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Consumer’s Thoughts on Metaverse: What Busines Leaders Should Know Right Now

In this episode...

While the business world is bursting at the seams with opinions on metaverse, what are consumers thinking, if anything? Should you be investing, or should you stay away?

In this episode of Totally Hyped, I’m joined by Jen Musil, VP @ the Harris Poll. Jen and her team did some digging into what consumers think about metaverse, which in turn provides some insight for your next steps.

Cale Guin: Totally Hyped is not like other marketing podcasts. It’s not about marketers talking to other marketers. It’s about helping leaders in small and mid-size businesses improve their business. It’s about identifying what’s right and wrong with your marketing budgets, what to avoid and where to invest so that your marketing efforts are squarely focused on achieving your business objectives. Listening to Totally Hyped will make your business better, whether you’re a pro at today’s marketing, or if your marketing prowess begins and ends in the phone book.

My name is Cale Guin, founder of Web180 and marketer for over 25 years. Let’s get started. metaverse reminds me of what it felt like when Web 2.0 was coming, except for there’s no proof this time. It’s like listening to anyone, trying to explain some of metaverse’s core elements like blockchain or NFTs, which stands for Non-fungible Tokens. That helps not at all. I’ve read a lot on these topics, but I’ve never heard a succinct description that made me feel like, “Oh, now I get it.”

While the business world is bursting at the seam with opinions on metaverse, what are consumers thinking if anything? Should you be investing or should you stay away? In this episode of Totally Hyped, I’m joined with Jen Musel VP at The Harris Poll. Jen and her team did some digging on what consumers think about metaverse, which in turn provides us some great insight into our next steps. Later, we’ll plug data into our brand new hypo meter 3000 and find out if in fact metaverse is underhyped, overhyped, or hyped just right.

For now, take a listen to my conversation with the Harris Poll’s, Jen Musel to find a little clarity on metaverse.

Jen Musil My name’s Jen Musel. I’m a VP here at the Harris Poll. I work in a brand and strategy practice here. We do a lot of work helping marketers optimize products, product portfolio, go-to-market, marketing strategy, so gamut of things basically across the borard.

Cale: You guys, you do have a little bit of a consulting thing going on there now too, I think it applies. You’re not just the research arm of things. You’re also like, now that we know this, how can we help you?

Jen: 100% yes. Our job is to not just give you a bunch of data, our clients a bunch of data. We know that most of our clients are drowning in data. That’s not their part. They don’t need more. What their problem is is making sense of all that data, finding a signal in there, understanding like, what is the story? What is this really telling me? What do I do about it? That’s really where we come in, is sure we provide a lot of custom data to clients and to companies, but we’re really focused on saying here’s the data and here’s what this means, here’s what the story is and here’s what we recommend you do about it,, really making it actionable and relevant in terms of driving strategy, versus just a lot more numbers to wave through it.

Cale: In my work, of course, as a marketer, we always want data. We want information so that we understand what’s going on. Customers never want the data because they feel like, “Well, then I’ll just have all this information sitting here on the shelf collecting dust. We’re like, “No, if that’s what you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong.” At the end of the day, there is this gap between, okay, we did all the research and you told us all these things, you showed us all the data points. Now, what? That’s where you guys are playing a role there, which is in competition with me a little bit, but just on a completely different scale than I would.

Jen: We work with folks like you a lot because I do think the more brains we have at the table when you’re making market strategy, the better. Certainly, we come at it from a data perspective, but there’s also a lot of things that marketers and agencies know about the industry or the clients that maybe we don’t have that depth of insight. As a company, if you can stack your bench with all those experts, that’s really ideal.

Cale: Well, I’ll say this though, that the one thing we definitely differ is when we approach a client with a data need, we go to you because we’re not the data collectors. Then when you come back and you say, “Well, here’s what we know.” You guys have been great. I’ve worked with you once or twice, and you guys are great because you really helped us go through, well, these are the questions. If this is what you’re looking to understand, here are the questions and you really hold everybody’s hand.

I know what I want to know, but I don’t always know how to get that information and you guys are brilliant at that and you’re accessible. That’s the other thing that I found extremely helpful was that it’s not as expensive as everybody thinks. It’s not so far out there. It’s not you’re going to spend $100,000 to find out a few answers to some questions.

Jen: No. You can certainly do that if you want to talk to. Absolutely spot on.


Cale: You are kidding.

Jen: It’s really designed to be scalable. We have clients that for a couple of $1,000 can find the answers to a couple of questions that they want. Also, be much more complex from engagements.

Cale: Sure.

Jen: The goal is that we can help you find answers really, really small scale to really, really big scale.

Cale: How did you get into this position? How did you become who you are today, professionally speaking? I won’t dig too far into the personal aspect of who–


Jen: No, it’s quite scary. I don’t think anybody grows up being like, I want to be a market researcher.

