All the hype surrounding the metaverse might seem like a good incentive for marketers to just jump on the bandwagon and try anything, follow trends, see what sticks. But digital media expert Patrik Wilkens says that's not the way to go.

"I think it's really important that you keep in mind to be authentic," he says on the latest episode of the Marketing Smarts Live Show. "There are some examples where people try to artificially attach themselves to something.... Usually those experiments fail, and they're not successful."

Patrik describes the authenticity phenomenon in terms of one of TheSoul Publishing's original characters, Polar—a kind of digital pop star à la Hatsune Miku.

"Looking at Polar, for example, it's more important for Polar to be authentic in her native environment...rather than whether or not this is a real person. Obviously, we have a team behind Polar that is creating the music, that is creating the animations, that is creating the voice and everything, that are integrating her into the various games."

Check out the full episode for more glimpses into the metaverse to come.

Make sure you don't miss any future episodes: Subscribe to the Marketing Smarts Live Show on YouTube. And to catch up on all previous episodes, check out the full playlist on YouTube.


Episode Details, Guest Information, and Referenced Links

Episode No. 43

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Full Transcript | Marketing Smarts Live Show Episode 43 | How Digital Creators Should Navigate the metaverse

This rough transcript is machine-generated. It's been only minimally edited by humans.

George B. Thomas: Welcome to the Marketing Smarts live show by MarketingProfs and the Marketing Smarts podcast, where we dive into B2B news, resources, valuable guest content, and much more each and every week. If you are a B2B marketer, looking for a place to learn, keep up to date, and have some fun along the way. Grab a beverage and notepad, or at least some style of writing utensil. And welcome to the show. All the hype surrounding the metaverse might seem like a good inceptive incentive for marketers to just jump on the bandwagon and try anything, follow trends, and see what sticks.

But digital media expert Patrik Wilkins says, that is not the way to go. Patrik continues. I think it's really important that you keep in mind to be authentic. There are some examples where people try to artificially attach themselves to something, and usually those experiments fail and are simply unsuccessful. Are you curious about the metaverse? Does your brand need to be there? How the heck would you even start the answer to those questions? More on this episode of The Marketing Smarts Live Show. Hello to all my Marketing Smarts live viewers. Today I'm super excited to bring you episode 43 of the Marketing Smarts Live Show. This week's topic is all about how digital creators should navigate the metaverse. So if you're ready to get your learn on buckle up and let's get ready to rock and roll. Hey, you know me, I'm your boy, George B. Thomas, speaker, trainer, catalyst, and the host of this year's show, the Marketing Smarts Live show, as well as the Marketing Smarts podcast found on your favorite podcast app.

Our guest clips today are brought to you by none other than Patrik Wilkins. vice-president of operations at TheSoul Publishing where he sets, implements, and drives short- and long-term operational and business development strategies across the company. Patrik has 14 years of experience as an executive leader in the digital and entertainment industries. As vice-president of mobile operations at Spil Games, he was a key player in the turnaround of the business and subsequent sale to Azerion. At Azerion, Patrik continued as vice-president of mobile operations and oversaw the integration of Spil Games into Azerion.

Now remember, the clips of Patrik Wilkins today are pulled from the full Marketing Smarts podcast episode. And if you wanna listen to the full interview with Patrik Wilkins and myself, make sure to tune into the Marketing Smarts podcast link to the full show. We'll be in the description below after the Live show ends.

Now in this episode, again, I'm talking with Patrik Wilkins about how digital creators should navigate the metaverse. Is that you? Anyway, when you think about real life marketing, you can't converse with a marketer without hearing words like trust, authenticity, reciprocity, empathy, or being human. But the metaverse is a completely new, and dare I say, completely different place than real life. So I was curious to ask Patrik, what are some metaverse tips, tricks and hacks marketers should be thinking about or leveraging? And here is what he had to say.

Patrik Wilkens: When I look at the metaverse and when I look at the people that I find and meet regularly in the metaverse, those people are digital natives, those people are looking for authenticity more than they care about whether or not a person is real or virtual.

Looking at Polar, for example, it's more important for Polar to be authentic in her native environment, which would be the virtual and also the metaverse, rather than they care about whether or not this is a real person. Obviously, we have a team behind Polar that is creating the music, that is creating the animations, that is creating the voice and everything, that are integrating her into the various games, for example. Not just Avakin Life, we also partner with another metaverse experience called Byte City, and we are planning to go live after Easter with a great seven-day event there.

