You Can’t Duck the Metaverse

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MANY sales, marketing, customer service, and field service executives have heard about the metaverse but don’t really know how it applies to their company. These are the kinds of things they tell me:

“The metaverse sounds cool but is probably way too expensive for us; we don’t have that kind of money.”

“The metaverse is too high-tech, and we have no idea where to start.”

“The metaverse is just another passing fad.”

“Our product/industry doesn’t have any application/use for the metaverse.”

But there’s no need to fret. While still a nebulous concept, the metaverse, broadly speaking, is the next phase of the internet, where online technologies combine to form an immersive virtual experience. The metaverse combines virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), gaming, and other Web 3.0 digital components into a virtual 3-D environment where 3-D digital personas work, communicate, shop, bank, learn, and even play. Most importantly, the metaverse provides you and your customers the opportunity to engage in this virtual world.

By 2025 the average adult will spend 25 percent of their time in the metaverse. That figure increases to 50 percent by 2030. That means lots of customers will be spending increasingly more time in the metaverse. Will you be there to sell and service them? Or will you leave it to your competitors to be there to sell and service them? In the next five years, 70 percent of brands will have a presence in the metaverse. Will you be one of these brands, or will you be the next Blockbuster, Borders, or Xerox and arrive late to the party?

Leading Fortune 200 companies are leveraging metaverse technology today to delight their customers, lower their costs, and extract revenue from the metaverse. There are hundreds of metaverse use cases that explain how companies are leveraging the metaverse to achieve these results:

  • grow revenue up to 50 percent through immersive customer engagement;
  • perform field service and lower costs by up to 75 percent; and
  • achieve up to a 60 percent improvement in training content recall and retention.

The metaverse is not a passing fad. In Silicon Valley the search is on for the next big technology platform that will follow the smartphone. Many think the metaverse is this next platform. Venture capital funding for the metaverse has already surpassed $10 billion this year. Venture capital will continue to flow to startups working to bring truly interactive virtual worlds to life. Big Tech players including Meta, Google, Apple, and Microsoft have committed tens of billions of dollars toward developing hardware and software to support the metaverse; Meta alone has committed $10 billion. Forecasts call for VR/AR headset sales to grow 300 percent from 18 million units in 2022 to more than 50 million in 2026. By 2026, more than 40 percent of these metaverse headsets will support enterprise metaverse software applications. When Apple introduces its augmented reality glasses in 2023, it will propel the metaverse to the masses.

To ready your company to do business successfully in the metaverse, here are your next steps:

  1. Study how leading Fortune 200 companies are using the metaverse to attract, retain, and grow their customer base; buy and sell goods and services; improve field service while lowering costs; recruit and train personnel; and digitally engage with customers on a deeper level to grow customer lifetime value.
  2. While you’re at it, check out the practical applications for metaverse technology that have surfaced already, whether it’s companies repairing their customers’ factory machinery anywhere in the world via remote assist (e.g., Microsoft), enhancing their product offerings (e.g., Lockheed Martin), designing homes (e.g., IKEA), having customers try on eyeglasses remotely (e.g., Warby Parker), or configuring a car’s exterior and interior (e.g., BMW).
  3. Discover how to apply metaverse technologies to help your business better engage and service prospects and customers while cutting costs.
  4. Understand the costs to develop your metaverse capabilities.
  5. Learn how to position your company to have long-term sustainable competitive advantage in the metaverse.
  6. Secure new skills to raise the metaverse technology bar within your company.

Here’s some good news: Your knowledge of CRM and your customers will help you shorten your metaverse learning journey. While gaming and training have been the early metaverse wins, hard-core CRM functions, including sales, marketing, customer service, and field service, will anchor the metaverse’s future. As you enable your business to exist in the digital world just like it does in the physical world, you will apply innovative marketing techniques to reach metaverse customers, allow customers to buy your products in the metaverse, and provide customer and field service in the metaverse. Forward-thinking executives understand this and for the past two years have been working closely with metaverse platform providers and developers to help them sell, market, and provide customer service and field service in the metaverse.

Thirty-seven years ago, when I began working in what has become the CRM industry, CRM—like today’s metaverse—was new to executives. I created a two-hour CRM Bootcamp to help educate executives on the benefits of CRM, including how to leverage CRM tools and techniques to drive sales, lower costs, and achieve enhanced customer engagement. Recently I created a Metaverse Bootcamp with the equivalent goal of helping educate executives on the benefits of the metaverse.

Now is the time to formulate your metaverse strategy and implementation game plan that describe how you will interact and manage relationships with your customers in a virtual world. You can be sure that your competition is not waiting on the sidelines. 

Barton Goldenberg (bgoldenberg@ismguide.com) is president of ISM. 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 is the author of three business books, including his latest, The Definitive Guide to Social CRM.

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