Cale: [laughs]

Jen: I have a marketing undergrad degree, went to graduate school to get my MBA, and was randomly assigned to be a teaching assistant for market research professor. He was amazing and it combined everything I loved about marketing with the numbers, data nerd that I am inside and that I’ve always been. It was really for me that moment where the light bulb went off, “Oh, I’m actually good at this. This is all the things that I really like.”

After that, I ended up working for a small boutique firm doing a lot of advertising-specific research. There’s a lot to learn about advertising and it’s really cool and I still certainly touch it in my current role, but I wanted to do a little bit more in terms of strategy and really thinking big picture about, how do we get to this campaign to even understand if it’s working? I moved over to Nielsen and then to Harris. I’ve been at Harris now for, gosh, seven years.

Cale: Okay. I get the privilege of seeing you, so I wouldn’t assume that you’d done anything for seven years. I mean professionally speaking, of course.

Jen: Thank you. [laughs]

Cale: I wouldn’t have thought that you’d already been somewhere else and there for seven years. When you go about doing a study, and we’re going to talk about metaverse today. metaverse is this, I don’t know, it’s an intangible thing that-

Jen: Very much.

Cale: -everybody, if you’re in business, you’re tripping over articles about metaverse and you’re seeing it all of the time and you guys took this unique approach. Tell us about the study that you did, because what I found most unique about it from my perspective was that I was to the general public.

Jen: Yes, you’re right. Clients are asking us about metaverse to a point you can hardly read any industry publication without coming across something from metaverse, but there really is like that. What we really wanted to know is, what do consumers think it is and how are they approaching it because there’s a lot of companies doing splashy activations in the metaverse, whatever the metaverse is. [laughs]

Cale: We’re hoping that we can figure that out here.

Jen: Exactly. Right. They’re doing cool NFT drops.

Cale: Stop, park up the bus. Let’s talk about what is an NFT and then we’ll get back into this conversation. The only reason I want to interrupt you there is because we target business leaders, they’re trying to direct their company and I want to give them the marketing sense of here’s what matters to your business not necessarily just here’s the concepts and here’s the channels you should use.

When we start talking about NFTs, I can’t even really pronounce what the F stands for, I don’t think. I think I can, but I’m pretty sure I’m screwing it up when I say fungible or fungible

Jen: Fungible, you got it.

Cale: At some level, let’s talk about what NFTs are.

Jen: NFTs are really essentially, potentially one piece of building blocks of the metaverse that my view of the metaverse is that we have a bunch of building blocks. It’s not fully formed thing yet but NFTs are one piece of it. The app stands for non-fungible tokens. These are essentially the easiest way that I like to think about it is almost like a digital file. It could be an image, it could be a video, it could be a variety of things but lives connected to the blockchain, which is essentially, I’m not going to do a great job of explaining this, but a blockchain is really, if you think about it, it’s a technology where there’s a digital trail of every transaction.

It’s really easy to see and everyone can see who is buying what, so it’s very clear into who the owner is. One of the ways that was described to me is, imagine if your house title lived on the blockchain and everyone could just agree that you owned this piece of property, and everybody could see it and there was potentially no need for a title company or something anymore. NFTs are just that.

It could be The New York Times had a really famous one where a guy wrote a story about the metaverse and turned it into an NFT and it sold for thousands and thousands of dollars. All it is is a digital copy that other people can see. The New York Times was still published but someone now has the digital ownership of that piece of creative. This could be songs, this could be art.


Cale: Does it equate then to an automatic copyright then? Is it saying you can’t escape the fact that somebody else owns this. In order for you to be able to use it, they either have to give you permission or there’s some sort of fee?

Jen: Theoretically, it could be. Taylor Swift could make a song and she could only make it in 10 NFTs and it goes to 10 people and those people can listen to the song.

Cale: Oh, there you go.

Jen: That’s uncommon. NFTs tend to be more things that are in the public domain, like a cool sports image, a picture of, I don’t know my basketball, LeBron James dunking, or something, and now somebody owns that in the digital world, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the world can’t also see it. It’s a little different in some cases than like art that you’d put in your home where the only way you could see it is if someone came to your house.

Cale: Yes, and there have been some amazing stories about artwork that has been sold in this fashion for millions of dollars, and it’s just purely digital and it just seems like– I still struggle even now as much as I’ve read about it. I still struggle to see, I don’t understand what the value is and I don’t understand how then that person turns that into something useful for themselves.

Jen: Yes, and we’ll get you to talk about this in some other research, but we see that people come at it from a couple of different angles, like the motivation why would someone want these things. There are certainly people that are coming at it from like a purely financial standpoint, which is like, “Hey, I think I can probably make money on this if I get in early.” There’s also people who want to get really close to the creators. They’re just actually really interested in art and it’s a way to cut out that middle man in the art world.

