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Launching a Web3 Project in 2024: My Go-To-Market Strategy (Part 2)by@dariavolkova
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Launching a Web3 Project in 2024: My Go-To-Market Strategy (Part 2)

by Daria VolkovaAugust 26th, 2023
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How to turn a Go-To-Market strategy into tactics in the Web3 space? Read my new article! In the first part of the article about the product strategy of the Web3 projects, I explained the classic GTM model and its features in Web3. 👉🏻 In this part, I want to share some of the main tactics used in product launches. I talk about DevRel, airdrops, DAOs, and other product growth and development instruments. Such companies like Uniswap Labs, DappRadar, Dune, LayerZero Labs, Celo Foundation, CoinList, and others were mentioned in this article. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an understanding of the techniques that can be combined and extended with your ideas. If you have something to add, please leave your comments.
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Hi, Hackernoon folks 👋🏻


My name is Daria Volkova. I’m a Web3 Product Strategist, Brand, and Communications Expert, and Content Creator. I work with Web3-oriented projects and run an edutainment project, Daria’s Web3 Strategy, about strategy, branding, marketing, and business development in Web3.


In the first part of the article about the product strategy of the Web3 projects, I explained the classic GTM model and its features in Web3. In this part, I want to share some of the main tactics used in product launches. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an understanding of the techniques that can be combined and extended with your ideas.


Let’s dive deep into the world of Web3 together 💫

The Power of a Token

Tokens are the digital assets that make up the blockchain ecosystem. Essentially, they are the modern-day equivalent of currency and are used as a medium of exchange within the crypto economy. In simple terms, tokens are units of value transferred from one party to another over time per specific rules defined by their creators.


Tokens can come in different forms: security tokens represent an ownership stake in an underlying investment asset; utility tokens provide access to some services or products their issuing company offers.


A screenshot from the CoinMarketCap website, 23.08.2023


Rather than spending funds on traditional marketing to entice and acquire potential customers, core developer teams can use tokens to bring in early users, who can then be rewarded for their early contributions when network effects weren’t yet apparent or started (read about Airdrops and Retrodrops below).


Not only are those early users evangelists who bring more people into the network (who would like to be rewarded for their contributions similarly), but this essentially makes early users in Web3 more potent than the traditional business development or salespeople in Web2.


In Web2, the primary GTM stakeholder is the customer, typically acquired via sales and marketing efforts. In Web3, an organization’s GTM stakeholders include their customers/users, developers, investors, and partners. Many Web3 companies find community roles more critical than sales and marketing roles.

Build your community, and community will build your reputation and visibility

Web2 can be called the period of birth and development of social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, YouTube, and many others have turned the forums of the Web1 era into interactive content Disneyland, where each user not only consumes but also creates content, becoming an independent media.


Attention and time spent interacting with the platform and creators became the main currency.


Social networks gave marketers the tools of targeted advertising, which became a game-changing feature at one time. People enthusiastically filled out their profiles, showing the algorithms detailed information about their careers, interests, hobbies, relationships, and lovely foods. Algorithms allow marketers to target advertising messages to specific audiences.


With the implementation of the GDPR policy, targeted advertising has become less effective and can no longer clearly distinguish audiences by gender or age criteria.


Targeted advertising is replaced by account-based marketing. Account-based marketing, often known as ABM, is a strategy for targeted business expansion in which the marketing and sales departments work together to provide individualized purchasing environments for a predetermined group of high-value clients. ABM is more used in the B2B direction, where the contract and vital warm contacts can be discussed for a long time.

But Web3 has a slightly different approach to social networks.


Twitter, Discord, Telegram, and Reddit are social networks friendly to blockchain projects. Also, decentralized social networks on the blockchain are actively developing, for example, Bluesky Social, Amino, CounterSocial, Steemit, or Mastodon.


The question of social networks smoothly leads us to community building. And it’s necessary to mention that: connecting directly with your audience does NOT turn that audience into a community.


When brands highlight their biggest fans with additional attention, utility, perks, and benefits, it's a one-way, one-to-many interaction. So if people don't interact with each other, it's not a community.


The community appears only when you create conditions for members to interact with each other and create new social connections or even projects.


