolutionize my business or industry?” This year’s data indicates a surge in interest for Web3 technologies among marketers, as these technologies hold significant potential for brands.

Emerging Interest in the Metaverse

The metaverse, an amalgamation of technologies enabling new forms of experiences and industry-wide engagement through 3D activities and AI-based simulations, is garnering rapid interest. Numerous brands anticipate utilizing the metaverse to bridge the physical and virtual worlds in the next couple of years. While many B2C industries have been quick to develop a metaverse strategy, our survey of 1,015 marketing executives reveals that even sectors like Energy, Resources & Industrials (ER&I), and Life Sciences & Healthcare (LS&HC) are gravitating towards the metaverse, suggesting a widespread attraction across sectors. Brands are at an early stage of understanding their pace to market, so defining clear objectives for creating metaverse experiences is paramount. Brands desiring leadership in the virtual realm should consider preparing to enter this boundless reality.

One of the main reasons brands have not yet engaged with the metaverse is the challenges they encounter in developing or executing the technology (as reported by 45% of the respondents). These hurdles can stem from limitations in skills, talent, or budget. LS&HC respondents expressed even higher rates of concern (55%) that implementing technology poses a serious obstacle.

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Despite these obstacles, the data suggests that barriers to implementation do not suffice to quell interest in the metaverse. Only a small fraction of respondents (10%) deemed the metaverse “irrelevant to my industry.” Respondents from the ER&I sector were the most likely to find it irrelevant, with 24% viewing it as such. Nonetheless, these figures indicate a probable widespread adoption of these new technologies.

We’ve also found in our interviews with marketing executives that the roadmap to metaverse adoption isn’t clearly defined. Questions persist about which metaverse platform to join, based on their customer’s likeliest destination. Some brands revealed they are cautiously exploring existing spaces, while others consider developing their own. For instance, Claire Tellenbach, marketing manager at luxury watch producer H. Moser and Cie., stated, “For now, we are developing our Moser Lounge in the metaverse to welcome customers and press. We are exploring different ideas for launches and press conferences. Post-pandemic, instead of huge video calls, maybe we can host them in the metaverse.”

Other brands acknowledge the metaverse’s potential but adopt a slower approach to accommodate competing priorities. Ömer Barbaros Yis, CEO of LC Waikiki E-Commerce Business, a European fashion retailer, mentioned, “I profoundly believe in the metaverse and all the immersive experiences. They have tremendous potential in e-commerce as well, making experiences more immersive for customers before they buy, to try them out.” However, he also noted that affordability is a significant concern for his customers when it comes to the metaverse.

Brands should begin considering the metaverse’s role in their long-term marketing strategy. Based on our interactions with CMOs, we recommend:

  • Proceed with caution: Define your objectives for metaverse experiences and monitor early adopters who will lead the way for broader adoption in 2024 and beyond. Consider potential challenges like cybersecurity, trust, brand reputation, and digital rights management.
  • Balance brand priorities when developing adoption strategies: Although investment in technology platforms and capabilities to support personalization and achieve customer-centricity is still a top priority, brands not strategizing for the metaverse may lose the chance to lead in the space.
  • Begin preparing for a metaverse strategy: The metaverse offers CMOs new opportunities to enhance engagement and experiences, as well as developing new revenue channels. Marketers who fail to strategize early may end up playing catch-up for years.
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Gaining Ground: Blockchain Technology in Regulatory Environments

While blockchain’s role in marketing is still in its infancy, pressures to address privacy concerns could be accelerating early adoption. For those CMOs who list addressing the regulatory environment as a top priority, 35% have already integrated blockchain technology into their advertising strategy, compared to 21% of all other respondents. This indicates that blockchain, particularly in regulatory environments, presents new avenues for bolstering consumer privacy and enabling consumers to manage their own data.

However, 41% of all CMOs plan to bolster their advertising strategy with blockchain in the next 12 months. Blockchain and other technologies rank fifth in importance among CMOs, signifying a broader shift towards this nascent technology. Different industries will likely need to adopt various, localized approaches to these technologies that carefully balance their customers’ needs with the brands’ existing resources.

Brands operating in regulatory environments should consider a strategy for blockchain in the coming year for the data privacy reasons mentioned above, while others can monitor digital currency leaders to prepare for broader blockchain adoption in the coming years.

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