It puts them next to the creators or people who are just doing it as a form of expression. If someone wants to buy it, that’s great, like typical art. There’s a lot of different motivations that people- the why varies depending on who you are. There’s a lot of people like you who are like, I don’t get it yet, so I’m kind of sitting it out until I [unintelligible 00:12:05].

Cale: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I get it. Come on.

Jen: Well, not get it, but you’re saying what’s the personal value.

Cale: I’m kidding. I don’t. As soon as somebody mentions blockchain, I’ve researched blockchain, I kind of get it, I don’t even know if the right word is nebulous, but it’s very difficult to absorb it and to make it make sense for, ”Well, what does that mean to a transaction?” You don’t see anything, nothing really happens, but, “Oh, it’s unbreakable and there will be no more theft and yada, yada, yada.” At some level, that doesn’t sound true and it doesn’t seem like all of those things could actually come together and play a role in day-to-day life yet.

Jen: Totally. I think you’re right. There’s already some of the crypto that should be unstealable, like, “Oops, it got stolen,” in terms of cryptocurrency. I think my perspective, this is just my opinion, is that we have a lot of the pieces of what the me- the metaverse right now is almost theoretical. It might be this digital universe that we all put on VR goggles and walk around and shop in, but it’s not like the internet yet where there’s a very direct place you go and you navigate around it. That doesn’t exist yet.

What we have is like building blocks for it. We have cryptocurrency and blockchain that could provide some of the structure for these transactions. We have VR technology that could provide some of that more digital world, but it all still lives pretty disparately and I think you’re right. It hasn’t been brought together in a way that’s like really cohesive and that works seamlessly to this utopia that some of the really pro-metaverse people talk about. We’re not there, if we ever get there.

Cale: I interrupted your point to discuss what NFT was, but I want to get back to a little bit of that because you just brought up something, this virtual, this VR world. Whenever you see anything about metaverse, that’s what you see first is somebody wearing the VR goggles that creates this unique three-dimensional world that you can- To me, that’s probably the most tangible, the most understandable part of the metaverse. In that, I do want to talk about what people- You know what?

Let’s just backtrack, because I think you’re going to do a better job of it than I ever will. Let’s just backtrack. What do people think metaverse is?

Jen: There’s a lot of confusion, quite frankly, in the research we did when we were talking to consumers what we really found is that there’s a lot of different definitions. Some people think of it as VR, right? That’s where it ends for them. It’s like, it’s a VR experience and I could do things in VR. There’s other people who come at it from a really it’s going to be a decentralized internet. From a more kind of theoretical perspective, which is like, this will be the internet where the tech giants no longer own it. It will be very decentralized.

People will get some of that power back. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be this great, all the things that were wrong with Web 2, the current web is going to be fixed. There’s also people who are like, “Hey.” They know it’s going to be something and they don’t want to get left behind. To them it’s like, it’s just these pieces. It’s crypto, it’s NFTs, it’s some of these newer technologies and they want to be part of it because they don’t want to really be left behind, but if you ask them to articulate it, they would tell you technologies versus a cohesive thing.

I just saw an article in Ad Age yesterday and it was like, “What is the metaverse?” The op-ed perspective was like, “It’s nothing, it does not exist. It’s something [unintelligible 00:16:05].” It depends on who you talk to how you think about it.

Cale: Well, to that point, show me the metaverse. You can’t.

Jen: How do you get there?

Cale: Yes, right, exactly. Well, I read one thing that was so intriguing to me. Kids and their sneakers today, they love them. If you go and buy a physical pair of sneakers, that the future of metaverse would be that you would also either get or pay extra for a virtual set of sneakers that you can use that shoe on your avatars and your, what have you, in the virtual world. To me, that where I think– Again, I don’t think anybody needs to pay attention.

I don’t want to give the ending away here, but I don’t know that small to medium size businesses need to be all over metaverse right now and you seeking money into trying to figure out what to do with it, but this is where I think they should keep an eye on things because this is new opportunities to generate revenue where they wouldn’t be generating revenue before and it’s a new place to advertise and to get in front of very specific audiences.

From that perspective, I do think that there’s something to mind here, but by the same token, don’t drop everything and sink all your money here.

Jen: Yes, it is. It’s early stage, it’s early stage, but I think you’re right. A lot of that concept is not super foreign, especially to some of the gen Z and even some of the millenials. They’re making digital purchases in some of the games that they play or in a lot of these more virtual Roblox. In the gaming sphere, there’s a lot of in game purchases that you can make to get a better-

Cale: Better stuff.