Again, I think it's really important that you keep in mind to be authentic. There are some examples where people try to artificially attach themselves to something. It doesn't even have to be the metaverse. I think usually those experiments fail and they're not successful. They're only artificially successful if you pump in a lot of marketing budget. Stay as close to being human, whatever the definition of human is in the metaverse, stay as close to your authentic self. I think that's really important.

George B. Thomas: Interesting. So when things change, do they actually stay the same? Be human, be authentic, be you when you are in the metaverse, and did you catch it? Don't try to artificially attach yourself to something. Usually those types of experiments fail. Are you currently trying to market in the metaverse? Put the answer to that in the chat pane and let me know, or let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #mpB2B, and of course tag me using @GeorgeBThomas.

Now we'll get back to Patrik Wilkins and his thoughts on how digital creators should navigate the metaverse. But first I have to ask, are you part of the MarketingProfs community? If not, become part of the MarketingProfs community by heading over to That's

Now it's time for one of my favorite sections in the B2B news where we talk about breaking B2B news or really important tips we find on the Google News tab related to you and your B2B business this week. The title is More Than Two Thirds of B2B Buyers Want to Buy via an Avatar in the metaverse by Duncan McCray. The B2B buying experience is set for a revolution according to Wunderman Thompson Commerce and Tech Technologies. New B2B futures shopper report with 67% of B2B buyers wanting to conduct their online buying via an avatar in the metaverse. While this might seem fanciful, B2B buyers are desperate for experiences that expertly fuse together physical and digital interaction. And while the metaverse is the future, there is plenty that B2B sellers need to do right now. 71% of buyers want to shop with businesses that boast both physical and online ordering platforms, mirroring the demand for omnichannel experiences from B2C shoppers, and underscoring the incredibly complex desires of B2B customers. This article brings some valuable points and a few perspectives that marketers like you and I should be applying to the metaverse and other areas we may be trying to market in to read this article. Check out the link below when the live show is over. That's right, all the right links in all the right places adjust the right time.

So let's return to Patrik Wilkins and his Marketing Smarts podcast episode. As we start to market in new areas of the growing Internet, how the heck should we get started? I mean, let's be honest, we don't want to jump in the new waters with our full budget, and of course then watch that budget just float away. So how the heck can we get started? That's exactly what I asked Patrik next, How the heck can the marketing smarts B2B marketers get started in the metaverse. And here's what he shared from his own experience.

Patrik Wilkens: I think it's really important if you try out a lot of different things, especially new things, to prepare yourself that not all of your ideas will actually turn out to be successes. Probably all of them are going to be learning experiences, but not all are going to be a success.

For TheSoul Publishing, for example, we strive to be a leader in digital innovation and we're exploring a wide range of different metaverse touchpoints in music, gaming, and e-commerce. Not all of our projects are immediately successful. What we do look for, and what I like to focus on, are minimum viable products, or minimum viable services.

I mentioned earlier that we put some of our videos into Avakin Life. That was actually part of a tiered approach, not to invest millions into an experiment. To be honest, even earlier than that, it was a very frank conversation with a couple friends of mine who are running Lockwood Publishing, and we talked about our audience. After understanding that we have the same or very similar audience between Polar and Avakin Life, we then said, let's test that. Let's not just talk about it, but let's actually test it. So, we put the videos in. Those videos, as I mentioned, performed very well. As a next step then, Polar actually gave the world premiere of her song Close to You in Avakin Life.

Again, it's one test point. Then the budget for the next one is a little bit bigger, then the next is a little bit bigger. We as a company didn't go all-in, we started in bite sized chunks that we could actually justify to ourselves. That's not just in Avakin Life, but we are right now doing Byte City, and we're talking with a couple of other gaming companies with a number of other metaverse experiences to do a very similar approach.

That probably is advice I can give to everybody. You do not have to move into the metaverse with hundreds of thousands or millions of budget, you can probably do things already with like $10,000 or $20,000, or maybe $50,000 in budget and experiment to get the data. Really important, get the data. Go away from the hype. Everybody is talking metaverse and that it seems to be like a magic key that solves all of your problems. It's definitely not. It is something that needs to be evaluated for each company.

It's not for every company. For some of those companies we talked about that would fit, it's a great opportunity and they can iteratively approach the metaverse.

