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    Blockchain, metaverse continue to command CMO interest despite snags

    • Just 10% of surveyed marketers believe the metaverse is irrelevant to their industry, a figure that represents continued optimism about the future-facing technology, according to Deloitte’s 2023 Global Marketing Trends report.  
    • Still, nearly half (45%) of respondents viewed development and implementation as a challenge. Marketers are also taking varied approaches to the metaverse, with some jumping onto existing platforms and others investing in proprietary ones.  
    • Blockchain was another area of focus, with 41% of marketers planning to use the technology to support their advertising strategies in 2023. Among CMOs who are prioritizing addressing the regulatory environment, 35% already have blockchain tools in place compared to 21% of broader respondents.

    Deloitte’s latest marketing trends report indicates CMOs will continue to gravitate toward nascent technology in the months ahead. These experiments come as the industry grapples with changing consumer expectations coming out of the pandemic and mandates from lawmakers that make wielding troves of personal data a thornier prospect than it once was. The consultancy’s surveys were conducted last June, while interviews were done between July and September. 

    Blockchain presents “new possibilities for strengthening consumer privacy and allowing consumers to control their own data,” according to Deloitte. That’s been the promise effectively since blockchain first emerged in marketing discussions several years ago, but a stricter regulatory landscape and greater familiarity with the ins and outs of immutable ledger offerings may lend some newfound credibility in 2023. 

    Use cases can also be specific to certain categories. H. Moser and Cie., a high-end watchmaker interviewed by Deloitte, is applying blockchain to track and authenticate its products over time, including after they are sold secondhand — an increasingly important market for luxury goods. Consumer brands, like Unilever, are investing to put more transparency and traceability into their supply chain.

    Deloitte noted that marketers may want to keep an “eye on digital currency leaders” as they think through their approaches to blockchain. Who those leaders are could be less clear following the spectacular implosion of FTX in the fall, which has set off a broader chill the crypto space is struggling to recover from. 

    Similarly, metaverse skepticism is on the rise. Meta Platforms, a leading champion of the concept, has been pressed by investors about the steep upfront costs and weak consumer demand. Watchdog groups have also raised concerns about the channel’s use as a stealth vehicle to market to children. Many brands value the metaverse as a tool to reach groups like Gen Z and Gen Alpha who are averse to traditional advertisements but familiar with online gaming.

    Deloitte’s findings indicate most marketers believe the metaverse will still be relevant to their business, with weakest interest shown in verticals like life sciences and healthcare. Brands have certainly stayed busy on platforms like Roblox and Fortnite so far in 2023. Earlier this week, Oreo launched an “Oreoverse” on Meta’s Horizon Worlds with help from celebrity spokesperson Martha Stewart. 

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