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Showing Up in the Metaverse (or Selling a Branded NFT) Isn't Headline Worthy Anymore


Morgan Pomish, VP, connections strategy, innovation and emerging technology specialist at Digitas on why now is a great time to reflect on why the slowing interest can be beneficial

Showing Up in the Metaverse (or Selling a Branded NFT) Isn't Headline Worthy Anymore

For the last few years, the metaverse and NFTs have permeated the cultural zeitgeist, catalysing grand visions of capturing hearts, headlines (and money). While some marketers have made these visions a reality, expectations have begun to wane as the realities around consumer adoption and valuable marketing applications become more apparent. The last several weeks have been dominated with doom and gloom headlines around metaverse layoffs from big names like Disney and Amazon, but with NFT.NYC in the rear view, now is a great time to reflect on why the slowing interest can be beneficial and what insight we can gleam from what's happening in the market.

Why the Fizzle Is Actually a Good Thing

Emerging technology is intoxicating, but all that excitement and potential can cloud judgment. As the buzz begins to fade, it forces marketers to think past the FOMO, put down their glass of metaphorical 'kool-aid,' and make a more clear-headed assessment of what emerging technology can offer. 

The issue lies in the tendency to overlook the crucial first chapter of marketing -understanding the underlying business or consumer issue that needs to be resolved- and instead jumps straight to promoting technology as the ultimate solution. Why bother analysing and addressing a problem when we can just throw some shiny new technology at it? 

The 'technology first' mindset seldom considers how the average user perceives or interacts with the technology and prioritizes marketing applications over all else. The not-so-distant past is littered with 'next big things' that marketers believed would revolutionize the market - think Google Glass and iBeacons. However, reality has shown the ultimate fate of these innovations: failure, or at best a re-brand for an entirely different application than was originally popularized (as we’ve already begun to see with NFTs- but more on that later).

Beyond the Hype

When the hype inevitably fades and the next big thing comes along, we're left with the same old marketing fundamentals that we seem to toss aside every time a new and exciting gadget catches our eye. It's like they say, old habits die hard (even in the age of the latest and greatest). So, what’s left to do? Go back to the basics. Build a good old-fashioned brief that answers a few basic questions like:  

1. What business problem are you trying to solve?

2. What is the consumer's goal and what is the barrier to achieving it? 

3. What role should this brand play in consumer’s lives?

Knowing the answers will set the stage with the right context to unlock an insight, ultimately revealing whether technology X is, in fact, the right solution or whether we need to steer away from the shiny object in favour of (dare I say) something more traditional.

What's Next

The truth of what’s next exists somewhere between the sensationalist headlines of, 'NFTs are dead' and 'NFTs will change the world as we know it.' While we don’t anticipate NFTs (or the metaverse or Generative AI) are going away anytime soon, we can expect their utility to evolve. NFTs, for example, will continue to regroup under the guise of utility vs. collectability, speculation, and investment. Starbucks is leading the way, already leaning into tokens as keys to experiences vs. things themselves.

A Way Forward

Exploring emerging technologies should be considered an important component when building a modern marketing strategy. By incorporating innovative technologies, brands can distinguish themselves from competitors, gain insights into consumer preferences, and create one-of-a-kind experiences that reach new audiences. However, to maximise the benefits of these cutting-edge technologies, it's essential to understand the underlying business or consumer problems, as well as the goals and obstacles of consumers. This approach helps prevent succumbing to the allure of 'shiny object syndrome' and ensures that ideas have a great chance of success. As the saying goes, "To predict the future, the best course of action is to create it."

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Digitas USA, Thu, 27 Apr 2023 08:57:59 GMT