This article is the opinion of Catalin only, and does not represent those of E2News. Feel free to write a comment with your view.
Tobalobba's Note: I highly recommend reading this article closely as it answered many answers I had, and raised some new ones. Happy July!
I'll write about a different niche: E-commerce.
Any Ecommerce business has 4 pillars that drive revenue:
Range & Content
Fulfillment & Operational processes
Customer Care & Support
Brand awareness & Performance Marketing
Business health is the same with the health of the weakest pillar. For Earth2, which is not a game nor an investment platform, and which is not a social media platform, but also isn't a service provider, I find the Ecommerce comparison a fit.
Range & Content
For E-commerce, content is the foundation of the business. Content is the only thing needed for the customer to decide that the product or service they are "looking at" is the one they need to resolve their problem or satisfy their needs. There is nothing else that can replace content in the decision process.
What is Range & Content:
- Diversity: The bigger the range (more products or more options), the better.
- Price: This is content. Price is important. Price also must be transparent, explained and it must comply with local/global regulations (for example: VAT is important to be mentioned, a discount has to comply with competition laws specific to each country, etc.)
- Technical specifications: size, color, weight, compatibility, model, etc.
- Visuals: pictures, videos, etc.
- Static content: This is the "story" behind the scene either for each product/service or the "blog" where the business communicates news, tests, fails, success stories, etc.
How is Range & Content relevant for Earth2?
First of all, it is, with no doubt. Because Earth2 sells virtual land, membership, or access to a service (entertainment). Customers (players) need to clearly understand the relationship between price and value for what they buy. The range is vast. It isn't an eCommerce with 20k products, but it's a platform where a customer needs to go through a complex decision-making process before deciding what to buy.
With all the secrecy around revealing information, there are ways to create content that satisfies the need for information without disclosing sensitive details. It's the same case with a Coca-Cola bottle where you have the ingredients without having the recipe.
Secondly, Earth2 is a new concept, with a very disruptive approach on selling digital services. I am not saying Earth2 is a game, because it is not yet a game, and I'm sure that when the game will be released, it will be very different from all games we know. For this reason, content is the best ingredient to keep customers engaged and interested. The gap between what a customer sees and what a brand doesn't say is always filled with content & communication.
Bottom line: Earth2.io needs to have a strong content strategy and cover all the angles on what they sell, how, what are the rules, what are the benefits, and what's in for the medium-long term? If we would discuss "shoes" instead of virtual land, we would have to have size, color, materials, a reason for the $3000 a customer needs to pay for it, etc., you get the point.
Fulfillment & Operational processes
For an ecommerce business, the second "must" is "processes". An Ecommerce business must ship, process returns, upload new products, change the content for existing projects, manage stock, comply with security and customer data regulations, have audit processes in place to foresee risks before they happen, streamline invoices, payments, reconciliation in back-office and a lot more.
How are Fulfilment & Operational processes relevant for Earth2?
First of all, fulfillment isn't relevant, but operational processes are. For Earth2, the processes refer to:
- Add and change static content
- CI/CD & development process to be agile, flexible, adaptable, and fast
- Have lean processes in finance & accounting (always know how much money, from whom and when you received it, generate automatic tax information for all paying customers depending on legislation, etc.)
- Business management to be lean and fast - decision making, delegation, responsibility, etc. As a startup company that experienced hypergrowth, you should be able to change and adapt with the same "hyper" as the growth.
Bottom line: Team structure, decision making, delegation, and Development are priorities, agnostic of phases or technology.
Customer Care & Support
I'll focus on "Care". Ecommerce businesses are "customer-centric" companies. Everything is built around customer needs. "Customer first" is the winning strategy.
How is "Customer Care & Support" relevant for Earth2?
The trick here is that Earth2 didn't need to listen to the customers before building their product/service. It is a trick because the enthusiasm of the hypergrowth can make you blind and don't focus too much on customers or the community. Trust is usually built in months or years, but it can be lost in seconds. Earth2 players shouldn't request withdrawals, and the ones that do, shouldn't be affected by the immature withdrawal process. But, when you lose the trust of your customers, more will want a withdrawal (or return / refund) and your immature process becomes a problem, or, worst, an extra argument for your unhappy customers to distrust you.
Brand awareness & performance marketing
Brand awareness is built around the added value that the company offers to its clients. The purpose of marketing is to make others talk about you. Of course, with at least neutral sentiment of the conversations.
Performance marketing is what a company does to efficiently (from a cost perspective) generate sales, acquire more customers and increase customer recurrence.
How is "Brand awareness & performance marketing" relevant for Earth2?
Earth2's plans are to develop a metaverse, a platform where players will trade and develop land/properties, access game-play functionalities, advertise and so much more we can only assume at this point. Earth2 needs to be recognized as the No.1 player in this market. They are the "market testers" and once they prove there is a niche, the big money will just join and customers will have to choose to "play Earth2" as the main metaverse. For this, they need to be aware of the brand and the added value that comes with it.
The "selling pitch" was that once you're rich in Earth2, you'll be rich in the real world too. No matter the interpretation, Earth2 clarified the fact that their platform can be used for generating revenue for their players. But a revenue stream for the players implies a very high in-platform liquidity. Performance marketing implies acting on data-driven insights on customer segmentation, with clear KPIs that at monitored continuously so the marketing cost per KPI is always optimum.
The expectations and the reason why
We know Earth2 will be delivered in 3 Phases. There's a lot of speculation around what will be delivered but reading between the lines and referring to what we know:
will kick off in July, 2021 by having Essence or Jewels available and EPLs.
will probably be rolled out on the React framework.
React framework migration will not include Front-End redesign.
will be iterated continuously until Phase3 is ready.
The reasons why we are where we are:
Earth2 is in full business management reshuffle with defining roles, responsibilities and decide on a roadmap (is more about planning and estimation than deciding)
They have to figure out processes and communication (Development, Content, PR, Marketing) and build the pillars.
They are a technology company with no experience in Marketing or even Web Development.
Their core product when releasing the MVP (current website where you can buy and trade land) was the Terrain System they build on top of Unity (and by extending Unity core functionalities) for the 3rd Phase.
Leave your thoughts in the comments and if you liked this and you're a millionaire, just...