Wednesday, April 4, 2007

What marketers don't understand about Second Life

I'm a big believer in Second Life and the future of virtual, social networks. But I continue to be baffled by marketers transferring their advertising techniques of real life to Second Life.
Second Life has quite a few problems but also many opportunities.

The problems:

1) Technology is not user-friendly. It takes too long to get acquainted with the controls and to be able to explore.

2) The subscriber numbers are a farce. Yes, more than 5 million signed up for SL but only 30,000 are exploring SL while I type this entry.
If you take subscribers online at any given point of time and Second Life square mileage, Second Life’s density is a mere 23,000 per square mile compared to 143,000 for Manhattan.

3) 70% of Second Life residents are disappointed by the branded experiences.

And here's the opportunity for a forward-thinking brand: Don't replicate your failed marketing efforts of real life and push them to SL. Explore your brand promise and experience, and truly integrate it into Second Life. If your brand promise is to be adventurous, offer an adventurous experience. Don't just put a cool building on an island and hope for the best. Become part of the community, become a real citizen in SL. The first wave of PR coups have died down and the buildings are a sad reminder of brands not getting SL and the changed consumer landscape.
SL is all about the consumer. Only if you involve the consumer will you be successful. I'm still hoping someone will get it.

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