As soon as Mark Zuckerberg renamed his Facebook empire Meta, we all knew instinctively that the Metaverse was going to become part of our lives. Expansion is now forecasted at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 48%.

As is the case with all new technologies, critics rush to offer the best tips for exploiting what they laud as almost unlimited potential and value – yet this advice often comes from a predominantly consumer perspective and less from an inauthentic B2B sales perspective.

The metaverse is undoubtedly the focus of intense interest and speculation from businesses of all size, so B2B businesses need to better understand how to harness the power of digital event spaces and communications to drive growth.

For this week’s IBA blog we take a look at the metaverse from an impartial PR perspective, and offer our top tips for building the metaverse into your B2B marketing and communications strategy.

  1. The metaverse is experiential, lean into it with virtual events

In post-pandemic society, 86% of buyers are willing to pay premium prices for experiential-led services. So it stands to reason that it is critical to analyze how B2B businesses can exploit the new metaverse to drive growth. IBA’s own Virtual Event Guide explores the value of virtual events, how production value and experience is everything, and how to act responsively to on-demand access requests – values that will become increasingly important in a bustling metaverse with a shrinking journalist pool and an economical new world of business travel.

Augmented Reality provides opportunity to situate speakers in animated reproductions of pop culture, familiar locations, relevant vertical market locations where your company may excel, and even visually enhanced company headquarters – as highlighted by Disney’s Investor Day stream and Apple’s product unveilings. For B2B businesses with limited resources, such success can be emulated by investing time and resources in content creators to produce cutting-edge, video streamed events.

Creating a buzz around your events and delivering on planning, promotional and practical goals is just as, if not more critical, in the virtual world.

  1. Make the switch to metaverse-appropriate tech and be ready for its proliferation

During the pandemic, spaces for virtual video conferencing facilities rapidly increased due to the necessity for businesses to continue operations despite physical distance from ‘traditional’ workplaces – handing software providers massive growth opportunities. Witness Zoom. While its remarkable expansion from 10 million (December 2019) to over 300 million users (April 2020) resulted from extraordinary circumstances, they provide a demonstrable case of proactively innovating into a position of market leadership via technology that meets demand, and targeting of pain-points at the earliest possible stage.

Existing technologies including VR headsets and AR marketplace software may appear an unwise investment to some business leaders given the current climate, but with tentative and careful purchases, businesses can diversify their digital offerings to be ready for metaverse services – just as Zoom found itself in the driving seat for a global pandemic.

Behind every seeming act of opportunism, are carefully planned systems and strategies – and as the metaverse rapidly expands, it could be the next cause for ‘FOMO’ among business leaders.

  1. Connect with often hard-to-reach key B2B decision makers through Augmented Reality

The emerging generation of highly skilled tech professionals, who typically grew up surrounded by digital service access and are progressing into digital-first roles such as data science or IT consultancy, feel immensely comfortable with VR environments. Recent research from Zen Internet revealed that 18% of British 16-24 year olds are already making friends in the metaverse – but we don’t quite recommend business development executives or salespeople logging on for a game of Minecraft with their prospective buyers just yet!

Instead, mobilize your business outreach teams to explore the metaverse and seek connections in a similar fashion to how they would use LinkedIn and other professional social networks. Cracking these individuals and establishing effective, personal-professional relationships at the earliest possible stage.

  1. Beware the avatar!

Personality-masking devices within the metaverse such as avatars and voice manipulation will become commonplace, so training your external communications teams in professional vocal and written communications is critical. The demise of non-verbal gestures could also bring challenges with disassociated employees. Remember – never underestimate the importance of in-person contact and face-to-face conversation!

From bolstering your virtual experiential offering to proactively switching to metaverse integrated tech solutions or using the metaverse as an extension of existing social channels, the metaverse has immense potential to transform communications networks and PR & marketing strategies.

Don’t underestimate the importance of adapting your B2B business for rapid growth and buyer satisfaction in the digital age!

Tom Wrath is a PR Executive at IBA International.

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