Investments into the ICO market have fallen dramatically as of late — this is just a fact. For a long time now, there have no waves of investments that was once provided by those who literally put in everything during the general growth of cryptocurrency. Besides this, projects started to set smaller hardcaps, which is really good as it brings the founders down to earth. Lots of them, for some reason, want to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for ideas when $100,000 would be more than enough. Nevertheless, every month there are projects that successfully close the decently sized caps. As they say, only the strongest survives, especially in a difficult market. What did these strongest projects have and what helped them to achieve these results? Let’s take a look at this from a marketing perspective. The first project we are going to analyze is: QuarkChain QuarkChain is a really good example of a successful ICO. If you read the header, then you already know — in June 2018 the project collected $20 million and the day after the ICO took place the token was already trading on Binance. PRODUCT First we’re going to discuss QuarkChain’s product. The creators ambitiously call their product “Blockchain 3.0” and after reading the description, the logic behind such a loud statement is crystal clear. QuarkChain is a new, secure blockchain, the main feature of which is high scalability. At the moment, the Bitcoin blockchain can support around 6–7 transactions per second. Ethereum, being faster, can support 15 transactions per second — but we all remember how the broadcast network was “hung” because of CryptoKitties. The purpose of QuarkChain’s blockchain is to support 1,000,000 transactions per second. But what’s most interesting right now is that at the testing stage the project is showing over 14,000 transactions per second. The second feature is that the blockchain itself will consist of two layers — the root blockchain and shards. I will not bore you with the details of sharding here, though (you can read more information about the product itself and the technology behind it in their white paper). ICO The hard cap of the project was announced — . $20 million However, shortly before the start of the public sale round, the project declared that most of the cap, namely $16 million, is to be sold during the private sale stage to various funds and professional investors. Only $4 million is left for the public sale. And in order to get the tokens, you must pre-register in their White List, go through KYC protocols, and join their Telegram chat. By that time, the community was so large, active, and more importantly warmed up, that the project had to introduce a limit on the purchase of tokens for each participant — no more than 0.693 ETH in tokens in one hand during the first 12 hours of the sale. This move simply ripped off the head to potential investors (take note) and, of course, the sale sold out very quickly. So what happened? What happened in this case is exactly what’s missing from the absolute majority of ICO projects — . the creation of demand 2/3 of the hard cap is reached, there’s a special list with a restriction in investing, it is necessary to join the telegram chat before passing the KYC procedure, where participants wind up and warm up each other even more. With such a rush from the audience, they could ask for anything — to join the chat or to make a tattoo with the project’s logo — there would be a waiting list. And this is the basis of a truly successful ICO — . And only when the token is listed on the exchanges will everyone be able to purchase this token. to create demand that will not be completely satisfied within the framework of a public sale POSITIONING You must pay attention to three main things: 1. Positioning is primarily about the , not about the ICO PRODUCT 2. . Testnets already at the ICO stage have shown very good results. There is a prototype 3. While related to the second point, it is important to have a that is being updated and followed by the team. detailed roadmap It has been said many times before and will continue to be said — without a prototype/MVP don’t have an ICO. And don’t invest in those that do not provide at least an MVP. At the same time, check it carefully, and in project chats ask about anything that you don’t fully understand. Check the answers, check to see how the team itself understands it, and pay attention to how they treat you as a future user and as a potential investor. WEBSITE I often hear from projects things like “We need to change this and that on the website, and bring something in a different way.” No doubt, it’s worth it — if there’s something to convey. Many common and lengthy words will only reduce the chances that a potential investor/user will, first, figure it out and second, will have a high enough attention span for such a complicated website. Look at QuarkChain’s website (https://www.quarkchain.io) — it’s simple, small, has only the most basic things, and there is even a sense of understatement, which is more than compensated for in their white paper. Do you see any big red buttons saying “ ”? No, and you wouldn’t have seen them during the public sale stage. BUY TOKENS NOW See the difference in approaches? Between those projects who by the public sale stage already have a product and a raised prevailing part of the cap, from those projects who need to quickly raise at least something, while “Google Adwords permits advertising.” Of course, QuarkChain’s site is absolutely not a reference, but it’is a good example that not only the website itself or the beauty of pictures on it sells. It’s an important element, but not the primary one. Also, the trend to translate sites to all languages of the world goes away. Here, for example, only two languages — English and Chinese. TRACKERS AND LISTINGS Listings are still a good source of traffic, although the efficiency is not the same as during the “golden” times. Many people are making a special bias towards ICO Bench, buying both expensive paid packages and evaluations of “incorruptible” “experts.” At one time, ICO Bench was really very effective. QuarkChain, however, has a terrible rating on ICO Bench — 