The digital world is in a state of profound change that is both overhyped and underappreciated. Many enabling technologies are not well understood by marketing leaders, leading to mixed responses to these emerging capabilities. Is it time to step in and redeploy marketing resources? Or should I wait while others learn lessons the hard way? Let’s explore the fundamentals of these five technologies and assess how prime-time ready they are.
Internet 3.0 – The third evolution of the World Wide Web is underway. Proponents promise a more democratized approach to this new generation of the web, but its evolution is more organic and less standards-based. This leaves many people wondering, “What is Web 3.0?” There is no definitive answer, but one will evolve over time based on the underlying technologies that enhance Web 2. Blockchain capabilities will improve the security and authentication of digital assets promising ownership individual of their identity, information and assets paving the way for cryptocurrency, decentralized. finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFT). Improvements in 3D graphics and bandwidth speeds will produce more immersive virtual environments. Combined with advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual/augmented/mixed reality capabilities, the foundation for the metaverse will be laid. Web 3 will also connect more digital devices than PCs and smartphones, including vehicles, home appliances, air conditioning systems, personal fitness equipment, building access systems and just about anything. which has a digital sensor. Finally, emerging Semantic Web technologies will make sense of web pages via machine-readable metadata, changing the efficiency of information searches on the web.
Metaverse – The metaverse generally refers to persistent virtual worlds, often accessible with virtual reality headsets or augmented reality glasses. Today, a person typically enters a virtual world as an avatar and can interact with other avatars or other digital items. Some examples of virtual worlds are found in gaming platforms such as
Roblox and Fortnight where participants can share experiences with friends. But separate virtual worlds are not the metaverse. Metaverse proponents promise new possibilities beyond gaming, including virtual spaces for brands to set up shop and interact 24/7 with AI-enabled bots that will be able to converse across multiple languages. And accessibility via smartphones and other devices for mixed reality experiences. Early marketing experiments in virtual worlds include offering branded clothing for avatars (Gucci, Prada, and Adidas), virtual restaurants (Wendy’s and Chipotle), and virtual locations (Playboy Mansion and Tony Hawk Skate Park). A few brands are even creating unique entertainment-themed places, like The Sandbox, to engage with digital-savvy consumers.
However, skeptics believe the metaverse is still too early for many marketers. Julie Ask, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, put it this way: “If press generation is your yardstick for success, these brands have done a good job. But if we’re just doing old things in new ways in the metaverse, this is going to be boring and uninspiring, and I don’t think we know what those things are yet.
Cryptocurrency – Blockchain technologies have enabled the development of cryptocurrency which can be used to buy digital assets or to pay sellers who accept crypto. Cryptocurrencies are linked to the level 1 blockchains on which they were “mined”. Bitcoin, Ethereum and Solana are the main blockchains, each having their respective currency. The value of currencies fluctuates with market conditions and can be bought or sold through exchanges such as Crypto.com, Coinbase, and Kracken. The dramatic rise and fall in the value of the currency, exacerbated by the behavior of less reputable players in an unregulated industry, has created reluctance for many companies to get involved. But with federal regulations likely to emerge, cross-chain operability issues likely to be resolved, and the simplicity of doing business with crypto, brands should start exploring their readiness to accept payments via crypto. .
NFT – The most popular form of NFT today is digital art. But to think of NFTs as digital art would be to think of Amazon as an online bookstore. Yes, digital artists make unique pieces to sell and brands create memorabilia and digital items in the form of NFTs. But Julie Mossler, CMO of Metaplex, the leading platform for creating NFTs on the Solana blockchain, describes NFTs this way. “Really at the heart of it, an NFT is just a contract. It’s an agreement that you make between buyer and seller or between a bunch of bits and bytes behind the scenes. Today today it is illustrated as art, but very soon we will see music and games As programmable and smart NFTs evolve, additional applications will also include identity management , digital tickets and loyalty and rewards cards.
Digital wallets – The term is somewhat misleading as digital wallets store more than just cryptocurrency. They also store digital assets such as NFTs and owners’ digital identities. This last application is particularly important for marketers. According to Brian Wallace, CMO of Vatom, a platform for creating brand experiences in the metaverse, brands should focus on their digital portfolio strategy. He thinks brands shouldn’t create proprietary wallets because consumers don’t want to have a wallet for every brand. Instead, they should focus on the scalable capabilities of smart NFTs to serve as loyalty and rewards cards. The NFT will link to the customer’s identity, providing a secure connection to digital or physical experiences. Activities can be tracked securely with permissions in the hands of the client instead of third parties such as Facebook or Google. Retailers, health clubs, restaurants and entertainment venues should explore the implications of digital wallets and smart NFTs as next-generation loyalty cards.
Conclusion – Web 3.0 will evolve over the next few years and bring new possibilities that CMOs should consider today. How will consumers and business buyers want to interact with your brand in the metaverse? What new value can you create for them in the metaverse beyond their current experiences? How will these expectations reshape your current website? When will your business adopt cryptocurrency as a method of payment? What does an NFT-based ID and loyalty card system mean for your current program? Are there other forms of digital assets that will boost your brand relevance? The next 18 months will be a period of experimentation. Are you ready to start your exploration?