The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek have all lauded the wonders of Second Life. They write of the burgeoning traffic and "real world" money that can be made in Second Life, a 3D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. While the world of Second Life is the most talked about 3D virtual world at this juncture, it is important to note that there are many companies entering this space (including Google), and it is important for cutting edge marketers to focus on the 3D web as a concept.
Readers of this article have probably focused more on the media fanfare surrounding the migration of established, traditional advertising agencies into the virtual world (e.g., BBH, Leo Burnett) or the creation of new marketing agencies (e.g., Crayon) in Second Life.
The jury is still out as to whether or not these agencies will find success in this virtual-reality world, often referred to as the metaverse. As a close follower, fan and resident of Second Life (in-world you can refer to me as Mockben Hegel), I feel that some of these agencies endeavors will find great success in Second Life, while others will wither and fade away.
As with all emerging platforms, it takes time to understand and quantify the value proposition inherent and unique to that platform. Unfortunately, due diligence and deep pockets alone will not result in an effective Second Life initiative. Forward-thinking marketers are more likely to realize the true potential of Second Life (and the 3D virtual web space at large) and leverage it to add value to their brand(s). A definitive formula for a successful Second Life campaign has not yet been defined, or even fully exemplified. However, many marketers are already planting the seeds for winning initiatives.
This article presents an early roadmap to marketing for Second Life success (as learned in-world by Mockben Hegel) and how various brands are currently following it, or straying from the path.
Author notes: Adam Broitman is director of emerging and creative strategy at Morpheus Media. .