Jen: A better weapon or a better [unintelligible 00:17:55] to get a better experience. It’s really no that far of a leap for a cohort of people to think of like, “Hey, yes, in the future where a part of my life happens digitally that I would want a cool pair of sneakers, or I would want this dress that not every other avatar has. I love my parents dearly, but for someone like my parents that’s probably a big, big leap to think about that, but there’s certainly a generation in cohorts of the population that for them, they’re already pretty close to that.

I think you’re right. It’s not depending on the business that you’re in, as a small, medium business, I agree. I don’t think it’s time to jump in full force, but I think paying attention to it and thinking about like, hey, is there an opportunity here to monetize, create a different revenue stream, maybe reach a slightly different target that would still make sense for your business, I think that’s really smart to be thinking about now.

Cale: I think for my parents to bridge the gap between what we just talked about and their lives, they would be like, “You mean I could get a special deck of cards to play solitaire with.” It would be like that. I think that’s about all my mom really does online, is check her email and play solitaire.

Jen: Yes, my mom just asked me if she should– she’s like, “Should I get on this Facebook?” I was like–

Cale: [laughs] I’ve heard about this new-fangled. Yes, that’s awesome.

Jen: Whatever you want, mom, whatever you want.

Cale: Then that always leads to, “I started signing up for this Facebook,” and then it becomes your project, because [unintelligible 00:19:31], “What should I put in this space?” Yes, it’s always fun. Especially when you’re technically minded, you are always kind of the go-to for everyone. Well, how do I fix this? My computer doesn’t work. It’s like, “Dude, stop. I don’t want to fix your computer.”

Jen: Yes, I know, and then my parents try to describe it to me over the phone. I’m like, “Can I FaceTime you so that I can at least see what you’re doing?” They’re just like, “Well, no, I’m on the phone.” I was like, “Okay, get the iPad.”

Cale: Yes, it’s hard. It really is. My dad’s probably got it all figured out. He’s owned businesses and he did what he needed to do online and on computers as much as he did, but then nothing beyond that really. Now that he’s retired, he’s like, “I’m just going to travel.


Jen: I’m good.

Cale: I don’t need all this stuff. I’m glad my phone can go with me wherever I am, but that’s really about it.”

Jen: Exactly, exactly.

Cale: Have you seen any? This is another thing because I don’t think that there are really great uses yet, but have you seen any great uses, and what are people thinking that the company should be doing when you did the study? What comes out of that and what does the consumer think today that companies should be doing or should be at least thinking about?

Jen: Most consumers don’t even know how they would buy an NFT or a procure one, or where do you even keep it? Like, oh, you need a digital wallet. How do I get that? What is that? Most of what consumers were looking for from brands now, it feels innovative to them when brands are doing some of these new things, but unless there’s true value, it’s like, “Oh, that’s neat.” What consumers were really looking for was experiences or ways to provide additional connection, a better experience.

Things like augmented reality, you’re at a baseball game, you hold up your phone to the player at bat and you can see-

Cale: Stats.

Jen: Stats or something else about him, that’s of interest those augmenting experiences or creating more connection to the real, the physical world really were exciting to consumers. Most consumers weren’t like, “Hey, build me a completely virtual world. I can’t wait to jump in.” It was more like, “Hey, how can the virtual world augment my physical called the real world that we’re in day-to-day?”

It’s a bit of that baby steps and bringing that’s something that people, to your point, even your dad, my dad, everybody’s got a cell phone. Those are kinds of experiences that can be a first step into the metaverse if you will. It doesn’t have to be something super complicated or super technical to get consumers excited today. Some of those smaller wins are something they’re excited about.

Cale: I suppose we had to get to outer space somehow and that started with a plane and that’s at some level had to be an idea. As companies get involved in this, I think it’ll just evolve anyway, because they’ll be like, “Well, since I can do this, I know how it’ll help my business.” There’ll just be a general natural innovation that will occur because of that, I think.

Jen: Yes. To your point on like how much investment do you put in this today as a smaller, medium business, I think that makes sense too. You figure out what’s resonating with your target audience, what are your consumers excited about, how do you take the thing that they about your first foray to the next level and you can build from there. It also prevents that all on marketing spend and then figuring out later that a big piece of it didn’t work or something.

Cale: Well, one of the challenges, I think, especially for small and medium-sized businesses and especially physical locations and what have you, how do you make the experience better? If you can, those become huge marketing assets for you to be able to say, you can come here and do this. One of the things I think it;s a no-brainer is this in the virtual world you think of apparel and you can see what apparel looks like on you and how the garment is going to hang on you and all of those types of things.

Jen: 100%.

Cale: I think you knew building homes and office spaces and stuff like that. You can actually see the functionality and how the workflow will actually go. I think those will be probably first.

Jen: For sure.

Cale: Does that type of expectation vary based on age or gender or any of those types of criteria?

