Madtech Meets the Metaverse: A Marketer’s Guide - Retail Council of Canada
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Madtech Meets the Metaverse: A Marketer’s Guide

October 12, 2022

By Jonathan Moran
JULY 14, 2022

How will marketing and advertising technologies (or madtech) need to change to account for the metaverse?

As the metaverse evolves, it’s predicted that humans will spend a significant portion of their day in this virtual digital world — where digital avatars will work, live and play. If this is the case, then there will be opportunities for brands to market, advertise and engage with consumers in this virtual digital world — as it coexists alongside the physical world of today.

So how will marketing and advertising technologies (or madtech) need to change to account for the metaverse, perhaps the biggest customer engagement disruption since social media?

The answer is three main areas — integration, innovation for insight and authenticity and transparency.

Integration: Data, Content, Decisioning, Technology

The term integration applies to many different areas of the organization. Let’s highlight just a few:

  • Data: As traditional marketing channels (i.e. direct mail, in-person, contact center) continue to be augmented with newer marketing channels (i.e. streaming, in-game, AR/VR), consumer expectations are changing, too. When faced with an online customer service rep that has no idea that the consumer purchased something at the brick-and-mortar store no longer will the consumer be OK with that service. Instead, the consumer will expect the brand, regardless of touchpoint, to have a full 360 view of their interactions. All data types, zero through third, must be collected and integrated into a central data repository, such as a customer data platform (CDP). 
  • Content: The way that a consumer interacts with an advertising offer, such as a 3D banner, and a marketing offer, such as a targeted interstitial in the metaverse, will be very similar. However, the metaverse will present opportunities for closer content integrations. Traditionally marketing and advertising content has been very separate due to the marketing and advertising departments’ channels and budgets being run separately (marketing is often in-house, and advertising is run through an agency). The metaverse, which will be built on a Web3 platform, and will be much more user self-contained in nature, will return content creation control to brands. Brands that control their marketing and advertising functions in the metaverse will have to ensure that content is consistent, integrated and reusable across marketing. Not doing so will present a confused customer experience to metaverse participants. 
  • Decisioning: When a consumer engages in the metaverse, brand response time must be instantaneous. Brand analytical decisioning must be integrated (span departments) and real-time in nature. Marketing departments will no longer be able to make consumer engagement decisions that are batch, delayed and brand and not consumer-focused, irrespective of the advertising department. Madtech decisioning will be enterprise-focused, meaning brands will be forced to consider how does my marketing decision and reply impact advertising, risk, fraud and other parts of my organization? 
  • Technology: Enabling enterprise data, content and decisioning integrations in the era of Madtech will likely require many brands to streamline and modernize their tech stacks, adopting technologies with prebuilt marketing and advertising integration points. As digital ecosystems like the metaverse come online, brands that are attempting to work with too many solutions will experience disjointed processes and will in turn create a very confusing customer experience.

Innovate for Better Insight in Metaverse

As brands start to explore the metaverse, they will need to consider how to refactor not only technology integrations but, in some instances, entire technologies to account for a greater level of consumer insight.

  • Data collection: Because the metaverse is an extension (not a replacement or separate marketing channel) of the engagement ecosystem, and early adopters will be Millennials and Gen Z, brands need to be innovative with their data collection methods, creating interactions and messages that boost business metrics (profit, revenue, margin, etc.) but also drive consumer comfort and loyalty. And with the cookie being self-contained in the form of Topics, brands will need to innovate on how they deliver the “value exchange” needed to collect zero- and first-party consumer data. What rewards, services or incentives are offered in the metaverse to drive consumer stickiness and loyalty? How are marketing and advertising messages personalized based on the type of consumer engagement within my metaverse? How do my traditional marketing and advertising programs and supporting madtech solutions change outside of the metaverse? These are all things that organizations should be considering now. 
  • Analytics: As the refactoring of technology begins, there’s no doubt that analytics will play a significant role, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). 
  • Conversation: ML techniques like reinforcement learning contained with customer journey optimization will help brands optimize customer journey outcomes and help metaverse participants to create their journeys with brands playing the role of guide. This analytical technology will guide consumers to end outcomes instead of forcing them down a predefined brand-issued path. 
  • Automation: We will see automation help simplify processes that will be frequently required in the metaverse, like multi-factor authentication, passwording, data synchronization, cryptocurrency exchange and NFT and coin creation.

Authenticity and Transparency Matter in Metaverse

Consumers today are not short on skepticism when it comes to Madtech messages, particularly younger generations. While they are digitally native, and many are using metaverses already, they possess a general distrust of all things marketing and advertising. Here’s how to appeal to this audience as well as other portions of the population:

  • Authentic: The metaverse will require brands to be authentic from a Madtech message perspective, delivering content that appeals to differing audiences.  For instance, younger generations appreciate the social impact, emotion and humor in messaging. Older generations prefer value-based messaging that is clear and concise. Authenticity in message tone, delivery and timing will be key. 
  • Transparent: With Web3 being introduced, data portability among users and across services will become prevalent. Web3 will reintroduce power and data control to the consumer instead of the digital giant. With this newly minted power, consumers will be in the position to demand that brands be transparent regarding how their data is being used. And as the saying goes, “clear is kind.” Brands will have to be clear and transparent, explaining why they are asking for data and how they are going to use it. They will have to assure that security is tight in their metaverse — as we have already seen some “digital violence and abuse” issues. Brands will also have to be transparent about their values, what matters to them, metaverse expectations and why those values and expectations should matter to the consumer.

Enterprise-based metaverses are on the horizon, and it’s very likely a large portion of your consumer base is already using some sort of metaverse today. Think about how you can weave better integrations, insight, authenticity and transparency into your madtech processes as you prepare for your own organization’s metaverse to come to life.