Marketing in web3: why, how & 10 use cases

Trust in marketing is eroding

And rightfully so. Marketing once was an art.

At best; an art of seduction.

At worst; an art of making supply and demand meet.

Today, it has become a persuasion nightmare. A distraction machine. One that is fueling big platform centralization. Shortcutting ways into our lizard brain for short term highs. Trampling our privacy rights. Sponsoring centralized censorship on freedom of speech. Leading people to consume more of things they don’t need. At the cost of their own health and the planet’s. Disregarding our long-term goals and wellbeing. Trying to masquerade it all with a sprinkle of purpose. As lipstick on a pig on its way to the slaughterhouse.

All right.. that was a bit much.

No. Marketing is not pure evil. Marketing is an important part of business. Of society. A force for good even. For growth, for change, for improvement, for culture.

But somewhere — in the web2 age of profiling data and platforms — we took a wrong turn. Seduced by the power of all knowing, all seeing platforms. But power corrupts. And absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is time to go back now. To the core of the web. Make marketing great again.

Let’s decentralize marketing.

Decentralized = community, win-win-win & NFT’s

What if marketing would be aligned to community goals and wellbeing? Creating win-win-win’s?

Purpose helps. But it needs to be a shared purpose. Build by a core community, believed by your target audience.

Marketing in most organizations has its natural tendency to go from centralized to more decentralized. Mostly meaning that the marketing team of a market/brand gets more or less freedom to operate vs a global/holding centralized marketing team. But let’s face it, that never changed much.

Decentralization by adding value, not just changing functions.
Decentralization by adding value, not just changing functions.

Real marketing decentralization needs to go further.

· Stop talking. Start listening.

· Stop sending. Start community.

· Stop zero-sum games. Start creating win-win-win’s.

· Stop with pro influencers. Start engaging a real community of fans.

· Stop marketing to stakeholders (consumer, business, employees, society, shareholders). Start marketing with stakeholders.

· Stop marketing by the marketing team. Start marketing through any individual inside and outside your company.

· Stop the corporate marketing voice. Start a community of marketeers. Bring a trusted voice.

· Stop only financing web2 & platform centralization. Start financing creators, artists once more, create win-win-wins.

“A passionate community of 50k people is worth as much as a media budget of $300 million.” Chris Dixon, Andreessen Horrowitz, cofounder.

Web3 is not just about technologies. It is a societal and cultural shift. In how we want to order and create value in the world. And marketing — the function once most closely to culture and growth — is taking attention.

Not just because that is inclusive or more democratic. But because it will increase trust, create more impact and better results.

Marketing with people, not to.
Marketing with people, not to.

NFT: financial incentives make business inclusive

Non-fungible tokens (NFT’s) do help. This tokenization of assets provides a great direct way to distribute ownership of many things. Trustworthy, decentralized and censorship resistant. The NFT is the decentralized blockchain registry to connect ownership to any kind of asset. Intangible and tangible. This goes way beyond fashion and media. This can be applied to any industry.

A mental model for the tokenization of the world by @punk6529
A mental model for the tokenization of the world by @punk6529

As such NFT’s can align organization commercial goals to individual commercial incentives for your fans, your customers. Not just your shareholders. It is fractionalizing ownership. Beyond just carrying a stock.

Fans, NFT, Stockholders by Tim Walther, Metaverse & NFT at Volkswagen Group
Fans, NFT, Stockholders by Tim Walther, Metaverse & NFT at Volkswagen Group

Fashion, luxury, automotive & sneaker brands are the first to get it. They have seen the value of having a community of marketeers carrying their brand. First on their bodies, now in their wallets, later; on their avatars. Just look at the groundbreaking work of brands like Nike, adidas, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana. They already launched multiple projects.

Media also gets it. Media folks are used to sell virtual experiences, goods. It is not strange to them. And they have been disillusioned by the current configuration of the internet. With the intermediaries that stand in between them and their audiences. Time, Disney, NBA and DC have already launched multiple NFT collections. In the Netherlands the media industry — private & public — are huddling together around web3 to get their edge back.

