If there’s one thing that the industry is banking on revolutionizing customer experience in the near future, it’s the so-called metaverse. Merkle’s Barry Fiske tells us that right now is the right time to start playing with the possibilities of how it could change your customers’ lives.
FOMO. That’s what’s going on with leaders around the world right now. They all remember the day they chose not to buy Apple stock (right when Steve Jobs returned). Or the many times they missed the early signs of Google, Netflix, or Airbnb’s meteoric rise. And now they’re worried it’s happening all over again – this time with the metaverse.
My gosh – what’s our metaverse strategy? We need a metaverse strategy!
Well, here’s my message to the C-Suite. Breathe. You’re not too late. In fact, you’re right on time.
Are we in the metaverse?
Well, yes and no. Without getting too technical, think of the metaverse, for now, as a future-state vision. It’s a belief that the web is evolving into a single, connected global community that’s more experiential, more immersive, and more decentralized.
This version of the Metaverse doesn’t exist just yet. It’s coming, but today we have a bunch of super-hyped but disconnected digital worlds that seem more like games and playgrounds than what I believe the metaverse will eventually become.
But that’s ok, because playgrounds are where you play. And play is the perfect way for people and brands to try new things, experiment, and learn. This is the moment to let our collective minds (and virtual bodies) wander as we begin to identify the real value the metaverse can deliver for your customers (and your brand).
How to play in the metaverse
The secret to succeeding in this new digital world is to treat it just like the physical world. Start every exploration and play-session with a problem. Ask yourself, what’s the problem that most needs solving for my customers or for my business? When you look at the metaverse through the eyes of a real person with real problems, you’ll see possibilities to do things for customers you’ve never been able to do before.
Maybe you’ll see ways to help students understand ancient Egyptian civilization by letting them wander through virtual versions of the pyramids. Or for doctors to explain surgery to a patient by giving them a guided tour through the ventricles of their own heart.
The point is, ideas and experiments will be based on delivering real value to people through the unique capabilities of the immersive web, and not – like many metaverse concepts today – just technical solutions in search of a reason to exist.
Here's your metaverse strategy in 4 simple steps.
1. Start with play
Get in there and run around. Try everything. Look at everything. Act like a kid exploring a new set of playground equipment. The first step to understanding this new world is to get in there and have fun.
2. Think about your customer
How can you help them? What service could be better? What new experience could make their lives easier? Settle on a problem to solve. And on a hypothesis of how to solve it, along with the KPIs you will use to measure success.
3. Prototype, test, & learn
Deploy small, fast, self-directed design teams to experiment and build out possible solutions to your problem. Test them with customers and try to prove your hypothesis. Most importantly – go fast. No team is always right. So it’s always better to be wrong quickly. That way you can move to the next experiment without wasting any more time.
4. Have a playdate
Identify and work with partners who are also experimenting in the space. Build on each other’s ideas and see where the adventure takes you. You’re not alone in this. Everyone is trying to find their way in this crazy new virtual world – and the adventure is often more rewarding together.
Following our own advice
At Merkle, we’re hard at work playing in the metaverse. We’re thinking through common customer problems, building out prototypes, and testing our ideas with real customers and collaboration partners. In fact, we’re proud to announce that our team (along with our metaverse partner HeadOffice.Space) are premiering several of our early virtual concepts at SXSW in Austin.
Will these ideas rock the industry and become the game-changers that Apple, Netflix, and many others have been over the years? Only time will tell.