Bringing B2B marketing into the metaverse
Oct 30, 2023
Conceptual drawing of lines and shapes made of light

How to drive B2B sales success in a digital world

Executive summary

The way we shop has changed dramatically. Shoppers these days are increasingly willing to research and make high-value purchases online, with less dependence on in-person experiences and sales representative relationships. The behaviors demonstrated in consumer shopping are spilling over into the business world.

Accommodating the change in business-to-business (B2B) buyer behavior is key to driving sales in an increasingly digital world. While an all-encompassing “metaverse for industry” is a long way off, the underlying technology of metaverse applications is already in use across many industries. That technology is real-time 3D.

Already empowering organizations to maximize their 3D product data across the product lifecycle, real-time 3D solutions are now extending beyond the factory floor and into the world of sales and marketing. In this e-book, we’re uncovering this new face of B2B sales and marketing. Read on to:

→ Explore the changing behavior patterns of B2B buyers, including the shift towards making high-value purchases online.

→ Delve into what is driving the change in buyer behavior, where the metaverse fits in, and what the new normal looks like.

→ Discover an inspiring example of a manufacturing machinery company using real-time 3D technology to better connect with its customers virtually, how they achieved 80% cost reduction from using 3D data across multiple use cases, and other results they achieved.

→ Get guidance on where to start with real-time 3D technology, and the reasons why you should do it now. Businesses are finding new ways to bring their products to market using metaverse technology. The world has changed, and those that don’t adapt will be left behind.

Additional reading: What is real-time 3D? A Unity explanation

A prism of color

Section 1

The changing face of B2B buyers

“70% of B2B decision makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27% would spend more than $500,000” - McKinsey

Buyer behaviors are on the move

Events in recent years have changed the way we shop forever. More and more people are willing to spend hundreds of thousands on something they have never seen in person. Let’s take a look at a few examples of this:

Today, most people are willing to make the most expensive purchase of their lives – their home – without ever stepping foot in it first.

→ Nearly two thirds of people who bought a home last year made an offer on a property that they hadn’t seen in person1.

What’s typically an individual’s second-most expensive purchase? A car. And a growing number of people are doing that purely online too.

→ 1 in 5 people have purchased a vehicle sight unseen2.

What about a luxury piece of jewelry? Previously the high-end in-store experience was an essential aspect of the purchase, but that isn’t the case any more.

→ The market for online luxury goods sales has nearly doubled since 20193. Interactive marketing is driving this change in buyer behavior.

→ Online property sales are possible because interactive 3D virtual tours instill confidence in buyers to write the biggest check of their lives.

→ Automotive e-commerce is supported by interactive car configurators and augmented reality experiences that replace the traditional test drive and engage buyers by letting them “try out” different accessories, colors, upholstery, etc.

→ The high-end luxury goods online market thrives thanks to unique experiences allowing customers to explore customization options that are impossible to replicate in stores.

These aren’t merely interesting statistics; they have a real impact on business, because consumer shopping habits are spilling over into B2B buying behaviors.

1. “63% of 2020 homebuyers made an offer sight unseen, shattering previous record,” Redfin

2. “Three in four UK drivers still won’t buy a car without seeing it first,” Motor1.com

3. “Luxury market rebounds in 2021, set to return to historic growth trajectory,” Bain & Company

Computer wire drawings of various shapes

The need for transformation

While the way buyers shop has clearly changed, many companies are slow to accommodate this new behavior.

Take trade shows as an example. It’s great to be able to connect in person once more, and these events have an important place in the sales cycle for many businesses. However, in these recently reconvened events, many organizations still rely on the same marketing strategies they used before the pandemic: static booths displaying brochures and video demos.

This type of marketing will remain relevant. But companies are missing an opportunity to enhance the visitor experience. Where are the immersive experiences accessible to anyone visiting the booth? Where are the companion virtual events that could reach orders of magnitude more people than ever step foot on the show floor?

