The Metaverse and What It Might Mean for B2B Marketing

Make no mistake, the metaverse is here. Call it the next generation online experience, the internet 2.0, a virtual world limited only by the bounds of imagination – whatever you’d like really.

Whatever you call it, a whole new online frontier is just over the horizon in what could prove to be the biggest digital evolution since Tim Berners-Lee birthed the world wide web and HTML. So much so, that in the years to come, we’ll increasingly live our lives in the metaverse. Work. Rest. Play. Socialise. Live. Our need for physical reality could become less and less necessary.

With all the talk of the metaverse, virtual spaces, blockchain, augmented reality and brain computer interfaces, trying to identify exactly what the metaverse could mean for B2B marketing professionals is a bit confusing. So fear not, we’ve got you covered.

A Metaverse Crash Course

As cutting-edge as the idea of an immersive virtual space sounds, it’s far from being a new concept. Anyone who has seen the 1980’s sci-fi movie Tron or Steven Spielberg’s more recent Ready Player One will have experienced a metaverse because, surprise, surprise, these stories take place in metaverses.

The term was first coined in 1992 by author Neal Stephenson in his classic cyberpunk novel Snow Crash. The story defined the metaverse as an all-encompassing 3D virtual world that mimics, augments, enhances and connects with physical reality.

As you can see, metaverses have been around for decades, and as any ardent gamer will tell you, video games like Final Fantasy and Grand Theft Auto are, in actuality, complete virtual worlds – metaverses.

The only difference between gaming and where the online ecosystem is heading is that gaming metaverses are, well, for playing games! The proposed new metaverse will be for living and working in.

What the Metaverse Means for Work

Imagine, for a second, that you want to connect with a dozen colleagues, prospects, or customers all over the world, opening a simultaneous dialogue to discuss proposed strategies, solutions or ideas. You jump on Teams, Zoom, or some other video conferencing app right? After all, we’re well used to it and our appetite for this type of collaboration has shot through the roof thanks to pandemic driven home working.

But the metaverse has the ability to take this so much further if we’re willing to make the leap. Organisations will be able to recreate offices and conference rooms, complete with everything required to illustrate points, demonstrate examples and communicate better, in a highly immersive environment.

Instead of merely seeing colleagues on your computer screen, you’ll be able to step into a 3D digital space, one that feels real and alive and very much like an in-person experience.

A New Dawn for B2B Operations  

Adopting the metaverse into commercial B2B operations is likely to be an ongoing process, something that will continue to unfold over the coming years, but it’s fairly easy to see how this might play out. Product demos, conferences, exhibitions, training sessions can all happen from the comfort of wherever you choose.

What’s exciting about the metaverse is the sheer potential it offers to increase efficiency, collaboration, communication, flexibility – even save costs. We’re already seeing organisations scale back office space thanks to increased use of online collaboration tools. A fully functioning metaverse for your business could accelerate this further.

Let’s not also forget that Gen Z are beginning to make their mark on the global workforce. This means that savvy businesses will be able to cherry-pick talent with an innate understanding of the technology and how it can and should be leveraged to optimise operations, revenue, and profit.

Will Gen Z be happy working with ‘archaic’ software, platforms, and old-fashioned IT infrastructure? Will an organisation without a metaverse become the equivalent of asking millennials to work in an office without internet access?

The bottom line is that B2B businesses need to be ready and willing to move with the times. If not, they might miss out on incredible opportunities or find they are not attractive enough to hire the talent needed to get ahead of the competition.

Interesting times are surely ahead.

By Toby Walker