Cryptocurrencies: The Marketing Tool of Tomorrow
It’s 2018: if you haven’t heard of cryptocurrencies you’ve probably been living in a Faraday cage. The gist is that in 2009 an anonymous genius figured out a way of using a bunch of cryptographic tools to make an unchangeable, trustless ledger that could store financial transactions. That was 9 years ago, so as you can imagine things have now developed substantially: at the time of writing the entire cryptocurrency market cap is at 355 billion dollars, with over 1500 different cryptocurrencies. This is a massive and somewhat overwhelming market that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. And we’re seeing it develop at a breakneck pace.
Marketing has always been forced to rapidly adapt to new technology in order to survive and grow. It’s the nature of the business. This is how we have managed to stay relevant as a company for over 30 years. But we didn’t evolve by buying early stocks in Facebook or Google; we evolved by changing our outlook on the world of marketing and using these many new tools we had available.
This is the most valuable piece of advice I can give: embrace this change. Learn what you can about different cryptocurrencies and how and why they hold value. Consider what applications this might have in your own work. Don’t get too bogged down in the technical details, just try to see how this impacts you professionally and personally. To start you off, below are some helpful ways of thinking about this incredibly complicated topic from a marketing point of view.
Social Media Marketing on Steroids
Social Media has completely transformed the way we do digital marketing. Cryptocurrencies are set to be just as revolutionary, especially with regards to understanding users. With a public blockchain, we have the potential to see the entire purchasing history of our audience – as well as many other metrics depending on what features future cryptocurrency platforms develop. This will be an incredibly useful tool for targeting specific people and there would be no reliance on giants such as Facebook or Google to provide that information: it would be freely distributed!
A World of Tokens
Companies such as Starbucks have, with overwhelming success, started using payment systems that work entirely through mobile apps – taking the loyalty card concept and bringing it into the modern era. Cryptocurrency technology such as sidechains allow companies to host their own tokens as sidechains of a master Blockchain. Jargon aside, this means that a company could create their own token system that works similarly to credit card reward points: the tokens have value attached to the master currency, but using it with a specific company reaps benefits for end users and inspires the deep brand loyalty that comes with these strategies.
This is an obvious one. If your client hosts an ecommerce site, software-as-a-service platform or really just sells anything at all online, this is a game changer. No more difficult payment system integrations, no more Paypal fees or relying on a third party to send or recieve payment. It’s the equivalent of being able to reach through your computer screen and give cash directly to the company. There will certainly be some growing pains as the infastructure develops, but there are several gateways including Coinbase that allow for payment with cryptocurrency.
These are just a few simple ideas as to how things will change in this space in the coming years, and we’ll quite likely see a massive transformation in most sectors as this technology reaches maturity. Unlike other professions, however, in digital marketing we will have to stay ahead of the curve in order to keep our clients happy and to stay relevant. Don’t get left behind!