Online presence is a distinguishing feature and is often your buyers’ first experience of your brand and products. Why, then, would a business choose to offer a static web experience with some images and perhaps an on-demand video or two?

The need for change is real. Today’s B2B buyers expect more.

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Section 2

Marketing and metaverse technology

Study: Better digital marketing is top priority

In a recently commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Unity, we looked at the pandemic-driven adoption of immersive technology in industrial use cases. We wanted to understand how that adoption had changed since the pandemic started.

The most significant outcome was that manufacturers are absolutely putting top priority on investing in technology.

→ 3 in 5 manufacturers say the pandemic drove a new focus on tech innovation.

And which area of their business are they placing that investment in? Their number one desired outcome from that investment is:

→ Improve digital marketing and/or e-commerce capabilities. (4 in 5 say this.)

Organizations are recognizing the need to invest in improving their marketing and e-commerce capabilities, over and above improving any other areas of their business. With B2B buyers increasingly comfortable forging their own path to purchase, and a reduced need for sales support, how can you ensure they connect with your brand and your products?

79% of manufacturing leaders say improving digital marketing and/ or e-commerce capabilities is more important due to the pandemic.

A virtual manufacturing line
Courtesy of HOMAG and iXtenda/iVP

The role of real-time 3D in metaverse marketing

The metaverse. What does it really mean for the industrial sector?

Put simply, the metaverse is the next incarnation of the internet, upgraded to deliver 3D content and spatial experiences, all in real-time.

New technologies that leverage existing design and engineering data are already being implemented across manufacturing lifecycles. From scaling down the need for physical prototypes by validating designs in virtual reality, to using mixed reality to train personnel on complex machinery, and many more examples, real-time 3D – or metaverse – technologies, powered by existing design data, are being employed to improve every step of the manufacturing process.

A virtual yacht with a features selection panel
Courtesy of Arksen

But metaverse tech doesn’t have to be confined to the factory floor. Now it’s possible to extend it beyond design and production into sales and marketing.

By adopting metaverse tech, businesses can unlock design data by using it to create marketing content and immersive experiences faster, and deploy them across multiple marketing channels.

A virtual yacht
Courtesy of Arksen

The product data already exists. The potential to create interactive, metaverse-ready, buying experiences that your customers are demanding is waiting to be realized.

A virtual showroom success story

Here’s an example of a manufacturing business already reaping the benefits of adopting metaverse technology into their sales and marketing pipeline.

HOMAG is one of the world’s top manufacturers for woodworking machinery. When the pandemic hit, one of their major sources of leads – trade shows and exhibitions – was instantly lost.

Speed was of the essence. HOMAG swiftly teamed up with an agency partner, iXtenda, to create a real-time 3D sales and marketing web experience, allowing them to continue to welcome thousands of prospects and customers from anywhere in the world, showcasing their products and their capabilities.

A virtual piece of manufacturing equipment
Image courtesy of HOMAG and iXtenda/iVP

The virtual showroom

The virtual showroom lets anyone explore the interactive 3D space from their web browser. Visitors can explore more than 35 individual machines, including experimenting with different configurations. By experiencing the machines virtually, buyers can understand and experiment in real-time with not only configurations of individual machines, but also machine placement within a space. They can play with any machine variation, from height adjustments to modeling different runtime values for a given machine, all within the limits of what is possible for that machine in reality.

The buyer’s experience doesn’t end with the configurator. Today’s remote buyers are receptive to a self-serve experience. That’s why additional functionality is embedded within this virtual showroom – visitors can dive into the multiple media experiences designed to further engage them with the product, from training videos to webinars.

Data is king

How many times have you heard that? Yet another edge over in-person events, tracking visitor behavior in a virtual showroom is far easier than scanning badges at every booth. In a virtual showroom, visitor behavior can be tracked and the data can be fed back to your customer relationship management (CRM) system – an invaluable tool for the marketing and sales teams.

