The 7 Point Plan for Marketing in the Metaverse: Point 2 - Design is an Output, not an Input
This segment constitutes the second pillar within our comprehensive strategic framework for Marketing in the Metaverse. Building upon Point One - "Have a Plan," it underscores the significance of approaching any virtual world activation strategy with the same level of meticulousness and deliberation as any other marketing channel.
Before succumbing to the allure of the vast opportunities offered by the Metaverse, it is imperative to devise a well-defined and thoroughly evaluated plan, thereby ensuring a solid foundation for success. Once the plan has been created, it’s time to roll up the sleeves and consider the visual attributes of the activation. However, Design is an Output, not an Input…
Virtual worlds provide immersive and visually captivating experiences that serve as a limitless platform for artistic expression and innovation. Given this exceptional potential, it is natural to be enticed by considerations of how products, brands, and services will be presented within these virtual realms, as well as envisioning the overall design of the virtual environment.
However, it is crucial to remain grounded during the initial stages and prioritise the coherence of the marketing plan above all else. While design unquestionably contributes to the overall success, it should be regarded as a tactical component within the broader strategic framework.
To draw a parallel, when embarking on the construction of a house, one would instinctively consult an architect (that’s us) before engaging with the builders.
Furthermore, don’t be drawn into thinking that just because you can build a skyscraper then you should do it.
Some Metaverse consulting firms and agencies tend to advise their clients to ‘build big stuff’ and they focus on the square metres of land they have built as opposed to the actual ‘reason to visit’. This is the wrong approach.
Consequently, the development of creative concepts should commence outside the virtual world, subsequent to the formulation and agreement upon the initial strategy (Point One: Have a Plan). If a concept demonstrates remarkable strength, it should be effectively communicated without necessitating its manifestation within the virtual realm.
Upon the endorsement of the concept, preliminary design prototypes can then be meticulously crafted, marking the juncture at which in-world development commences. When contemplating the overall design of a venue, it is imperative to delve into the realm of user experience.
What are you trying to communicate to the visitors?
What do you want them to do?
Is there a range of different activities or experiences you want them to engage with?
Do they need to be guided (perhaps on rails) through the experience?
Will visitors seamlessly navigate the space and easily access the desired information or experiences intended for promotion?
The clarity of signage and the facilitation of interaction are paramount considerations in this regard.
Just as website creation revolves around the assimilation of information and smooth navigation, virtual world design ought to adopt similar methodologies, akin to a virtual site map. Establishing a teleport point, strategically positioned at the heart of the location, serves as the customary practice for most companies. Additionally, a prominently displayed billboard featuring the venue's map, accompanied by supplementary teleport functionality, is often implemented.
One should never assume that visitors to a brand venue will naturally explore the entire venue in search of their desired objectives. For illustrative purposes, let us reflect upon the way in which retail stores expertly guide the flow of traffic within their premises through strategic signage. Remarkably, this approach finds application even within virtual stores.
In some cases, brands don't even need their own centralised in-world venue. Within many Metaverse platforms are existing locations frequented by users, such as social hub spots, shopping malls, popular gaming destinations and the like. Consider approaching and partnering with the operators of these venues to tap-in to their existing footfall and audience. This is a much more native approach to Metaverse marketing.
Virtual world platform operators themselves hold significant potential to enhance the user experience. Requesting metrics pertaining to previous campaigns within their virtual realms can yield invaluable insights regarding successful and unsuccessful endeavours. Ask them for user metrics, MAU’s, session lengths and other relevant data points from previous campaigns. If they can’t or won’t tell you this information then ask us instead and we’ll give you the lowdown.
Moreover, it is worth noting that not every virtual marketing campaign necessitates a dedicated physical location. Consider, for instance, the distribution of virtual goods to residents of virtual worlds through multiple access points. Such an approach presents an efficient alternative in certain scenarios.
In summary, think before you leap. Brand activations inside virtual worlds need to be natively placed and crafted in the essence of the platform and in the same mindset as the residents inside the world. It's not about building, it's about being.