This article is an introduction to web3 and blockchain marketing, which I share with founders and marketers who want to learn and try this field. My name is Daria Volkova. I’m an Advisor on Business Development and Brand Marketing & Communications for web3 products.
There is less information in blockchain marketing than in other industries. This is both bad and good. It’s bad because the knowledge base is limited, and few people are ready to share their experiences with you. Good, because you can be the first in the niche if you find some growth hacking tools.
Also, it is worth knowing that standard lead generation does not work, and they are relevant for centralized projects like crypto exchanges but not for Web3.
So, to begin with, let’s analyze in more detail what Web3 is, why blockchain is here, and how this version of the web changes the format of interaction on the Internet.
What are the features of different stages of the web?
WEB 1.0 — CONSUMPTION
Traditional media readers found content online and performed limited operations.
WEB 2.0 — CONSUMPTION AND CREATION
The emergence of complex databases, social platforms, mobile innovations and cloud technologies. UGC, behavioral retargeting, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.
WEB 3.0 — CONSUMPTION, CREATION AND MANAGEMENT
An era of greater individual ownership and decentralized systems. Ownership is tokenized, and we can bet on new technology that is more open to the community.
Many projects are being created for Web3, but all of them are built on blockchains.
Blockchains — there are high-performance blockchains that support smart contracts and decentralized applications. Most of them use a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism with a low barrier to entry. Most popular are Ethereum, Solana, Polygon, Cosmos, Binance Smart Chain, and NEAR.
Also, there are Layer2 solutions, zero-knowledge rollups, and other types of blockchain products related to Ethereum network. zkSync Era, Scroll, Optimism, Arbitrum are examples of such products.
Blockchain protocols are the basis for different projects creating web3 ecosystem. For example:
DeFi — is the movement that leverages decentralized networks to transform old financial products into trustless and transparent protocols that run without intermediaries. PancakeSwap, UniSwap, Sushiswap, Aave, and Curve Finance are the most popular DeFi products.
Additionally, I want to highlight crypto wallets with Account Abstraction built on Ethereum. They provide greater security and have an easy user onboarding process. This is one of the critical aspects of the mass adoption of blockchain and DeFi. There are few wallets - Argent, Safe, and Ambire Wallet.
NFT Collections and Platforms — digital marketplaces for crypto collectibles and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The most popular are OpenSea, Rarible, Blur, and Binance NFT Marketplace.
Metaverse Spaces. The idea behind the metaverse is to create a space similar to the internet, but more tangible, so that users can interact with the world via digital avatars. The most popular are Sandbox, Decentraland, Spatial, Roblox and Upland.
Social Media and Content Creation Platforms — traditional social media are dull, insecure, and oversaturated with ads. The Web3-developed social platforms like Mirror, Mastodon, Bluesky, Steemit are more relevant for the new way to interact.
DAOs. The abbreviation DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it's a digital organization run by a set of rules encoded on a blockchain. A DAO is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by any single entity but rather by a group of token holders who can make decisions about the organization's activities and development. Maker DAO, Compound Finance, Uniswap, Aave, Arbitrum are examples of the DAOs.
So, we figured out what Web3 is and what types of projects there are. Now let’s move on to the part where I will explain the features of marketing such projects and how they differ from e-commerce or FMCG marketing.
Genuinely successful projects are always based on ideology, values and an understanding of their otherness. To be an outstanding project, you must create and develop a unique brand based on a system of values. It should be revealed in the logo, font style, visual design, external communication strategy, and all words and actions of the company.
The values should be such that you can build a solid foundation on their basis and attract future team members. Also, values will help you in the stage of creating your brand story, so don’t skip this important part.
In order for you to work successfully with this database, you need knowledge of brand strategy and the ability to move from details to the big picture, to think globally and to be able to transform meanings into visuals.
Storytelling will help you immerse your audience in your ideology and make your brand memorable. It will be good if your story is related to the mission and reflects your values.
Talk about the future, not the past.
When promoting blockchain products, it is important to talk about the future, not the past, because you are creating something new and this new thing may not be clear at first. Although no one knows about the project at the beginning, a well-crafted narrative is indispensable. When the project grows, storytelling is also necessary, because it adds value and meaning.
A good example of storytelling in the marketing of the Chainlink project.
Chainlink is a decentralized oracle project whose role is to provide real-world data to the blockchain in the most secure way. This gradually led the market to think that Chainlink was the oracle, equating the entire category with a brand that created a narrative and raised the bar for competitors.
Success depends on whether you can get people to believe in and use your products. It will not be possible to simply buy traffic or launch targeted advertising in social networks. Community relations and mutual trust are of great importance.
The customer isn’t always right, but a community’s consensus likely is.
Best platforms to build web3, blockchain or crypto community:
Discord — a platform where you must have your profile if you are promoting a blockchain project. Discord servers are organized into topic-based channels where you can collaborate and share without clogging up a group chat. If you’re not in Discord, you’re not in the blockchain/web3 market.
