The metaverse is not a story of “nobody believes in it and against all odds it will win.” To the contrary, it’s a story of “everyone believes in it but nobody knows why.” Overall the investment in the Metaverse has been concentrated around gaming and entertainment. But the Metaverse will be much bigger than just those verticals. It’s the evolution of the Internet. Everyone will be grabbing a piece of the Metaverse.
If you own or work at a creative agency, consultancy, or services company of some sort, I want to answer for you how (not why) you should be thinking about getting involved in the Metaverse.
The “why” is easy. It’s a greenfield market where not a single company in your shoes has paved the way forward.
The “how” is a little bit trickier.
The Metaverse Rise
The gut reaction is to figure out how to make money right away. But the ecosystem isn’t quite there yet. Right now, the best thing an agency can do is parallel the rise of the Metaverse.
Act 1 – Build the Metaverse
The Metaverse is like an entirely new dimension of reality. Nobody knows exactly what can be done in this new dimension. But the people who are testing the boundaries are the ones that’ll land on greatness.
Even if you don’t have the internal capacity to develop experiences for the Metaverse, there are countless development shops that will collaborate (at reasonable prices), especially if you’re full of ideas and want to test new boundaries.
The window where you can leisurely invest in R&D for the Metaverse is closing. Now is the time where you can have fun building ideas in the Metaverse.
Act 2 – Capitalize the Metaverse
After a bit of testing and a few different angles, determine where the Metaverse fits in your strategy. Is it a sales mechanism? Lead enrichment? Marketing tactic? New business arm? Stream of ancillary revenue?
If you’ve spent a considerable amount of resources building your Metaverse experiences and developing business strategies, then it behooves you to now spread the gospel of the Metaverse. Become an evangelist of this new dimension and the unique angle you’ve taken.
Act 3 – Innovate the Metaverse
At this point, there are countless copycats and competition. It’s on you to stand out and elevate the metaverse experience for your industry. Eventually, you’ll need to think about moats. This moment is quite a ways off but should always be kept in mind, especially during Acts 1 and 2.
Been Here Before
When you look back to the rise of the consumer Internet companies of all kinds were advised to grab their real estate. Don’t worry about anything else, the real estate alone is valuable. Of course, you know the story from there.
The rise of the Mobile Era was a little bit different. People were advised, once again, to grab their real estate in the form of apps. But there was a much greater emphasis on “how does this fit our organization?” Some apps made money while others elevated the customer experience.
One of the greatest moves in Mobile Era, in my opinion, was Kleiner Perkins starting their iFund shortly after Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone in 2008. It was a $100 million fund for “market-changing ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch platform”. Their swift action paid off greatly.
The urgency to get ahead of the Metaverse is not quite as obvious as the Internet or mobile revolutions.
There’s no cookie-cutter metaverse app like there was a cookie cutter mobile app and website. There isn’t a single metaverse experience we can look at and say, “Wow, we need to be doing that.”
This is why Act 1 is to build the metaverse. We’re in the testing phase. Finding out what does and doesn’t work. You may want to sit back and let others test until the model is figured out. But then you’ll be the copycat with no experience or frame of reference. The ones who win, in the end, got their losses out of the way early.
What About Now?
My advice is to not focus on selling right now. The Metaverse is an R&D experiment. Find ways that the Metaverse can be used as a flashy feature at your company. Maybe you find a way to showcase some of your client work or case studies via a VR application.
I think one of the easiest ways to get involved in building the Metaverse is through the Insta360 ONE X. It’s a 360º video camera that captures a fully-immersive moment and does all the work of creating a seamless experience. This has been popular for virtual real estate tours, travel bloggers, and action videographers. But I’d like to see more companies use this to create internal content and test the waters with marketing through it.
Be a Metaverse content creator. It’s a simple entry point that will get you familiar with this territory.
I’m a big fan of Ascape’s approach a VR-first travel agency. They’re creating the virtual counterpart to physical excursions. However, they are tapping into external 360º video creators to outsource the VR content production – paying them for what they’ve already created. In that sense, they are fulfilling many sides of this marketplace for travel.
When I was back at Redox, every time we had a meeting that seemed to be going nowhere, I’d get up and say, “You realize that this is a $2,000 meeting?”
That was a 15-person meeting for 1-hour.
Seriously, you should cancel a meeting right now that isn’t going to bring that $2,000 back into your company, and use that money to buy an Insta360 ONE X and an Oculus Quest.
It could be a move worth tens of thousands or even millions of dollars to your company in the long run.