Photo by Jefferson Santos on Unsplash
Marketing in the blockchain industry is not for the faint of heart.
Like other emerging industries in tech, blockchain is a highly technical field with significant financial, political, and regulatory challenges, yet also an incredibly captivating narrative and potential for explosive growth. While you may be blissfully out-of-date with your blockchain marketing trends, your target customers, and competitors, are not.
With the new year (and decade) right around the corner, here are 6 blockchain marketing trends for 2020:
Trend #1: Crypto Twitter takes the reigns from Reddit, Telegram, and BitcoinTalk
2019 saw Twitter take the reigns from Reddit, Telegram, and BitcoinTalk as the blockchain industry’s dominant communication platform in the United States. The reasons for this are twofold.
As blockchain companies mature and institutionalize, their communications inevitably become more buttoned up. Brands are choosing to stay a layer above the crypto wars, trolls, and FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) that have become so prevalent in community driven channels like Reddit, Telegram, and BitcoinTalk. Telegram’s purpose, in particular, was to provide a means of getting questions answered quickly leading up to a token sale. With the drastic decrease in token sales, and serious feature flaws like no captcha to screen users, Telegram’s use case as a community growth channel is becoming obsolete.
Apart from Twitter, another communication platform that I really believe in for 2020 is LinkedIn. In the past 3 years, LinkedIn has transformed from a job-seekers platform into a content platform with insanely high organic reach. LinkedIn is where Facebook was 7 years ago, and blockchain projects would be remiss to miss out on the opportunity in 2020.
Trend #2: Goodbye Medium, hello Ghost
When you publish to Medium, you lose control of your content. Medium now owns your content and drives traffic to its own services, not yours. You can link your site, but rarely anyone clicks through after reading your post.
Medium is an aggregator. At the end of the day, you still need to promote your content across your marketing channels to get eyeballs. Instead of sending a reader to your own site where they can learn more about what you do, you’re sending them to another site and into another company’s customer acquisition funnel.
Whether its for policy reasons or for better SEO and conversion, expect the blockchain exodus from Medium to continue in 2020.
Trend #3: Moats will almost be non-existent, other than brands
Moats in the blockchain space are slowly disappearing. Competing projects are copying each other left and right. Surviving off cool technology, ICO proceeds, and operational efficiency is not enough. Something could be working for your project now, but it won’t last forever. What is a strong moat for blockchain organizations in 2020 and even a stronger one in the future?
If your brand doesn’t occupy a defined position in the minds of users/customers (and the prospective market), someone else will come and articulate their value better than you and occupy the position you want.
It may not matter if you are the first to deliver a product. You need to be first in occupying that specific position in the minds of your target market. Some macro examples of blockchain projects that are doing this successfully:
Bitcoin → Digital gold
Ethereum → Programmable blockchain
Coinbase → Simple cryptocurrency exchange
MakerDAO → Powering Decentralized Finance
Tether → Stablecoin
Cosmos & Polkadot → Blockchain interoperability
Build a brand, or bust.
Trend #4: Education trumps fear. Don’t sell, educate.
New things scare people. We live in a time when people form strong opinions before they know the facts. If something causes fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD), the majority of people are hardwired to avoid it.
The antidote to fear is education. Crypto still suffers from a lack of understanding and basic knowledge. As marketers in a sector plagued by a dark history of crypto heists (Mt. Gox, Coincheck), black market use cases (Silk Road), and fraudulent ICOs, we’re forced to help clients and partners understand the real value that blockchain technology enables. This requires us to spend a significant amount of time speaking/writing about the benefits of blockchain and the opportunities it enables.
Becoming a thought leader in the early days of any frontier industry is priceless. Companies that leverage content marketing significantly outperform those that don’t, both in terms of traffic and sales. Newcomers to the blockchain space, both retail and corporate, are increasingly conducting their own research, so lacking content to aid them in their research can mean immediate disqualification from their considerations.
With brands like Messari
raising the bar on content this year, blockchain marketers in 2020 must have rock solid knowledge of the blockchain space, understand their customers, and write like the wind.
Trend #5: Blockchain projects will get sophisticated about their growth metrics
99% of blockchain organizations operate like traditional businesses. They have employees they need to pay and, therefore, require customers who use their protocol and generate revenue.
Just as Daily Active users is the key growth metric for Facebook, or Nights Book is the key growth metric for AirBnb, blockchain projects too will measure more granular growth metrics in 2020 that reflect more than just price and market capitalization.
Unlike traditional digital platforms, however, not all token holders in a blockchain utilize the protocol the same way. Some are miners who run blockchain nodes as a passive income scheme, some are developers building either infrastructure or applications that sit on the base-layer protocol, some are speculators, and yet others are ordinary users utilizing the blockchain for its intended function.
Identifying each user segment, understanding their needs and behaviors, and retaining those users is necessary in order for the entity to transition into a healthy business.
With blockchain business intelligence service providers like
Flipside Crypto, blockchain organizations can label users (holders, traders, speculators), operators (nodes, miners, validators) and businesses (dapps, exchanges), and track the growth metrics specific to each user segment.
Understanding these metrics will help guide both business and marketing decisions in 2020.
Trend #6: Customer acquisition funnels still work
Although many of the marketing channels, tactics, and tools in the blockchain space are unique, the core digital marketing principles are the same. And that is not something that will change in 2020.
Every business has a unique set of funnels that make up the user acquisition journey, from visitor to paying customer. By mapping the data gathered from your analytics tools to your user journey, marketers can see the bottlenecks where users drop off and implement strategies to improve conversion rates across every stage of the funnel. Start your analysis with a series of questions about how a user engages with the product:
- How exactly does a user get from visitor to paying customer?
- At what moment does a user truly understand the value of your product/offering? (Your goal is to get people to this moment as quickly as possible, especially in a field as complex as blockchain)
- At which point in the funnel do you see drop-offs? (Use data from tools like Google Analytics to measure the conversion rate at every step of the user journey to find the pitfalls)
- Why are users dropping off at those funnel stages? (User testing and session recording tools will greatly help give you that understanding)
- What channels can you leverage to guide your users down the funnel? (Whether it’s email newsletters, content, live chat, or retargeting ads, try to leverage every possible touch point to drive users through the entire funnel)
The blockchain marketing trends for 2020 are, somewhat paradoxically, both more technical and more human. At the end of the day, marketers must work closer than ever with their product teams to define value upfront, replace complexity with simplicity, and give customers what they need.