Is the metaverse really going to grow and sustain our virtual worlds?

Is your business ready to sustain its place amid the myriad of digital transformation? Chloe Blatch takes a look at some trends set to impact our physical and virtual worlds over the next year

There are many marketing trends and ideas pinging around our screens. Whether they involve the introduction of the metaverse, digital transformation platforms, chatbots or automation workflows, being able to understand how these trends could be intertwined into your business could be the backbone of your marketing infrastructure in 2022.

In this article we’re going to explore the trends we are seeing as a digital marketing agency and how you could use these to boost your firm’s growth to the next level!

Metaverse: hype or an unknown reality?

‘What is the metaverse?’ and ‘How can I get the metaverse into my marketing strategy?’ are two key questions our clients have been asking us so far this year. A lot of people will underestimate the ongoing growth of this digital world. However, with the likes of banks, crypto firms, and the property sector moving into the space it looks as though this trend could be more significant than many would have first expected. Just recently, a global investment bank became the first to break cover and invest in the metaverse, it is likely that many more will follow soon.

They are the first bank to open a lounge in Decentraland (a virtual world in the metaverse). Although they have taken the leap, it is rumored that they still believe the metaverse has a way to go, including improvements on user experience and commercial infrastructure.

So, what are the benefits of the metaverse for B2B businesses?

As the world has accelerated its pace of adoption online, due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the metaverse is seen as an opportunity to grow your business globally. You can set up virtual meeting rooms and offices and reach out to global firms through networking rooms and chats. You can now step away from the Teams call and ‘walk’ into your office to ‘meet’ with an international client, ‘face to face’.

You can even create your own virtual avatar. It’s like a bitmoji, just 10 times more life-like. The possibilities are becoming endless! If your business has been waiting to break into international markets, perhaps now is the time to do it through the metaverse! It may be an initial leap of faith but the fact that you potentially buy and rent property in the metaverse shows that this market is pending take off.

Perhaps the virtual meeting room isn’t quite cutting it for you? Then look no further than virtual marketing and advertising in the metaverse. According to Forbes, a major shoe retailer has seen 48 million visitors attend their online park already. But what is the cost of such traffic? Right now, it’s not entirely known what the average price for advertising in the metaverse is. So, if you’re willing to go ahead with an unknown budget, you’ll be in the same environment as some of the most prestigious luxury retailers in the world, you might even be sat in their metaverse garden. Advertising in the metaverse isn’t just sticking an ad on a virtual billboard.

You have to think outside the box in order to achieve success. A high-end luxury fashion brand created a fantastic example of how brands can engage with their customers in the metaverse, they enabled users to collect limited fashion items in their virtual garden. Therefore, if your marketing team has a ‘wacky’ idea that can’t be pursued in the real world, why not head to the metaverse and spend your marketing budget the right way?!

Although there are many benefits, it is true to say that we don’t fully know the extent to the metaverse as of yet. And it seems many businesses are reluctant to spend their budget on the metaverse as they aren’t fully clued up on its ROI and engagement with leads – perhaps even its longevity. So, do you think it could be your firm’s next big lead generation tool? Or is it just a place to virtually enjoy life from the comfort of your own home?

Chatbot developments making moves in 2022

Website chatbots were just the beginning of the 2021 trend to engage with customers on your site, leading to reduced call times, higher turnover of leads and increased website engagement rates. 2022 wants to know what’s next for this development on the digital scene.

With many low code chatbot tools widely available, we are seeing more and more dive into live chat and automation flows to accelerate their marketing performance. Take our low code chatbot tool as an example, when we first started building chatbots in late 2019, we could simply push leads through into an email address. Now, there are endless app connections and integrations that make the chatbot automation process so seamless. If you name your CRM, it is likely that this low code provider will support it.

Although predictions can be made on what’s next for website chatbots, we cannot be 100% sure about their future. We can however provide and understand the benefits of the tool and even in their format how they can improve businesses’ sales funnels. Let’s match up chatbots and automation…

Automation: what’s next for firms?

Having seen many clients looking into the automation space as a place for development in 2022, it is certainly where growth is developing this year.

With time now of the essence more than ever, most marketing and sales teams are considering automation as a ‘go to’ solution. In a society where robotics can now complete tasks within minutes that a human may take hours to perform, automation could be considered a pathway to the future. Gartner has made its predictions for automation development in 2022, which includes hyper-automation growth. They have said that by 2024, organisations with IT teams that understand the needs of customers will outperform other organisations’ customer experience metrics by 20%. If your firm is understanding of customer experience, automation could be the boost you need to compete with your competitors in this area.

As well as customer engagement and satisfaction, automation tools can be used to streamline your business’s internal processes too. Including the automation of pushing sales leads into your sales team and employee engagement and satisfaction solutions. Automation tools can push data to where your business needs it, whether that be via your CRM or simply to an email inbox to notify your sales team of a lead call back. The opportunities are endless.

Has your business considered using an automation tool to streamline its processes?

Is your business ready to sustain its place in digital environments?

As a B2B digital agency, we are also already looking at innovative ways to grow our business into the metaverse.

The metaverse is working well for some B2C businesses already. But what are the benefits for B2B providers? It appears that in general the questions and answers being asked by B2B firms are yet to be fully resolved, and there is the need for some more clarity required to consider how these technologies, especially the metaverse, can be a real investment for B2B companies today. Perhaps the greatest risk is that unless your business can use real imagination, capital, and tech resources to kick-start a project like this, you might not be 100% convinced it will all catch on, especially after surviving a pandemic. That said if it does and your competitors have already started their investment into the tech, does that put your firm at a significant disadvantage from the get-go?

Only time will tell with these new digital environments. But the question is: Is your business ready to sustain its place in digital transformation?

Chloe Blatch, is Senior Digital Marketing and Account Executive at ThinkEngine.

Chloe manages ThinkEngine’s core digital marketing and technology client accounts specialising in the financial services, property and tech sectors. ThinkEngines’ innovation-focused outlook has accelerated the marketing performance for its global clients and the tech ecosystem of partners associated with the business. Chloe leads the strategic partnerships for ThinkEngine and has daily exposure to the emerging marketing technologies of the future.

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