Jen: This was the most interesting thing about the research in the metaverse that we’ve done. We looked at this from a consumer perspective. How are consumers thinking so that we can give marketers a guide, here are the people, here are the different groups of people that are and how they’re thinking about the metaverse? One of the most interesting things is we really segmented individuals out, and the main thing that parsed people out was not– I thought it might be like age and gender like young males are interested in cryptocurrency and young people, in general, are interested in VR or whatever.

When you look really what we found, when you get to the motivations, like what do people want from the metaverse? What are they excited about? What we found is that it actually doesn’t really– there are young people and old people in all the cohorts, there are a mix of ethnicities across the cohorts. Basic demographics didn’t really segment people out in terms of their expectations. What was the real difference was the motivation. Are you looking for personal expression? Are you looking for connection?

Are you looking for entertainment? Are you purely coming at this from a financial gain perspective? Depending on what your intrinsic motivation was of being interested in the metaverse, that was much more telling about what your expectations were and what you were excited about than simple age or gender. Of course, gen-Z or a millennial probably is going to have more advanced tech skills, and it’s going to be more comfortable for them to jump into some of this tech space than someone who’s less tech-savvy, but in terms of what they want, what they’re excited about, it did not fall cleanly at all on demographic lines, which was super interesting to me.

Jen: It is. You and I had this conversation when we first met. Not only was that surprising, but at some level, it almost doesn’t even make sense that it. I can’t even wrap my head around how– I don’t even know how a 16-year-old, based on what I see, I don’t know how a 16-year-old knows so much about uh metaverse and all these things. Then I really don’t know how my dad would know anything about metaverse and I love him, but what does he care? It’s just really going to be pertinent to him.

When you were saying that, that was the thing that surprised you most, and I said is the most fearful thing about doing a study that you find nothing interesting in the study. This one was very surprising. Were there other surprises that you came across?

Jen: That was a big one. The other thing that surprised me a little bit is I really did think there would be a bigger cohort of people who were just purely looking from a financial perspective given all the buzz. Keep in mind, we did the study before the crypto, the recent crash and a lot of the cryptocurrencies. At that point it was really all positive news or gen. There was a lot of hype around, “Hey, NFTs could be a really great way to make money. These are great investment cryptos you got to get in now.”

There was a lot of that buzz going around. I expected to find a bunch of people who were interested in making money and then a bunch of people who were confused about the metaverse. Really what we found is most everyone is confused about it, there’s a lot of confusion about it, regardless of who you are. That’s where those motivations started to play much more of a role.

Even people who are starting to get involved in it, yes, they’re a little bit more tech savvy or they’ve figured out some of the basics, but a lot of them are you and I at the beginning. You’re like I generally understand what blockchain is, but pressed on the specifics, no, I could not get super technical. That is what a lot of people are. Some of it’s just your comfort level in dealing with that ambiguity, even if you don’t understand it, are you still comfortable just jumping in a bit.

That was really surprising to me that we found sure some of those money, the financially motivated folks, but we found this a big, big group of people who were like, “Hey, I’m listening. Tell me more, I’m really interested in the art side of it or this entertainment piece is really interesting to me.” There was more openness to it, I think generally despite most people only having this vague understanding of what it might be.

Cale: I’m not sure that you and I have done anything here to clarify what this is. We might have even made the waters a little bit more muddy.

Jen: I know.

Cale: By the same token, what would you say to somebody right now? We touched on it a little bit, but you’re way deeper into the understanding of what people are thinking on this. What would you tell a small to medium size business leader that he should be doing right now? Or what should he be paying attention to most?

Jen: I think at this point, if you’re a small to medium business leader, you’re really in probably a wait-and-see mode. This is something that’s going to happen. There’s going to be some version of metaverse. I think there’s still a lot of debate about what that looks like and what that is, but all of these technologies exist. To think that nothing will come off this is probably not true, but I think if I’m a small to medium business, I’m really thinking about what’s happening, I’m paying attention. I’m playing the wait-and-see game to understand and find out more clearly what are the parts of this that people are really gaining traction, what are the parts of my business that might even make sense given that intersection? If VR, augmented reality is the entry point, which it looks like it definitely could be, how might that make sense for my business?

I think looking around at some of the larger organizations in your industry, just watching what’s happening and paying attention to what seems to be working, listening to your customers are they talking about any of this stuff and then thinking about where can you actually add value? I think the other thing that people do a lot with new technologies is like it’s exciting and it’s shiny and so you see your peers starting to jump in so you’re like, “Hey, I better build an augmented reality experience or a VR experience.”

Without thinking about what the extra value is to your customer, what is the actual value-add or the benefit to your customers? I think at this point it’s really paying attention to what’s happening watching to see what’s working, listening to your customers to see if they start to talk about any of this. Also, at the same time thinking about how could this add value to my business so that when the time is right, when I feel like the market is mature enough and I’m ready you have a very clear place to start your efforts.