3.3. It’s evident that the team did not work with ICO Bench’s bot, the evaluation of which is fundamental. Although with the performance of certain actions and conditions, this rating could be raised to almost 5.0. And there was no work with Bench’s experts (some of which, incidentally, can undervalue the ratings on purpose, but this is a conversation of another article). But the project hit the jackpot by having the highest scores on ICO Drops. Not much of the projects are awarded with “ ” ratings, and the website’s impressive audience is well aware of this. Very High Interest ICO Drops are now becoming an almost semi-mythical listing, and it is pretty hard to get listed there. It’s for this reason that the audience loves and believes in ICO Drops. In general, working with tracker listings was apparently not a priority task for QC as the project is not present everywhere. Only ICO Drops are taken as a basis (which already covers a good part of all the others). BOUNTY and BTT QuarkChain’s bounty campaign is also pretty minimalistic. Here you will not find a campaign of signatures for the BTT (Bitcointalk) forum or a campaign of likes and reposts from various social networks. The main campaign is made up of three things: 1. Content campaign: Articles and videos for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Medium, Reddit, Steemit, WeChat, Weibo, and more. 2. Translation of the white paper. 3. Testing the network. The project through the bounty campaign recruited volunteers for additional testnet checks and tests. Also, a required condition for all campaigns was to join the official Telegram chat. At the moment of the start of ICO there were more than 60,000 participants. Without Airdrops :) You can find the bounty campaign here — https://steemit.com/quarkchain/@quarkchain/bounty-program As for official thread aboutf the project, this is also an omission: a very small topic for a project of this magnitude and infrastructure. Work with the forum’s community was clearly conducted very poorly. Bitcointalk’s ANN Thread — https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=3587645.0 SMM With social media, the project clearly follows this principle — quality over quantity. There are not so many pages, as it often happens, but almost every page is updated regularly. You can check it out yourself: INVESTORS There are a lot of rather famous funds invested in QC. And many of them are gladly discussed in their corporate blogs. For example, Astronaut Capital that they really want to increase their investments in the project. openly says Raising $16 million out of a $20-million hard cap with private investments, the public ICO stage itself was most likely needed for two things: 1. PR, as a huge number of people learned about the project. 2. Community, which will provide a rush, thereby increasing the token’s value on the exchanges. And this is what exactly happened. As an addition to this topic: at one of the crypto conferences recently, a project found approached me. According to them they built an infrastructure project that is better/faster/and so on than Ethereum. So they wanted to raise funds (of course). My advice to similar projects — take this list of funds that have invested in QuarkChain and try to contact them. POST-ICO The final topic for today is Post-ICO. What it is, and why this stage is important not less (if not more) than the early stages of the ICO, we will talk in a separate post. Just take my word, the post-ICO is a guarantee of a healthy life for the project and the token. What we see in QuarkChain Post-ICO period. The first thing that catches your eye is quite detailed . weekly reports Example — https://steemit.com/weekly/@quarkchain/quarkchain-bi-weekly-project-progress-report-aug-20-sept-4 The team QuarkChain shares news on a weekly basis, describing both the progress of the product (first and foremost) and the news regarding external communications, whether it is participation in conferences, publications about the project, or strategic partnerships. We are also seeing a lot of activity within the community. Every Saturday, the main part of the team holds an AMA (ask me anything) session, answering community questions live. It’s a very useful thing, something that is recommended at all stages of your token and post sales. The work within the community also includes managing the chat (currently 70k+ active participants) and social networks. Here, the project is also doing its job well. And finally, let’s talk a little about exchanges and the cost of the token. Currently, the token with the QKC ticker is being traded on Binance, Kucoin, Gate.io, IDEX, and a few other small exchanges. Surprisingly good volumes on LaToken, including a pair to the LAT token, seem to go well with the holders of the LaToken. https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/quarkchain/#charts The news on the day of sale that the token will be immediately listed on Binance created an additional, very powerful wave of hype, which added to the queue those who did not have time to participate in the ICO but were ready to buy the token on the exchange. Starting the first trading day with a price of per token in two hours, the price went up to , which gave an almost 1,150% increase (and this was in June 2018). And this fact created another wave of hype. $ 0.019 $ 0.25 How the price behaves now (it has fallen along with the whole market) can be viewed, for example, here: https://www.livecoinwatch.com/price/QuarkChain-QKC But the fact is that those who invested and caught the right moment to sell earned a lot with this coin. Also, the project has a lot of true believers; as development continues, there will probably be plenty of opportunities (just don’t take this as investment advice!) CONCLUSION Although QuarkChain has quite weak points in some aspects of marketing, the strengths of the product, its prototype, the strategy, their understanding how to create demand and hype, and their clear ability to build relations with investors more than make up for any shortfalls. PS — I don’t have any vested interest in the project, it was a very loud case when the project succeed, so I decided to review it in regards of marketing.