To create a community around your project, you must talk with your community members in the same language and create a unique inner culture based on shared values. A cult-like identity that expresses itself through memes, specialized lingos like WAGMI, odd-looking profile pictures like the BAYC, and a deep longing for “moon” trips. Those elements constitute the unique Web3 culture.


Some authors even create books dedicated to the topic of Web3 culture. For example, Luis Sanoja, the founder and CEO of a boutique creative agency, published a book on community building in Web3.

WEB3 FOR FUTURE DEGENS: A Beginner's Guide to the Culture and Complexities of the Web3/NFT Space. Paperback – February 22, 2023


From my perspective, to boost your chances of getting accepted, you can assist them in carrying out in-depth research about your project by:

  • Consistently engaging them with updates on behind-the-scenes activities.
  • Announcement of project development progress.
  • Getting the community involved in the decision-making about key features or events.
  • Giving rewards (tokens, branded merch, invitations) for minting NFT or launching your testnet.
  • Making content about your team members.
  • Leaving no questions unanswered and respectfully entertaining feedback.
  • Setting clear goals and objectives and being upfront in fulfilling them.
  • Painstakingly explain via long-form articles, interviews, or videos when any critical or unexpected decision is taken.

Memes as a Part of Community Building

The blockchain community loves to create and laugh at memes. Viral images with text overlays are another GTM tactic for Web3 organizations. Given the complexity and breadth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the short attention spans of social media users, memes allow information to be rapidly conveyed.


To promote your project, 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 co-community, but inside, they should be the social glue. Memes can also signal belonging, community goodwill, and more in a highly information-dense way.


Examples of memes about Web3


Work with Developer Relations (DevRel)

Developer Relations (DevRel) is the technique used to ensure that one’s company, products, and developers establish deep, continuous relationships with external developers through mutual communication. According to Statista, the global developer population is expected to reach 28.7 million people by 2024, an increase of 3.2 million from the number seen in 2020.


Developing a blockchain product is impossible without building relationships with developers who will implement the technology and make other products based on it.


For developers to create products based on the technology, the company must establish a warm relationship with and encourage them. To do this, DevRel Engineers or Managers hold meetups and hackathons, educational and entertaining webinars, prepare user-friendly technical documentation, give away merch, and much more.


A DevRel program may comprise a framework built around some or all of the following aspects:

  • Developer Marketing: Outreach and engagement activities to create awareness and convert developers to use a product.
  • Developer Education: Product documentation and education resources to aid learning and build affinity with a product and community.
  • Developer Experience (DX): Resources like a developer portal, product, and documentation to activate the developer with the least friction.
  • Developer Success: Activities to nurture and retain developers as they build and scale with a product.
  • Community: Nourishes a community to maintain a sustainable program.


Developer grants are grants made from a protocol’s treasury to individuals or teams who contribute to improving the protocol. This can be an effective GTM mechanism for DAOs since developer activity is integral to a protocol’s success. Examples of projects and protocols with developer grants include Celo, Chainlink, Compound, Ethereum, and Uniswap.


For example, Uniswap Grants Program (UGP), which Uniswap established to help fund ecosystem development through targeted grants from the Uniswap Community Treasury. Since UGP’s launch, it has deployed ~$7M in $UNI to 122 grantees. Grants have focused on five key areas: sponsorships, community, tooling, usability, and governance. You can learn more about this program here.

A screenshot from the article about UGP



So, DevRel is a long-time game, and the interaction process is similar to the marketing of B2B projects. That’s why if you want to make your product interesting for developers’ teams, you must sell it by demonstrating technological and business advantages.


Partnerships and Web3 Ecosystem Collaboration

Collaborate with other projects and stakeholders within the Web3 ecosystem. This can include collaborating with decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, NFT platforms, or other dApps complimenting your project.


Marketers of Web2 and Web3 projects love partnerships because this is an excellent opportunity to increase your audience at the expense of another company and show your product from a new angle. However, partnerships in Web3 are built not only on ideological compatibility but also on technological compatibility, and this, in turn, can be the beginning of building an ecosystem.