Cale: I’ll say this, that at some level the cost of how am I going to produce something that matters to the metaverse and to the audience that’s in the metaverse. You hit the nail right on the head from my perspective and this is what I would consult people, on specifically would be that if it brings enough value that it makes you either unique or makes your product more appealing.

Then you have to weigh the value of if it makes it that much more appealing what is that worth to your company and how much what’s the investment, and what have you. By the same token I would also say that you playing the weight and see game at some level I agree with that because I don’t think somebody should just unnecessarily go and spend a bunch of money to see what they could do.

I think though that I always worry a little bit about coming late to the game, especially with some of this technology. I’m not really trying to prod you for how old you are, but in my lifetime, when web 2.0 came along all of this social media and all of these things that were coming out were as weird as this and as intangible as this was for a while. Then now those things have pegged the needle on the other side and most of them are overhyped and oversold and what have you.

By the same token, I would say that some of the things that we thought were going to be amazing about web 2.0 never really happened. Some of it is almost maybe before it’s time, but I would also say that it’s a ways away from being enough a part of your business. Let’s face it, there will be tools to help you take advantage of it at some point in time and it’ll make it easy for everybody to join and do all those things. We’re not there yet.

Jen: There is a difference between being on the bleeding edge and the early adopter versus the mainstream adopter to a lead adopter. I agree. Probably the bleeding edge is not where you need to be for a lot of smaller, medium businesses, though it may make sense to be in that next wave right, that early adopter wave to your point when there starts to be some tools, when there starts to be some cohesion around what this thing really is and what are the entry points that are most common for consumers, and where your customers at.

I think you’re right you don’t want to be late to the game, you didn’t want to be the last guy with the website or the last guy on social media probably as a business owner. I think exactly that you certainly probably don’t need to be on the bleeding edge of this which feels in some cases where we still are.

Cale: Of the reasons why people are either interested or potentially, the consumer is potentially looking into the metaverse or they’re super excited about it, the two biggies actually– this wasn’t actually the two biggies that I was looking at, the one was that I’m here for fun, and then the other big one in that category was money talks. Talk about a little bit, and this is getting into a little bit more detail on who’s in those groups and of your demographic criteria? Who’s driving the 20% are here for fun and 13% are here money talks, they’re looking to make some money?

Jen: Again, there is definitely a bit of a mix in these cohorts, but in terms of the money talks group, these are people who tend to be generally aware of the metaverse, they’re coming into it oftentimes in terms of crypto, but they also might be in that AR/VR world as well. Their entry points are fairly varied, but like I said, these aren’t necessarily just young males. Really, we didn’t see huge demographic skews this is a mix of people from 18 to 65.

The main thing that sets these people apart is that they are looking to make money first and foremost, but they also secondly have this interest in using the metaverses the point of connection. They see that as a place that’s fun, exciting, it’s almost like a sense of community to them. Yes, they’re hoping ultimately that financially they’ll be better off than where they started, but there is this underlying second tier of like, “Hey, this is a community of people like me.” It’s fun and exciting to be part of something that’s so new if you will.

Cale: I think that that’s going to drive a lot of it, you saw that with social media, isn’t it funny how social media niche things out at first and now it’s so broad, it’s ridiculous. I tell people all the time I started in this business before Google even existed. I remember when the websites and internet and e-commerce were just becoming the mainstream I remember thinking that or the excitement was I could be located anywhere and have a global audience or have a global buying base.

What I find now is people are like, “Well, how can I sell more here in my community?” It’s funny how that went full circle. This stands the chance of being both at the same time in my opinion making it feel very local and very intimate yet being global, it could be anybody anywhere in the world, that VR piece anyway.

Jen: Totally agree.

Cale: I see that one of your bullet points here on, and this is in the study, one of your bullet points on what people might want to be tending to or paying attention to is the education piece of it. How can businesses become more educated just so that they can keep an eye on this thing and try to understand a little bit better in what their place in the metaverse might be?

Jen: To how we started and as we were getting started today, I think from a business education standpoint, there is articles about this everywhere. There’s a lot of different opinions in those articles. I think that’s a good place to just understand what’s even being talked about, but there’s also a lot of resources.

Cale: It’s the worst place in the world, the opinions, oh my God. No, I’m just kidding.


Jen: At least [unintelligible 00:38:20] what are people talking about? What are the things you should be investigating potentially? We’ll give you some clues about– because there’s a lot of technologies in here. Is it [unintelligible 00:38:31]? Is it crypto? Is it blockchain right? I think there’s a lot of information coming out from good sources, every major consulting company has a point of view on this. There’s a ton of white papers, even here at Harris Poll, we publish this white paper, but we also ask about these topics in our weekly polls that we do on just what’s happening in America if you will.