George B. Thomas: I like that Patrik said, don't go with the hype. It reminds me of the old song, Don't believe the hype. Anyway, did you catch a couple of tips? Two that come to mind for me are very important. Start by partnering with another brand, one that might have similarities with your own; and start out small, test your idea, and grow over time. What other tips do you get from that section? Reach out and let us know in the comments.

Now, we'll get back to Patrik in a few minutes, but first, it's time for some dope B2B learnings from the vault of MarketingProfs articles. That's right, it's time to dig into the treasure trove of valuable information and pull out two pieces of gold to help you be a better B2B marketer.

Article number one this week, What Does a B2B Marketing Team Look Like in the metaverse? by Robert Henderson. "As an entrepreneur, I often think about how advancements in technology will influence ways companies operate and serve customers. By now, almost every business founder is thinking about or discussing the metaverse. It's come up in conversation among colleagues, clients, friends, even at home. My focus has been on the impact the metaverse will have on the workplace, B2B marketing and sales." Are you having those conversations as well? Article two this week, Web 3.0, Blockchain, and the metaverse. You know what I do here? I always try to tie it in to the topic, but the rest of the title is Opportunities for B2B Marketing, by Marvin Ray Espino. When Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021, the world took it as a signal of transitioning to a new digital frontier. The metaverse, a different world that exists entirely online, is the central theme of the social giants rebranding. Meanwhile, companies around the globe have started to invest in the metaverse. H&M and Gucci have initiated the use of virtual reality to sell custom fit goods to customers. I just want everybody to hear that...Walt Disney Studios has filed a patent for its ongoing metaverse theme park. Ladies and gentlemen, let's start to pay attention for companies that directly sell products to consumers. Metaverse related investments are seen as vital because everyday consumers are more and more likely to patronize technology-adapting businesses.

But does the phenomenon also apply to businesses that cater to other businesses? I don't know. What do you think? Wanna keep learning more? If so, check out the links in the description below after the live show to get access to both of these amazing MarketingProfs articles.

OK, back to Patrik Wilkins. Let's dive back into this conversation of how digital creators should navigate the metaverse. I don't know about you, but one of the questions I like to know the answer to is what does success look like when you gotta hit the bullseye. I'm just saying, when you know what you need to hit or where you need to go, it makes hitting it or getting their way easier. Now, of course, success is different for each company, but at least we can get you aimed in the right direction. So I simply ask Patrik, What the heck does success look like for B2B marketers when marketing in the metaverse? And ladies and gentlemen, here are his thoughts.

Patrik Wilkens: It's probably different for everybody. Apart from the obvious return on advertising spend or return on investment as a very clear KPI that I do think everybody should look at, regardless of all the other things, the metaverse is new. When you establish thought leadership, when you have an opportunity to be on a podcast, I think that's a really good indicator, when you do projects that are critically acclaimed, not just by the newspapers, but also by the fans.

The great stuff in the metaverse is you have direct feedback. When you do a traditional TV campaign, it might take some time before somebody tells you how they actually perceived it. Once you do something in the metaverse, you have direct commentary, feedback, chats. You have people doing memes, and if the memes are positive then that is also certainly a great indicator of success.

If you really push the boundaries of something that hasn't been done before, but is then being done afterward, like let's talk about the first metaverse concert that existed. I think the people that pushed the boundary there and the marketing teams that got attached to that rally delivered a proof of concept that is defined by who else and what caliber of people are trying to replicate their success.

Again, apart from the obvious KPIs, these would be my definitions of success in the metaverse.

George B. Thomas: ROI, return on investment. When you start to build thought leadership on the platform, what are the people, the chats, and the memes pointing to? Interesting. That sounds a lot like listening to your customer or VOC again... Does everything change but nothing changes all at the same time? How would you define success if you're marketing in the metaverse right now? Let us know if you have a success story we need to share with the world.

We'll get some words of wisdom from Patrik here in a few minutes, but right now it's time to turn the spotlight on you, the MarketingProfs community. Yep. Time for from the #MPB2B community. We searched far and wide in the #MPB2B universe to find amazing information and conversations to bring to you the masses. So first, make sure you're using the hashtag and second, make sure you have fun and add value to the community along the way.