I love how the 1inch project builds an ecosystem with partners and stakeholders. Here is part of the partner group:

A screenshot from the 1inch website


And here is another example, Polygon Technologies, which collaborates with many Web3 projects, enterprises, and even some governments:

A screenshot from the Polygon website


Airdrops and Retrodrops

These types of activities are possible only in token-based projects:


  • Airdrop - a blockchain-based project that uses an airdrop as part of a more extensive marketing campaign is known as a project that uses cryptocurrency. These coins or tokens are directly deposited into the user’s cryptocurrency wallet.
  • Retrodrop is when a crypto project (blockchain or DApps) distributes its tokens to users for free. The tokens are given out for early activity in the project. If you tested or used the project before it launched its token, you might be among the lucky ones who received the airdrop.


In November 2021, the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) protocol distributed 25 million ENS DAO tokens via an airdrop. Similarly, a popular decentralized exchange, Uniswap, conducted a retroactive airdrop for its users in late 2020. The list continues with Trust Wallet Token (TWT), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and more.


In October 2022, the Aptos team thanked the supporters who launched the testnet or minted an NFT. The user could receive 300 or 150 APT tokens for each action. At the time of launch, the token cost was $8.55.


Such projects as Arbitrum, Blur, and others made hype around their brands using airdrops and retro drops in their GTM.


As of this writing, the most anticipated token drops are possible from zkSync and LayerZero. Such images, as the picture below, are viral on the Internet, and many scammers exploit people's greed to get rich on fake airdrop messages or create hyped content to attract the attention of freebies.

A picture from the Crypto bulls club


The platform named Coinlist posts the verified projects launching their airdrops. If you plan to release your own, it’s a good idea to be released on Coinlist.

A screenshot from the Coinlist website


Despite the popularity of drops among Web3 projects, you should be careful with this tool. Users like to receive tokens for free or for testing the network, but after the drop, you need to understand what to do with the audience. For example, create a DAO whose members will be holders of your tokens.

DAO is the next stage of the Community Building

The abbreviation DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it's a digital organization run by a set of rules encoded on a blockchain. These rules are enforced by smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code.


A DAO is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by any single entity but rather by a group of stakeholders who can make decisions about the organization's activities and development. These stakeholders are usually token holders with a specific cryptocurrency associated with the DAO.


The success of DAOs in the crypto community results from innovations in blockchain technology, such as smart contracts, on-chain governance, empowered community members redefining how decisions are made, and new organizational and legal structures without a central authority. But not all DAOs are equal.


According to Vitalik Buterin, there are three types of situations where decentralization is essential:


  • Decentralization for making better decisions in concave environments, where pluralism and even naive forms of compromise are, on average, likely to outperform the coherency and focus from centralization.
  • Decentralization for censorship resistance: applications that must continue functioning while resisting attacks from powerful external actors.
  • Decentralization as credible fairness: applications where DAOs take on nation-state-like functions like basic infrastructure provision, so traits like predictability, robustness, and neutrality are valued above efficiency.


All types of DAOs are described in my video. You can watch it to learn more about this instrument of community development:


Metrics and Data Analysis

Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your go-to-market strategies. Use data analysis to refine your marketing approach continuously. Analytics platforms like Etherscan, Messari, CoinGecko, DappRadar, Token Terminal, Dune Analytics, and L2Beat provide real-time and retrospective data helping to analyze the current state and predict Web3 market trends.


A screenshot from the DappRadar website


Such platforms and tools help founders, product managers, and marketers create data-driven strategic visions and execute tactics. I shared about my favorite data providers in my vlog. So, you can learn more about the tools to use if you need to analyze and interpret information from Web3 sources:


Conclusion

Instead of optimizing for headcount growth or revenue and profitability, founders might be optimizing for protocol usage and the quality of the community. Web3 is a venture, and the main task of such projects is to interest people and form the idea of a new reality. The bottom line is this: focus on creating value for the community first, and the money will come.


Founders must adapt to environments in which no hierarchical power structures exist and where they are one of many actors championing the success of a given project.


The Web3 space is dynamic, and what works today might need adjustments in the future. Always be open to learning, adapting, and embracing the fast-paced nature of the decentralized web.


Good luck with discovering and implementing your ideas in the Web3 space ❤️‍🔥


Also published here.