It’s Time to Focus on the Metaverse

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“We all know that the tech buzzword of the day is the metaverse. Of course, there are many views about what the metaverse is and should be in concept. However, it is really about a virtual world where people can play immersive games, create their own ‘personal’ virtual worlds, and eventually even shop and do business within this replication of the real world.” This is how Tim Bajarin begins a recent Forbes.com article, describing why now is the time for “companies of all sizes to start their research into the metaverse.” 

For months, I have asked this important question: Why do sales, marketing, and customer service executives need to devote more focus to the metaverse? Here is a brief list of reasons: The metaverse—which refers to the upcoming network of virtual spaces where people can connect socially—meaningfully changes the way your company sells, markets to, and services its customers. It has a profound impact on your company’s competitiveness. It allows you to do business where your customers want to do business and engage customers in ways your customers want to be engaged, which helps secure sales. It drives down customer and field service costs, and it provides quicker and more comprehensive solutions to customer problems.

On a more personal level, the metaverse provides sales, marketing, and customer service executives the opportunity to be pioneers in the use of immersive technologies. It also provides the opportunity to raise the technology bar at their companies. An important side benefit: It helps make you more attractive and valuable to companies that are looking to hire forward-thinking personnel.

While the metaverse is currently in a state of great turbulence, and though it may be a while before businesses and even consumers live and work in the metaverse, we expect the metaverse to be truly transformative in the years ahead. The metaverse has already begun to move along the technology adoption curve from innovators to early adopters. We are seeing an explosion of innovative companies, like Airbus, that are already using metaverse technology in specific applications inside their companies, which suggests that now is the time for enterprises and medium-sized businesses to start looking at creating their virtual world strategies.

Back in the 1990s, Bajarin and I spent more than a decade creating and leading CRM conferences worldwide. To ensure the successful adoption of CRM technology, we purposely structured these conferences around input from sales, marketing, and customer service executives since they knew best what they needed to drive enhanced customer engagement and, ultimately, sales. In hindsight, we now know these executives were also the drivers of successful CRM adoption in their respective business areas, leading to the adoption of enterprise CRM.

We teamed up again last year to help ensure the successful adoption of the metaverse, which we forecast will be the most disruptive technology to hit businesses in the next decade. The metaverse, more properly called the “virtual world,” currently leverages virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR)—which is sometimes called extended reality (XR)—and augmented reality (AR) technologies.

Like the role they played in CRM adoption, sales, marketing, and customer service executives will also be responsible, we believe, for driving the successful adoption of metaverse technology in their respective business areas and eventually at the enterprise level. In conversations Bajarin and I have held with executives over the past months, lots of questions were posed about how to do business in the metaverse. These executives are also telling us they are not sure where to start. 

To help shorten the metaverse learning curve, Bajarin and I set up the Metaverse Resource Center, which provides these executives with dozens of use cases from companies currently applying VR-MR-AR technologies to their businesses.  The use cases are grouped horizontally by sales, marketing, customer service, and training, as well as vertically by manufacturing, retail, healthcare, telecom, finance, biotech, publishing, and professional services. While the Metaverse Resource Center is not yet complete, it shares more than 100 real-world case studies, as well as dozens of videos and articles that show how metaverse technologies are impacting many companies’ current business operations and practices.

We have also created multiple webinars and keynotes to help executives learn how to do sales, marketing, and customer service in the metaverse. All of this material is available in the Metaverse Resource Center

Each company will conceive and formulate its metaverse strategy differently. Some companies will create new positions akin to Lockheed Martin’s “principal investigator for MR and AR,” as the aerospace and defense firm did to ensure its competitive positioning in the metaverse. Others will position their future on the metaverse as Meta (Facebook) is doing. What Lockheed Martin and Meta have in common is a clear plan to devote increased focus on the metaverse. What is your plan?

Barton Goldenberg (bgoldenberg@ismguide.com) is president of ISM. Since 1985, ISM has established itself as a premier strategic adviser to organizations seeking to create and implement world-class customer strategies. He is a thought leader and in high demand as a keynote speaker (www.bartongoldenberg.com) and is the author of four books, including his latest, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM.

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