Then we'll spotlight you or your crew on the show. And of course, this week it's, well, from our very own Ann Handley, her post, or, well, actually, first of all, if you don't know, which hopefully you do, Ann Handley is a digital marketing and content expert, Wall Street Journal bestselling author, keynote speaker, writer, and she posted: "Hello, B2B marketing friends, I have an idea for you. If you have 2022 budget you need to use or lose by the time the ball drops on New Year's Eve and you kiss 2022, bye-bye. I have an idea for a gift to give yourself. Hint, it involves the earliest birds, worms, and cookies. PS, I'll drop the link in the first comment below, #B2B marketing #mp b2b #earlybirdoffer #useitorloseit. And of course, the link goes to a page that has the potential to change your marketing career and maybe even your life forever." Well, you'll see what the link goes to, but you need to check out the description and click that link to check out the post and learn more.

Marketing smarts, views. I have to ask, Are you going to be next to get the spotlight? Remember, community, use the hashtag #mpB2B on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, and get the light shined on your awesomeness in the next episode or a future episode of the Marketing Smarts Live Show. Pro tip, it won't hurt if you tag me in your post as well. I'm @GeorgeBThomas on LinkedIn and Twitter and Mr. George B. Thomas on Facebook.

All right, let's kick it back to Patrik and some words of wisdom around this topic of how you, as a digital creator, B2B marketer, should navigate the metaverse. Here is what Patrik Wilkins wanted to leave us with. Here are his words of wisdom.

Patrik Wilkens: Final words of wisdom in regard to the metaverse is, again, be aware that the metaverse is an evolving thing, that it will be different a year from now than it is today. That you and your team and your company can actually be part of it and not just participate, but proactively shape it with great ideas, with innovative thoughts and projects that you're putting out.

You don't have to spend millions, despite some popular news articles. You can actually create minimum viable products and services and iteratively move forward in the metaverse. We've done that at TheSoul Publishing, and it worked really well for us. I think other companies can replicate that.

Be aware that there is a new audience. Gen Z, Gen Alpha, they are digital natives, they experience the metaverse and experience digital differently than you or I, and they expect a different performance. They do not want anything that is artificially put in there. They will identify that really fast.

I think one of the successes for Polar or for TheSoul Publishing is that we are a digital-first company, we are trying to make a native experience for all of our fans. Whether or not this is on Social media where we have a billion followers, whether or not this is in music where we have up and coming stars in the metaverse where we do a concert with millions of people, we try to be as authentic as we can be and, very important, we listen to our fans.

When you see what Polar's first experience in the metaverse has been, then you see the fan comments, and then you see the second experience, you will definitely see that we listened to the fan feedback. I think that's the other really positive thing in the metaverse. Be ready to be quick, fast, and agile, because you will get immediate feedback, positive or negative, and you need to be able to take that feedback and turn it into new product ideas, and you need to keep delivering on those experiences because that's what your fans are going to expect.

George B. Thomas: You don't have to spend millions. You can move iteratively through and in the Metaverse. Be aware there is a new audience out there, and that audience is focused on it feeling real, even though it's in a digital space. Be agile with your feedback from your fans. So many good words of wisdom from Patrik.

Ladies and gentlemen, have you enjoyed today's journey? Let us know. Use that hashtag #mpB2B on whatever platform you are joining us on. It's time. That's right. Time flies when you're having fun. Head to the description below. Click on the link to the full Marketing Smarts podcast with Patrik Wilkins and keep on learning more about how digital creators should navigate the metaverse moving forward. Remember, these were just a few clips of the original Marketing Smarts podcast interview. If you got value from today's show, hit that like, and better yet, share it with a coworker or to keep learning more; hit subscribe or watch additional MarketingProfs videos on your favorite social channel, or head over to our YouTube channel if you're not there yet. Or you can go tune into the original Marketing Smarts podcast episode on your favorite podcast app. Don't forget to become part of the MarketingProfs community by heading over to And as always, remember, be happy, helpful, humble B2B marketing human, and we'll see you on the next episode of the Marketing Smarts Live Show next week.

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image of George B. Thomas

George B. Thomas is a marketer, video Jedi, and HubSpot certified trainer with 25+ years of sales and marketing experience. George is owner and HubSpot Helper at He has a record-breaking 38 HubSpot sales, marketing, service, CRM, and CMS certifications. George harnesses his expertise in graphic design, Web development, video editing, social media marketing, and inbound marketing to partner with, teach, and develop solutions for companies looking to develop their businesses and increase their revenue.

LinkedIn: George B. Thomas

Twitter: @GeorgeBThomas