2022 has sparked the imagination of marketers as they contemplate how to connect with consumers in the digital realm. The feasibility of these concepts will vary depending on the advancement of platforms and the effort marketers invest in reaching audiences.
These musings aren’t just idle chatter; major corporations such as Samsung, Under Armour, and Walmart have launched substantial, long-term campaigns within virtual environments and through virtual items.
Moreover, almost half of all marketers have immediate plans or are contemplating incorporating elements of the metaverse into their strategies. Here’s a glimpse of what we can expect in the upcoming year.
Brand Engagement in the Metaverse
Virtual and augmented reality offer new, captivating methods for brands to reach their audience. As a result, marketers will focus on these technologies in the coming year and exercise caution with NFTs linked to crypto fluctuations.
According to Andrew Frank, an analyst at Gartner, there is a shift in perspective regarding the value of digital currencies. He says marketing organizations will be more realistic about the potential applications and benefits of these technologies and shift focus to how they can use these tools to improve customer loyalty and rewards programs.
This shift back to traditional marketing strategies means marketers will continue utilizing well-established loyalty and data-gathering tactics while incorporating new technology such as NFTs. These digital tokens can provide discounts similar to coupons without the added uncertainty of crypto investments.
Frank further elaborates, ” NFTs can also be utilized selectively, allowing customers to express interest in products and preferences to marketers, instead of being required to permit data collection.”
Rise of Gaming Social media celebrities
In the world of gaming, there are rising stars that have large followings within the community. In 2023, marketers expect to leverage these thriving communities by forming partnerships with gaming influencers, regardless of whether their brand directly relates to the gaming industry.
We can expect non-gaming brands to follow in the footsteps of industry leaders like Samsung, Red Bull, and Hershey, who have already formed partnerships with popular gaming streamers.
NFTs and Loyalty Programs
The recent market instability in the crypto and NFT sphere has caused some hesitancy, but brands still show great interest in web3 activations. Laura Connell, Consumer Trends Manager for GWI, a consumer insights and analytics company, states that despite the situation, brands will be looking for ways to let customers digitally engage with them and each other in the metaverse.
For example, NFTs can offer privileges similar to traditional rewards programs. However, the NFTs being supported by a decentralized blockchain, customer engagement data is not retained by a single company or third party but rather recorded on the blockchain.
Connell predicts that brands will start incorporating NFTs in their loyalty and reward programs, citing companies like Nike, Swoosh, and Starbucks as examples that are already rewarding their engaged community members. She added, “NFTs within web3 present an opportunity for brands to identify and engage with a closer group of consumers than ever before.”
As we move into 2023, virtual worlds and tokens are becoming increasingly popular among consumers and marketers. Brands are starting to experiment and explore this new environment, and as the space matures, they will better understand how users interact within it.