A New World
The µniverse may sound like science fiction today, but it is waiting to be constructed. It is inhabited by our digital twin – much like we have personas in the games we play. There is one big difference; when we exit the game, the persona also exits. Instead imagine persistence, where the digital twin – constantly learning from our actions engaging with brands – stays on in the metaverse. The digital twin is constructed from our digital pheromones and AI-ML engines. The twin, undeterred by attention recession, can chat with brand bots, consume an infinite supply of marketing messages, and identify which of these merit our indulgence. Which book to buy next, which news story to read next, which movie to watch next – the digital twin helps us choose from the vast cornucopia of offerings. It can also spawn offspring in the form of software agents which can ferret out nuggets beyond what may be obvious to us.
The µniverse is the habitat of the digital twin. There can be a single twin created by each of us. What is perhaps more likely in the near-term is that there will be a digital twin created by every brand which lets them predict what we will do next. It is like playing Chess – a human can perhaps play a few other humans simultaneously but only a computer can play millions of humans at the same time. In the same vein, marketing managers can determine next actions for a limited number of cohorts of customers, but only in the µniverse can the next best actions of millions of customers be individually predicted and consequent actions be taken to nudge them along those journeys.
Constructing the µniverse will require new tools – just like making the first-generation of HTML websites needed site builders. These tools are likely to come from the world of gaming. For most customers of a brand, the regular website or the app is good enough – these are the 80% Rest Customers who account for 40% of revenue. But the 20% Best Customers who account for 60% revenue and perhaps more than 100% of profits need what they have not got so far – an exclusive experience that nudges them towards maximising their spend with the brand. This is where the ideas of the metaverse can come into play – with access restricted by either attention (Mu earned) or lifetime value. The experience of the µniverse becomes the next axis of differentiation – after price and convenience have been equalised.
The µniverse is the new world that beckons brands to a future where attention and profits matter more than new customer acquisition to show lossy growth. Just as human attention is finite, so is investor appetite for spending (aka paying Google and Facebook). The tide will turn, and profits once again will be in vogue. Just product, price and delivery equalisation will not be enough; marketers will need to bring in experience into the mix – especially for their most profitable customers. The time to take the steps to birthing the µniverse is now!