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Marketing in the Metaverse: An Approach to Improve Customer Experience (RDF23/MOS/SUTHERLAND)

   Faculty of Business and Law

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  Dr Matthew Sutherland, Dr Alyaa Darwish  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Customer experience is a key marketing concept. Meyer and Christopher (2007:2) defined it as “encompassing every aspect of a company's offering—the quality of customer care, of course, but also advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use, and reliability. It is the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company”. Customer experience is a complex concept that includes behavioural, sensorial, cognitive, emotional, and social aspects (Verhoef et al. 2009). Positive customer experience helps in improving marketing efficiency, developing customer loyalty, and generating revenues leading to overall business success.

Metaverse is a virtual world where people work, shop, and interact with one another using avatars. In order to provide the users with an immersive experience, a mix of 3D technology, virtual reality, and augmented reality is used. Metaverse is built upon the concepts of presence, immersion, and interactivity. It helps businesses to stand out from the crowd and better engage with their customers. Metaverse marketing has a special importance when it comes to reaching out to millennials and generation Z. Many brands are currently investing in the metaverse. Tech giants have created their own metaverse platforms for instance; Meta, Niantic, Decentraland, and Roblox. While others are collaborating with these technology brands to market and advertise their products on their platforms for instance, Microsoft, Gucci, Nike, Louis Vuitton, Disney and Coca-Cola. The metaverse market is expected to be worth around $800 billion by 2024 (Hetler, 2022).

This research will look at the opportunities as well as the challenges of metaverse marketing, how consumer-to-consumer interaction on metaverses may impact the customer experience, and how metaverse can support value co-creation. This is an exploratory study that could achieve its objectives through using qualitative or quantitative research. The outcome of this research will help marketers to better understand the metaverse and its opportunities and how to overcome its challenges, it will also help marketers to use the metaverse technology to its maximum potential to enhance value co-creation, and support customer experiences.

Academic Enquiries

This project is supervised by Dr. Alyaa Darwish. For informal queries, please contact Dr. Alyaa Darwish [Email Address Removed]. For all other enquiries relating to eligibility or application process please use the email form below to contact Admissions. 

Funding Information

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2022/23 full-time study this is £17,668 per year) and full tuition fees. Studentships are also available for applicants who wish to study on a part-time basis over 5 years (0.6 FTE, stipend £10,600 per year and full tuition fees) in combination with work or personal responsibilities). 

Please also see further advice below of additional costs that may apply to international applicants.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
  • Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
  • Applicants cannot apply for this funding if they are already a PhD holder or if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

 Please note: to be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have settled status, or
  • have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student. Applicants will need to be in the UK and fully enrolled before stipend payments can commence, and be aware of the following additional costs that may be incurred, as these are not covered by the studentship.

  • Immigration Health Surcharge
  • If you need to apply for a Student Visa to enter the UK, please refer to the information on It is important that you read this information very carefully as it is your responsibility to ensure that you hold the correct funds required for your visa application otherwise your visa may be refused.
  • Check what COVID-19 tests you need to take and the quarantine rules for travel to England
  • Costs associated with English Language requirements which may be required for students not having completed a first degree in English, will not be borne by the university. Please see individual adverts for further details of the English Language requirements for the university you are applying to.

How to Apply

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see  

For applications to be considered for interview, please include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words and the advert reference (e.g. RDF23/…).

Deadline for applications: 27 January 2023

Start date of course: 1 October 2023 tbc

Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our doctoral students. We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme. We also hold the HR Excellence in Research award for implementing the concordat supporting the career Development of Researchers.


Buhalis, D., Lin, M. S., & Leung, D. (2022). Metaverse as a driver for customer experience and value co-creation: implications for hospitality and tourism management and marketing. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Bushell, C. (2022). The Impact of Metaverse on Branding and Marketing. Available at SSRN 4144628.
Hetler, A. (2022). Marketing in the metaverse: What marketers need to know. Available at: Accessed on 7.11.2022
Hollensen, S., Kotler, P., & Opresnik, M. O. (2022). Metaverse–the new marketing universe. Journal of Business Strategy.
Dwivedi, Y. K., Hughes, L., Baabdullah, A. M., Ribeiro-Navarrete, S., Giannakis, M., Al-Debei, M. M., ... & Kim, J. (2021). Advertising in the Metaverse: Research agenda. Journal of Interactive Advertising, 21(3), 141-144.
Meyer, Christopher and Andre Schwager (2007), “Understanding Customer Experience,” Harvard Business Review, 85 (2), 117–26.

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