Attention is the key currency in today’s world. The world of digital lets brands literally track every eyeball movement for a person who is using the website or the app. And yet, no business measures and incentivises attention. While many offer rewards for transactions, the triad of attention-action-engagement that precedes a transaction is largely ignored. As such, all that brands are left with is looking at spends and running loyalty programs to offer points. Imagine if attention could be rewarded – with the prize being an entry into the metaverse for unique, differentiated experiences. I call the attention currency as Mu (µ), and the metaverse, appropriately enough, as the µniverse. Let’s play out this vision.
In the pre-digital world, transactions were the only element of the consumer lifecycle that could be tracked. That’s how loyalty programs emerged – to collect data at an individual level and thus get better insights into customer behaviour. In the digital world, this has continued. But when interaction is via a keyboard, mouse, or touch, it now becomes possible to track everything upstream of the transaction: attention, action and engagement. The more time someone spends on Site/App A means that the time is not being spent on Site/App B – attention is a zero-sum game. Since attention can now be tracked right from opens and clicks on emails to actions taken on SMSes and push notifications, it now becomes possible to create a rewards program for attention. This is the idea behind Mu. [See: Imagining Mus: An Attention-Action Currency.] Mu is the first building block for the µniverse.
Push messages are today sent to inboxes that end customers have: Gmail, SMS, or increasingly, WhatsApp. In the Gmail inbox, Google’s algorithms decide which folder the emails land in. Incoming marketing emails also have to compete with various personal emails. Just like P2P messaging has largely moved from the SMS inbox to WhatsApp, there is a need for a new inbox – the micronbox – dedicated for marketing emails. [See: Micronbox: A New Inbox.] The micronbox, our second building block, is a repository of microns – brand push messages with reward (Mu). Since all messages in this are only based on customer opt-in, this is a spam-free repository. At the most basic level, it can do for emails what Microsoft’s SMS Organizer does for SMSes. Over time, the micronbox can evolve from an inbox into an app, a portal to the µniverse.
The µniverse is the third and most ambitious building block for the metaverse. It is where brands and customers can have intimate experiences, where customers can participate in communities, where communities can drive co-creation with brand managers. The µniverse is an exclusive space – reserved for a brand’s Best Customers, accessed via attention as measured by Mu or based on customer lifetime value as determined by the brand. It is thus the ultimate Velvet Rope Marketing prize. [See: Best Customers and Velvet Rope Marketing.]