Business development in the metaverse

The Metaverse, a 3D interactive internet, led by gamers and decentralized communities. The internet of life instead of the internet of things. In everything and anything we can imagine. Everything we do will be inside the metaverse.

It’s projected to be the next web & social networking platform not just for gamers, but enterprise-wide. Our avatars begin roaming around in a digital universe of our choosing. And we can casually hang out with friends and colleagues as if we are physically there. A future where our physical lives and our digital lives converges.

Interest in the metaverse peaked earlier this month with Microsoft purchasing Activision ( $69bn) and stating Metaverse as the primary reason for the purchase — the number of searches for the word increased more than tenfold from 2020 to 2021, according to Google Analytics. Media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post and the Guardian have all published extensive articles probing its implications. Companies from Epic Games to Microsoft to Facebook and SK Telecom have publicly announced plans to build metaverse worlds. Burberry, Coca-Cola, and Visa are just a few of many brands racing to be part of it.

Big Tech leaders are rushing to claim the metaverse as their own. Last October Facebook rebranded to Meta, and Mark Zuckerberg famously announced its future lies in becoming a metaverse company, thereby explicitly hinting at the impending revolution. 

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in August 2021 that Microsoft is working on building the “enterprise metaverse" and its $69 billion acquisition of Activision is the proof of the pudding.

Microsoft has also created its ‘Enterprise Metaverse‘ with Mesh, a collaborative, cloud-based meeting application that can digitally teleport a person to a remote location for highly interactive virtual experiences.

BMW, a German multinational luxury automobile maker, has partnered with Nvidia to build a virtual factory as a digital twin – a virtual representation of a physical asset, system, or process – using Omniverse, Nvidia’s metaverse platform. 

Virtual and physical realities are becoming superimposed—bringing augmented and digitally- influenced elements into the physical world and making the digital realm hyper-realistic.

  • The global augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) market is forecast to reach 30.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, rising to close to 300 billion U.S. dollars by 2024 and $ 1.5 trillion by 2030.
  • Bloomberg Intelligence: Metaverse may be a $800 billion market, next to a tech platform.
  • Morgan Stanley: The metaverse is a US$8 trillion addressable market that is likely to become the “next-generation social networking platform".
  • Green Technology and Sustainability Market to Hit USD 36.4 Billion, at a CAGR Of 21.04% by 2026 - Market Research Future (MRFR)

Business in the metaverse is already booming—opening up an abundance of opportunities for entrepreneurs, brands, advertisers, retailers and employers.

However, this convergence of physical and digital presents a new set of challenges for businesses, wanting to take advantage of this hype.

At present businesses who want to participate in the metaverse economy need jump hoops going through multiple agencies and vendors to first understand 

  1. “ What is Metaverse?” and
  2. Then “ How they can be in the Metaverse ”

Digitizing their products and collections, brokering relationships with the digital world, and ensuring files are converted to match the right specs. A tedious, time consuming, and expensive process that's not scalable in isn't current form,  leave alone how to market, monetize or leverage valuable data to connect with ‘Gen Z’ customers.  

For enterprises, the challenge is further complicated due to involvement of multiple stakeholders (marketing, sales & CX). Would "Metaverse"  be the catalyst to amalgamate - marketing, sales and CX into a single function - as predicted by Gartner, back in December 2020, and now rolled back  - as premature, or will give rise to something new, time will tell. 

Further, the challenges for enterprise sales & business development teams are many, starting with a handful listed below:

  1. How will SDRs connect, communicate and socialize with target audiences in metaverse, beside games arenas and discord communities? 
  2. Do they piggyback virtual assistants/avatars/holograms? 
  3. And if they do, then who will own the customer relationships - virtual assistants/avatars/holograms? A traditional ‘comfort zones’ turn into ‘danger zones’ for most of the enterprises all over the globe.
  4. Will these connections happen in private walled gardens or open communities? 
  5. How will organization create virtual spaces to interact with their customers, invite them for private viewing and leverage data from such events.
  6. Will AI (artificial intelligence) and data science metrics determine the rate of productivity and profits? 
At present only a handful of AFL (apparel, fashion and luxury) brands including Gap, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hifiger, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Nike, and Gucci  and few other businesses are experimenting with virtual items. However soon enough most businesses will have to prepare for the coming of Web 3.0 and how to saddle up this new trend of business.