There’s a lot of resources out there. I think that’s really where I would start, was just really understanding what’s the technology, what are the applications today. There’s a lot of people thinking about this a lot where are their heads at and then thinking about your own business. Here are some of the places that this could have value. Does that make sense for me if I’m a local apparel company and how much does that differ if I’m in professional services or guiding rafting trips, or whatever it might be.

Depending on what your business is, I think which pieces of the metaverse at this point are going to be most interesting to you or are going to be pretty different.

Cale: That was impressive. What was it? If you’re in the financial or if you’re guiding raft tours? What was it? That was really impressive to pull that out of thin air. That was a wild spectrum that you threw out right there. I’m the worst at doing that, I will come up with the absolute worst examples. That was a brilliant one right there.

Jen: Well, I always come with a terrible [unintelligible 00:40:01] clients. I’m like, “I can never think of a good example for this.” [laughs]

Cale: Every time I do, actually, as it’s coming out of my mouth, I’m realizing I’m actually using the worst two examples I could possibly use.

Jen: Right, the worse.

Cale: I’m actually defeating my point by using it. I’m horrible at it. When you did that, I was like, “Oh, my God, that is a wide spectrum right there. It couldn’t have been wider.” When I say that, “Don’t pay attention to people’s opinions,” more so, pay attention to everyone’s opinion because I think that that’s really where we get stuck politically, all kinds of things. You just kind of get stuck in your own–

Jen: Yes, echo chamber.

Cale: Right, the echo chambers, the exact right word. You want to be careful of that. Just be willing to hear all the sides of the story because I think that the beauty of everything typically lies in the middle of one end of the spectrum to the other.

Jen: I’m sure. Just today, there was some article that was published about how great this is going to be as a marketer, and I’m sure there was another one about how terrible it’s going to be and why you should never do it. I think I totally agree with you. There’s such a diverse set of views on this topic and a lot of different ideas about where it ultimately will end up that I think, yes, that’s exactly right.

It’s really reading and being open to hearing kind of all sides of that and then thinking about, “Hey, what pieces of this make sense to me?”

Cale: Well, I’ll tell you this has been eye-opening, to say the least, and we’re going to make sure that listeners have access to your study. If you could maybe help me out a little bit in getting some links to some of the other information you guys have on metaverse.

Jen: Yes, for sure.

Cale: That would be fantastic. I will say this. Absolutely fascinating conversation and a great study. Do you guys have anything else in the works as far as metaverse is concerned?

Jen: Yes, we don’t have anything that is close that I can be like, “Hey, here’s a teaser for it.” This is something we’re paying attention to. I would expect that we’ll have another, not exactly refresh of this study, but about another look at this within the last half of this year, just as a way.

This is evolving really, really rapidly and I think this will be a topic that we continue to kind of publish [unintelligible 00:42:26].

Cale: That leads me to maybe the greatest question I’ve ever come up with in my whole life on the fly.

Jen: You better now.

Cale: This is going to [unintelligible 00:42:34] by the thud. It’s going to land with a thud because it’s just going to be you’re like, “That’s the dumbest question I’ve ever heard,” but you’ve done this study. When you were done with the study, was there anything that you’re like, “Oh, wish we would have asked this,” or, “Now that I know this, this is something we should look into more?”

Jen: I think that’s a great question.

Cale: Thank you.

Jen: There’s always stuff when you get done with research, and you’re like, “Oh, shoot.” For this study, I think, we asked about regular general familiarity with the metaverse, what are the words that they associate it with? Do you think of it as something that’s innovative or something that’s white-centric, or kind of weird? What are you thinking about? I think the next thing I would want to dig deeper on there is what are people’s real paradigms.

The reason we didn’t ask too much about defining it or trying to get people to understand how they would define it is because we thought the knowledge was probably too new that people weren’t even to that step yet. I think over the course of even just this year, the conversation about metaverse just kept going and going and going. I think it’s more and more and more trickled down to your average consumer.

I think that next thing that I would love to peel back more on is not only just wanting people excited about but what do they think it is? How would they expect to access it? Who do they think will use it? One of the things in the research that was really interesting was how you currently think about tech giants, really influences how you think about the metaverse.

Cale: You just brought up something so simple and we haven’t even talked about it yet. It’s at the heart of what is this thing is, well, how will I ever even participate in this? It’s like we know how to call people. We know how to go on the internet. How do you access the metaverse? I think that’s– it’s almost the thing that is so obvious that I don’t think anybody’s actually asking and getting a clear answer on “Well, how will this work?”

Jen: I think part of the reason for that is because it really doesn’t exist yet, It isn’t like the internet where there’s a clear place to plug in. Will there be kind of a centralized version of this that looks like the internet? Will this be something that Facebook has a version and some other big guys have a version and maybe they connect or maybe they don’t?

