Second Life will probably never be widely adopted but as a niche media, it offers a lot of interesting marketing applications. Although Second Life is very unproven and difficult to measure in terms of ROI, residents of the virtual world have an unmatched level of brand interaction.
I recently had the chance to listen to Catherine Smith, the VP of marketing and PR for Second Life at the Market Smart conference in Seattle. I was shocked to learn that the average Second Life user spends 56 hours a month logged in. One of the attractions appears to be the opportunity to make money. Over 56,930 residents have been profitable in Second Life.
She gave us the following guidelines on successful marketing in Second Life.
The More Interactive the Better.
One of the best benefits of marketing in second life is that it is highly interactive. If you make your marketing interactive it will encourage people to spend time with your brand.
Extend Your Brand Without Diluting It
One of the biggest mistakes Catherine sees marketers make is trying to create a replica of a real world store and just expecting people to go there. Successful promotions add value in some way, like Marvel offering Iron Man costumes for free.
Know Who You’re Marketing To
“There’s nothing sadder than an empty island” said Smith. There have been several companies that have tried to create a Second Life presence with out first understanding the consumer. This often results in an empty island.
Some interesting applications in Second Life are using the streaming capability to show video clips in a virtual theatre. You can set up a exclusive place in Second Life where you can conduct virtual meetings and teleconference. You can conduct market research with new products by observing behavior and collecting feedback. You can sponsor Second Life concerts and give a class in one of the lecture halls.
Image by Yeray Hernández