How Should Metaverse Pioneers Organize Their Efforts?

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Within the next five years, many customers will insist on communicating with companies using avatars. They will visit a company’s 3-D metaverse site to purchase goods and services including NFTs. They may start out using existing credit cards, but eventually will pay using cryptocurrencies. They will receive customer service in the metaverse. No wonder doing business successfully in the metaverse calls for new business models.

Companies already conducting business successfully in the metaverse—Acura, Adidas, Fidelity, Gap, Gucci, Ikea, Lockheed Martin, Nike, P&G, University of Pennsylvania—have not given up their current business model but have created a separate metaverse business model built on a solid metaverse business foundation. This includes supporting virtual customer communications, virtual sales and service, virtual payments, and more. While readying your company’s entry into the metaverse and enhancing your business model might seem daunting, metaverse pioneers know the consequences of being late to the party or missing the party all together are dire.

This column is a continuation of my prior three CRM magazine columns, where I focused on the importance of the metaverse to acquire, retain, and grow customers as well as provided an eight-step recipe for doing business successfully in the metaverse. Even if you do not see yourself as a metaverse pioneer, there are many small steps you should be performing today to prepare your company’s entry into the metaverse.

Based on my experience creating metaverse strategy and implementing metaverse sites, companies must build new business models around the metaverse since current business models are not optimized for the metaverse. Here are some of the new and exciting artifacts that need to be incorporated into an effective metaverse business model:

  • A 3-D virtual environment: This ranges from offices and stores to fantasy lands built for gaming, social, productivity, and commerce.
  • Avatars: A personalized and stylized representation of you can interact with others in one or more metaverse platforms.
  • Objects: These are imaginative items that pertain to a game, a brand, commerce, or a social experience.
  • Cryptocurrency: This is the way companies and customers buy and sell in the metaverse.
  • Wallets: These digital wallets store your digital currency, assets, and identity so you can play, work, and socialize in the metaverse.
  • NFTs: Non-fungible tokens are unique digital assets stored on the blockchain.

Unfortunately, these artifacts do not map well with current business models. Today we communicate with human persons. Customers visit our physical stores or our 2-D e-commerce sites. We do business with customers in dollars or a foreign currency. We have complex systems set up to deal with customer payments and customer service.

As brands rush to enter the metaverse—70 percent of all brands are forecast to have a presence in the metaverse by 2027—companies need to organize their metaverse efforts so as not to arrive late to the party, or worse, become the next Blockbusters, Borders, or Xerox and miss the emerging opportunity. What is the right way to organize your metaverse efforts to ensure success? Is this the job of the marketing department? The sales department? The customer and field service department? Or is this the job of the CEO? The chief strategy officer? The chief innovation officer? While this is an ongoing discussion in the industry, here are a few emerging truisms:

  • Your metaverse efforts must be spearheaded by a pioneer employee. This individual welcomes innovation and is eager to raise the technology bar at your company.
  • Whereas companies that have successfully implemented CRM programs have come to realize an effective CRM program is not the responsibility of a single department, companies that are successfully realizing metaverse programs have come to a similar conclusion.
  • Successful metaverse initiatives are not the responsibility of the sales, marketing, customer service, field service, training, or any other individual department. Rather, companies that thrive in the metaverse acknowledge their metaverse initiative cuts across multiple company departments and must be organized in a cross-departmental fashion. An internal task force, perhaps led by an external metaverse subject matter expert, can be an effective way to educate executives about the metaverse, formulate an effective metaverse strategy, and create a new, cross-departmental metaverse business model.

Tim Bajarin, my metaverse business partner, and I help our clients organize their efforts. We purposely built our practice through partnerships with metaverse thought leaders, industry gurus, organizational experts, leading equipment manufacturers, and best-in-class implementation firms to ensure our customers set up winning metaverse strategies and effective business models. We created the Metaverse Resource Center to help executives learn how others are doing business successfully in the metaverse. We created the Metaverse Bootcamp to provide executives with the tools and structure to do business successfully in the metaverse.

As I wrote in my last article, you cannot duck the metaverse. Consider this likely metaverse scenario in 2032:

  • AR, VR, MR and XR hardware and software reach “ubiquitous” status.
  • Metaverse-based collaboration becomes the common feature of office work, much as Zoom is for communications today.
  • Businesses evolve from accommodating work-from-home to remote work and online collaboration in a 3-D world as a competitive advantage.
  • Support services evolve to AI- and AR-supported “do it with me” assistance.
  • Cryptocurrencies stabilize and become more widely accepted.
  • Trade shows and conventions operate as hybrid events with increasing value drawn from digital attendees at greater scale.
  • All corporate business plans include metaverse goals and implementation plans.
  • Customers overwhelmingly opt to do business with companies who have a strong presence in the metaverse.

If this scenario plays out as we expect it will, isn’t now the time for metaverse pioneers to determine how to organize your efforts?

Barton Goldenberg (bgoldenberg@ismguide.com) is president of ISM, Inc.  Since 1985, ISM has established itself as a premier strategic adviser to organizations seeking to improve the way they acquire, retain, and grow customers. His focus is the metaverse, digital customer communities, and CRM. He is a thought leader and in high demand as a keynote speaker (www.bartongoldenberg.com), and he is the author of three business books, including his latest, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM.

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