I think that’s the piece that is the big question. That’s what makes it hard to talk about what is the metaverse if you can’t even say where do I go, how do I get on it? [unintelligible 00:45:18] there’s not a place like that yet.

Cale: Do I have my own metaverse for my company? Does my community have this metaverse, and that’s one of those mind-boggling things that makes me just want to say, “I don’t really want to do this right now.” [laughs] I look at some of the things that I’m like, “I love concepts for marketing.” That’s like my playground. When I think with just anything that I understand about this makes my head spin with ideas of, “Oh, my God, this kind of company could do this and that kind of company could do that.”

I really believe that but the one thing I never considered is well how– I can see going into a store or not going into a store, going to somebody’s website and being able to plug into how is this dress going to fit on me. When I say that, I don’t really mean me because I’m not going to be buying dresses anytime soon.

Cale: At some level like how’s this shirt going to fit me, there’s some level of which I could absolutely see that but I never even contemplated, “Well, how are they going to do that?” I know what it looks like in my head and I know what the experience would be like. I don’t know how to get there. That’s crazy.

Jen: As a marketer, the experience that you design is probably different if you have your own metaverse if you will, versus if that’s linked to-

Cale: Your website.

Jen: -everyone else’s metaverse, depending on what it’s attached to and how seamless it is to move from Cale’s metaverse into Jen’s metaverse and whatever. Really probably impacts as a marketer, how you design that experience and how you think about it.

Cale: This sounds like we’re smoking something that we shouldn’t be smoking. This really does remind me of when you see those moments in movies where people are taking some crazy drugs, this reminds me of that. I am sober as a judge almost always.

Jen: Same, same.

Cale: At some level, you hear these conversations and it is a little bit like, “Oh, my God, my mind is just blown right there.” It’s really only in the scope of it. It’s the never-ending possibility of just the few things that we’ve touched on today. Jen Musel, thank you so much. This has been awesome. Again, we’ll make sure people have access to your contact information if they want to get in touch with you but certainly this report, and any links that you guys might have at the Harris Poll to help people or this places where they can pay attention to some of the research that you guys come up with.

Again, thank you much for shedding some light on a very difficult topic to explain and there’s probably a million other things that we could talk about.

Jen: Thanks for having me. It’s super fun to talk about this stuff and I think the law was for at least for the near future. There’ll be a lot of stuff a lot more to talk about, as it kind of evolved.

Cale: That says a lot about you, Jen. For somebody to just say that, “What if I could just talk about metaverse all day?”


Jen: That sounds about me [unintelligible 00:48:27]

Cale: It does say something I would fear for your children.

Jen: I know, yes.

Cale: [laughs] Well, again, thank you so much for your time.

Jen: Thanks so much. We’ll talk soon.

Cale: All right, it’s time to use our brand new Hypo Meter 3000. The Hypo Meter 3000 takes in data from across the world and my opinion, it uses an intense algorithm to determine whether a marketing topic is either overhyped, underhyped, or height just right. Let me just type in a little bit of data here and I know I got to throw the switch. I hate this thing. You kind of got to get the right angle on it, you know what I’m saying? Then freaking lights go dim and it’s a little bit daunting really. There it goes.

Help, and there you have it, metaverse, way overhyped. Now, let’s be clear when I say that metaverse is way overhyped, that it might be the second coming of everything really and it just isn’t there yet. For as much information as we’re being fed right now by– I don’t even know where this is all coming from. I mean, obviously, you can see where the articles are coming from but what’s driving that noise, that’s confusing to me. There’s not a great example of the metaverse or its core components working with the exception of I guess you could say Bitcoin but that’s even had its struggles and NFTs are certainly intriguing but even that’s pretty ambiguous. When I say that it’s way overhyped, it is right now, but in a few years, we might be saying that, “Thank God for metaverse. It changed everything. Now, everything is easier, everybody gets what they want.” It really might be that. I just think it’s a little early to tell and with the amount of information and data coming at us.

One would just have to say that it’s overhyped and the Hypo Meter 3000 degrees so there you have it, another episode of Totally Hyped. I want to thank my guest, Jen Musel of the Harris Poll and I want to thank you for listening. My name’s Caleb Guin and until next time, audios. You can get answers to your marketing questions at, or if you’re interested in guaranteed marketing results, stop by home of the only guarantee in the business.

Expert: Jen Musil

Jennifer Musil is a VP of Brand & Strategy at The Harris Poll who has spent the last 10 years developing, implementing and analyzing various types of research for businesses, with a focus on technology clients. She has rich experience in leveraging custom research to find the ‘story’ in data and help consult with businesses on the ‘now what’. These engagements help clients to optimize product and marketing strategies.

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