How to start: 10 concrete web3 marketing use cases

All use cases below are described in a similar way.

  • They start with WHY for the marketeer; than describe the HOW; explain DIFFERENTATION to current day; and end with OUTCOME for the customer.

  • Each has links to some current examples. Many of these examples combine multiple use cases in the project.

  • Listed loosely from easy to hard to execute; which will depend per company clearly.

  1. Proof of engagement: Build brand awareness and create customer insights; with NFT’s that proof attendance of - or engagement at - a physical or digital event; a transparent, unchangeable proof of engagement at a particular point in time and place; a fun way of acknowledging an engagement. Examples by Kia, Golden State Warriors, Skoda.

  2. Brand heritage: Build awareness and loyalty; by (co)creating an NFT collection that captures part of our brand history; that aligns commercial interest with these owners; own a piece of the brand and grow together. Examples by Budweiser, Atari, Porsche.

  3. Unique digital art: Build awareness with a particular audience; by (co)creating NFT art piece(s); that are digitally owned; own and enjoy digital art. Examples by Time, Audi, Chicago Bulls.

  4. Collectible and/or PFP: Build awareness, loyalty or additional revenue; by (co)creating and maintaining an NFT collection; that creates a community that promotes the brand; and aligns commercial interest with that community; grow together. Examples by NBA, Pepsi, Volkswagen.

  5. Community with utility: Build awareness and loyalty; by (co)creating and maintaining an NFT collection that creates a community that receives continued benefits and/or promotes the brand; and aligns commercial interest with that community; grow together. Examples by Nike, Hot Wheels, Lacoste.

  6. Reward loyalty & data: Build loyalty, increase revenue per customer; by (co)creating and maintaining an NFT collection that creates a tiered loyalty system rewarding owners for engagement (engage/share/play/move/data to earn); creating a transferable and censorship resistant program, improving trust and aligning commercial interest; value they own for their engagement. Examples by Starbucks, Dolce & Gabbana and Scotch & Soda.

  7. Proof authenticity: Build brand trust, get insights in secondary sales; by providing NFT’s that proof the authenticity of a product; creating trust with customers, increased value at secondary sales through immutable proof of authenticity. Examples by Prada, Tiffany.

  8. Allow self-sovereign identity & currency: Build positive brand perception and increase customer potential by offering account creation through wallet approval and crypto currency as payments; allowing users to fully own their own identity and what they share with you; creating inclusivity and respect for customer privacy. Examples by Google Cloud, Balenciaga, McDonalds.

  9. Verify brand promise: Build brand trust; by storing supply chain transactions and/or other company metrics on a blockchain and/or connected to brand promises and making it accessible to customers; creating increased level of certainty of truth due to the immutable nature of blockchain; better ways to validate the truth behind the brand promise. Examples by Tropic Skincare, Polestar.

  10. Experiment with AR and VR: Build awareness and engagement; by offering a temporary experience in an AR or VR environment; offering unique experience or an alternative channel; unique experiences for enjoyment. Examples by Louis Vuitton, Magnum (Unilever) and adidas.

Conclusion; it is still early..

All this does not change the core of marketing.

· Your product needs to matter.

· You need to be at all the right places.

· Your promotions still need to be there.

· Your price needs to be right.

There is still a lot of work to be done. We need to determine the right way to measure the outcomes of these use cases. It is easy to look at primary and secondary revenue sales of NFT cases. Those are all public on the blockchain. Dashboards on Dune like these give a good overview of the larger brands. But that probably is not the best metric to measure the impact of a community of marketeers. We need to look at better more holistic measures. But that has always been the struggle with marketing. At least that is not changing..

“Brands innovating now should care about having a great brand experience, just not yet about reach.”

Nicolas Daude-Lagrave, Global Digital Director at BALENCIAGA

I have collected over 260 web 3 case studies from brands. Growing more quickly every day. I am sharing 3 every week.

Subscribe below to receive these or drop me a DM for the link to the database.

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