‘Virtual Worlds’ Marketing —Sherburne
LAST MONTH, I suggested taking a look at 3D to see what it could add to your business and the quality of your customer experience. Since then, I had the opportunity to speak with Brian Regan, president of staffing firm Semper International LLC, who added a new dimension to the 3D discussion for me. . .Virtual Worlds.
I admit it. I had no idea what he was talking about when we started the discussion. But, by the time we were through, I was beginning to see a vision of a future that could be extremely important to our industry.
First, what are Virtual Worlds? You may have read about Second Life (www.SecondLife.com), since it’s probably the largest. Another would be There.com. Regan points out that, in its current iteration, the Web is a 2D world. Virtual Worlds are 3D and are much more interactive and experiential than the Web as we know it today. These are social networking sites, like the next generation of Facebook or something. But there is a lot of business activity going on there, as well. There are even some printers already there, and PIA/GATF has set up a Second Life location to begin experimenting with what this might mean for the printing industry.
Big Firms Lead the Way
Companies that are actively involved in Second Life include some very big names: Coca Cola, 20th Century Fox, Verizon, Toyota, Pontiac, NBC, IBM, Cisco and Fidelity, to name a few. And they invested about $1 billion in virtual worlds during 2006.
There seem to be two primary reasons companies are getting engaged. First, for advertisers and the major consumer brands, they see the writing on the wall in terms of a migration away from traditional means of advertising, as the so-called “digital natives” reach adulthood and increase their buying power. They realize that less and less time will be spent with television, radio, newspapers and magazines, and more time will be spent in online activities, whatever those morph into. And they want to be there in a way that matters.