It doesn’t end there

Digital models of products have a life outside of the virtual showroom. By building a virtual asset library of product models, you can feed a marketing content pipeline with high-quality assets that enable quick and easy creation of not only printed materials, but also interactive 3D configurators, digital media, videos, animations, and everything in between.

A virtual manufacturing plant
Image courtesy of HOMAG and iXtenda/iVP
A prism of color

Section 3

Future-ready foundations

A virtual front-loader with a color selection option

Beyond the new normal

For the majority of industry, the COVID-19 pandemic forced a transition to remote events. Industry adapted with solutions that were functional, but unrefined.

With more than two years of experience marketing in a physically constrained world, businesses have the opportunity to expand beyond the functional. Event planning can break free of traditional restrictions – a virtual showroom can do so much more than display your products.

Consider integrating real-time interactive configurator experiences into a virtual showroom, so visitors can customize their product preferences. By trial and error visitors can self-select the exact product configuration they want. Plus they could carry out any research using connected resources accessible in the experience, giving them added confidence in their purchasing decision.

Imagine if, without leaving that experience, the customer could process their purchase, sending an order directly to your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

What’s more, with integrated technology supporting the configuration experience, the possibility of configuration errors is removed, meaning the order can be instantly processed, with both the vendor and the buyer confident that their requirements have been met.

Even outside the virtual showroom, your real-time 3D product models can boost your marketing content creation pipeline. Using those models, it’s easy and fast to create high-quality static assets showing multiple product configurations and placements, for use in brochures, displays, digital marketing and many other channels.

“Ideally you want…to revolutionize your end-to-end workflows, across the board, for every person in your organization. But I think it’s more the case that we will find pockets of traction, where somebody can get started despite the significant...

Starting your metaverse marketing journey

You may start out with grand ideas, a wish to build new digital worlds to envelop your buyers in interactive experiences that transport them to a whole different retail universe.

But it’s important to stay grounded.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the enormity of the possibilities. You can get involved today. Your competitors are already embracing next-generation selling experiences, and you can take steps to make sure you’re not left behind.

Getting started isn’t as hard as you might think. Your organization already has 3D data from your design and engineering models. The key is to unlock that data, to leverage it to its fullest extent using real-time 3D solutions that enable you to make your buyers’ journey more engaging, driving the revenue your business needs to succeed.

We are transitioning into the next version of the internet. The metaverse tech available today is laying the foundation for what comes next, whatever that might be. But one thing’s for sure. If you want to be a part of that journey, now is the time to harness the power of metaverse technology and start delivering real-time 3D content, interactive experiences, and virtual worlds to your customers.

The road to sales success is paved with real-time 3D technology. Are you on track?

A prism of color

Section 4


Creating your interactive marketing experiences

→ Create real-time 3D applications.

→ Ingest 35+ 3D file formats.

→ Deploy to 20+ platforms.

Our tools and workflows give you the power to create extraordinary interactive and immersive sales and marketing experiences.

Build it yourself

Unity Industry is a software bundle that includes everything you need to bring your 3D and CAD data into Unity, and create interactive experiences. Try it for free.

Build it with our experts

Accelerate Solutions is our team of world-class designers, developers and industry experts, ready to help you accelerate your metaverse marketing journey. The team can bring your real-time 3D marketing experiences to life.

Not sure where to start? Contact our team to find the solution that’s right for you.

Dive into additional resources

Trends report 2022: Metaverse technology in industry

The pursuit of innovative and resilient solutions in the face of unprecedented challenges is compelling enterprises to embrace next-generation technologies.

Discover the perspectives of industry experts such as Cathy Hackl, Microsoft and Accenture, including:

→ The challenges to adopting new technologies

→ How to get started with metaverse technologies

→ Success stories and predictions for the future of immersive tech

Study: The new way of working is immersive

This commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Unity explores how the COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed immersive tech use, covering:

→ The top use cases and work phases driving interest in immersive tech

→ The top challenges, investments and priority shifts influenced by the pandemic

→ How the pandemic triggered and accelerated immersive tech adoption among enterprises

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