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Explain it like I’m 5: What is the metaverse, and should healthcare marketers care about it?

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Mark Zuckerberg named his company Meta, but he doesn’t own the metaverse. What is the metaverse? At its core, it is a shift in mindset. Do you remember life before internet? Before having a smartphone in your hand? It’s hard, because those things are so ingrained in our lives now. 

Well, the metaverse is the next huge thing that is going to change, if not our lives, than the lives of Gen Z and later. As a Boomer, Gen Xer, or Millennial, it’s your choice whether or not you want to become involved. But know this: we are at the beginning of a huge shift in mindset, where people want to live even more of their lives online. The COVID pandemic put gas on the fire. The metaverse provided a way for people to connect with each other and have more meaningful experiences and interactions online when the real world around them was closed.  

What does it mean to be in the metaverse?

Don’t worry; you’re not behind if you don’t know what it is yet. I heard Eric Sui of Single Grain say that right now, “it’s 3 year olds teaching 2 year olds.” 

Being in the metaverse essentially means you are having an immersive experience online. You’re connecting with other people in a world that exists online. Have you heard of Second Life, Roblox, or World of Warcraft? If so, you kind of understand what the metaverse is. It’s being part of an engaging, online world.    

Do I need a headset?

No, not necessarily. VR headsets can help you access some of the worlds in the metaverse, but you do not need one to access many areas in the metaverse. You could just use your smartphone or PC for many things. 

What is the culture of the metaverse? 

Since Gen Z is largely in charge, you’ll see many hallmarks of the generation embodied by the metaverse.

It has to driven by community. 

It has to be authentic. 

It has to be fun and interesting. 

It has to embrace and allow for diversity (including gender fluidity).

Can I make my own experience online, as a brand? 

Yes! It can be quite involved, but there are platforms on which you can host an event within the metaverse. If you’re interested and you’re in the healthcare space, Chuck Webster is one of the strongest proponents for existing in the 3D virtual world. He would be a great person to follow and learn more. 

Should I, as a healthcare marketer, even worry about being involved in the metaverse at this point?

In our opinion, it’s worth keeping tabs on. It would be like signing up for a Facebook page when the site first launched. Unless you’re working for a behemoth with a large marketing budget and a brand that is bent on being perceived as innovative, you’re probably not going to be planning your own activity in the metaverse in the near future. However, there is so much potential in the space. The wave has started; it’s time to start thinking about learning to surf. 


Beth Cooper

Named Marketing Person of the Year by Health IT Marketing Community (2021) and Women Power Players to Watch (2022) by Becker's Hospital Review, Beth Cooper, JD / MBA is the VP of Marketing and Sales of a multi-award winning top 10 Healthcare Marketing Agency. Over her accomplished career spanning two decades, Cooper has been the driving force behind numerous groundbreaking strategies, transforming businesses into market leaders and propelling their growth trajectories to uncharted heights. She is a strong advocate for the marriage of creative innovation with data-driven insights and leverages cutting-edge tools and methodologies to ensure the successful execution of global, paradigm-shifting omnichannel campaigns.


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