Reddit — a platform that combines the features of a social network and a forum where registered users can post links to any information they like on the Internet and discuss it. The community of Reddit is very strong and has its own rules and values.
Twitter — On Twitter, you can meet Vitalik Buterin, Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, Sam Altman and many other outstanding people from the field of blockchain and IT products. Also, Twitter supports the NFT format as an avatar, so people can put pictures on their avatars, emphasizing their affiliation with the brand and becoming ambassadors.
Telegram — is the messenger, most popular in Eastern Europe, but now it is becoming more widespread around the world. It is convenient to create channels and chats, group by interests, create customized and animated stickers. Telegram as a company is trying to move towards web3 — this can be seen from the product features they add.
Steemit — this platform is very similar to Reddit. There is an opportunity to create your own topics, write articles, most of the topics are devoted to cryptocurrencies and blockchain products. This project is built on the blockchain. Upon registration, a Tron account and wallet are created for you.
Airdrop in blockchain marketing — is a strategy that involves sending coins or tokens to wallet addresses. Small amounts of the new virtual currency are sent to the wallets of active members of the blockchain community for free or in return for a small service, such as retweeting a post sent by the company issuing the currency. The ultimate goal of a crypto airdrop is to promote awareness and circulation of a new token or coin.
In November 2021, the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) protocol distributed 25 million ENS DAO tokens via an airdrop. Similarly, popular decentralized exchange, Uniswap, conducted a retroactive airdrop for its users in late 2020. The list goes on with the likes of Trust Wallet Token (TWT), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and more.
In March 2023, Arbitrum launched a great airdrop and created a DAO. I have a video about Arbitrum’s advertising campaign. It can be interesting for marketers:
The blockchain community loves to create and laugh at memes. As a marketer, you should create yourself and encourage your followers to create thematic memes for your project. They can be specific and not understood by everyone outside the community, but inside it should be the social glue.
In Discord, a separate branch with memes is often made, where participants share their creativity. Here I show a meme dedicated to Ethereum:
Blockchain business is built in such a way that it is vital to build partnerships with other projects. This is due to the need to use technology — the more projects that use your technology, the more chances you have for success.
Below I will give an example of how you can successfully combine offline mass market and niche technologies to increase customer loyalty and develop the employer brand.
Starbucks is the most popular brand of coffee shop in the world. Polygon is one of the most promising blockchain projects that creates a complete ecosystem of products around it. Their partnership pleasantly surprises and draws attention to their brands of people from different fields.
Starbucks and Polygon have created a new Web3 experience for Starbucks Rewards members and Starbucks employees in the US. In “Starbucks® Odyssey”, they can earn and buy unique NFTs through Polygon PoS.
First of all, this is the story of the collaboration of a brand from an offline mass market and a technology company. This makes the blockchain closer to mass adoption, I wrote about it, and for the image of the Starbucks brand, such an info drive is cool in itself.
Secondly, NFT in this particular case is an exclusive commodity and gives access to a coffee experience not available to others.
The technical capabilities of the blockchain network, its ecosystem, and its course for sustainable development have already brought Polygon partnerships with Adobe, Stripe and Dolce Gabbana.
Polygon’s collaboration with Starbucks and other classic businesses is an excellent example of how cross-industry B2B partnerships increase companies’ brand awareness and accelerate mass adoption of Web3.
It would help if you had a “talking head”, preferably several, who can convey the technological and ideological value of the company. As a rule, these are the CEO, CTO, COO, and heads of business areas.
You can increase recognition and trust with the help of social networks, live broadcasts and interviews, speeches at events.
Events for the blockchain industry are another way to develop a community and present your project to the general public. The most popular event formats: conference, meetup, hackathon. You can set up a branded stand, perform on stage or present your idea in a startup battle.
I added images of several thematic events to this article, but of course there are many more.
You can find a list of major blockchain events around the world by following the link: https://bravenewcoin.com/events
Sponsorship is more often than not spending a large amount of money to increase brand awareness, it is an image and reputational cost when a company wants to be associated with a particular community or event.
Sponsorship has several expected functions:
Leverages of brand influence
Access to the fan base
Ability to create a “word of mouth” effect
Sponsorship is now very popular among СeFi crypto projects, where it is necessary to reach as large an audience as possible and promote the project through famous athletes or other celebrities.
Such crypto exchanges like Binance, OKX, Kraken, Crypto.com and others have become title partners of sports events — Formula 1, FIFA and the NBA.
There is great doubt that such sponsorship will greatly increase the number of registrations and the company’s income. Sponsorships usually cost tens and hundreds of millions of dollars, so it is an expensive pleasure with an unpredictable effect.
To digitize the effect of sponsorship, there must be activation and interaction with users. This can be a reward in the form of fantokens or NFTs for fans dedicated to a certain event. In any case, you need to think twice or thrice before spending a large budget on sponsorship.
It’s not necessary to fully know the technology stack 100%, but you should understand the philosophy of Web3. Marketers should explore opportunities and test hypotheses as early as possible, as this field evolves every second. Don’t wait. Do!