In the mid-1990’s, marketers faced up to the Internet and e-mail. 10 years later, it was Facebook and Twitter. Eventually it dawned on them that consumers are now linked together more closely than could have ever been imagined, even until quite recently.
Those marketers who discover blockchain’s great potential for marketing in time will find themselves at the forefront of the industry.
There are three important points to be made about the history of blockchain:
1. It’s all happening right here, right now.
For example, the FBI is considering blockchain as a technology which can track the movement of goods and people across national borders; the US Food and Drug Administration sees it as a technology for managing public health issues.
2. The current speed of life requires it
If you need to share an image with anyone anywhere in the world, with the help of e-mail, you can do so instantly. But if you need to transfer something of economic value (be it money or the title to a vehicle), it can take several days or even weeks. Time is money, and these slow-moving systems steal it from us.
3. The future requires this technology
With the advent of the Internet of Things, millions of devices exchange information with each other, including constantly generated microtransactions. The sheer volume of these transactions requires the most simple and convenient means available to conduct them.
You won’t find anything better suited to blockchain technology than crypto-currencies. Your smart-watch will not be able to pay the charging station to charge itself at the moment it is in use, yet a payment system based on blockchain can do this quite effortlessly.
So, what does this mean for marketing professionals? Many of marketing’s underlying theories just might be turned on their head.
1. Private individuals, and not corporations, will be able to control the use of their own personal data using services such as uPort, MetaMask, Blockstack, and Keybase.
2. Word-of-Mouth marketing professionals will have the opportunity to certify and reliably confirm their experience and reputations. For example, the Word of Mouth Pro project is creating the Euclea platform, which will unite professionals, large companies and users on mutually beneficial terms.
Team of Word of Mouth Pro states:
By using modern cryptographic techniques, together with the use of blockchain, data can be trustable and reliable. Blockchain offers a compelling solution to the problem of combining accessibility of data with transparency, privacy and security. We believe that by a strategic blockchain based approach it will be possible to give a solution to the above-mentioned situation for companies, professionals and users.
3. The use of decentralized protocols is important in terms of brand loyalty. For example, customers of the OpenBazaar commodity aggregator prefer to use it instead of eBay, since it is free of censorship.
4. The value will not be in the possession of client information in itself, but in how companies help to use, interpret, and interact with it.
5. Any statements made by marketing professionals can now be verified. The transparency of the supply chain will become a key factor of any value proposition. For example, Walmart plans to identify pork producers in China using blockchain technology.
6. Bonuses and coupons used as a part of loyalty programs will be put into free circulation, and can be exchanged through services such as SpaceShift. By themselves, loyalty programs are no longer able hold the consumer’s interest and involve him in regular interaction.
7. The customer’s attention will no longer be free-of-charge. Users will use social media platforms (such as Steam, for example) where their attention and participation are rewarded. Marketers will have to come up with more meaningful ways to maintain the consumer’s attention, as simply buying it will be impossible; this also applies to the use of e-mailing.
And this is only the beginning and doesn’t take many phenomena into account, such as the programmability of assets, (which can affect the management and tracking of budgets), market condition forecasts, the value of cryptomarkers within the network and anonymous currencies such as Zcash and Monero.
Just like in the 1990’s, when no one could have predicted the successes of Spotify, Uber or Seamless, the challenge now is to assess the influence that blockchain could have on us. Regardless, all of this indicates that the technology has made quite an impact.
So, what can we do now? Imagine that any asset can now be digitized, and that any client transaction is visible to all participants in the chain. And that you will have to pay for the consumer’s attention at every point of contact with him, without the involvement of intermediaries.
How will you build your business, your marketing, and customer relationships in such an environment?
Start thinking about this today, and it will be your insurance against failure in the future.