April 20, 2022
Blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and NFTs. These may be terms you are familiar with, or you may be just generally aware, or this is the first time you’re hearing them. No matter which level of knowledge base you have with these terms, within many consumer and business segments they’ve grown with increasing popularity.
“A cryptocurrency, crypto-currency, or crypto is a digital currency designed to work as a medium of exchange through a computer network that is not reliant on any central authority, such as a government or bank, to uphold or maintain it.”— Wikipedia
A simpler definition courtesy of popular crypto platform, Coinbase, “a decentralized digital money designed to be used over the internet.” To provide some historical context, the first cryptocurrency was created by Bitcoin in 2008, and still today remains one of the biggest players in the Crypto space. What does it do?
Crypto makes it possible to transfer value online without the need of a middleman like a bank or payment processor to transfer value both instantly and for low fees 24/7. While the NFT or non-fungible token is the data that is actually stored so it can be sold or traded, many are not issued or controlled by the government. Instead they are managed by peer-to-peer networks. I could spend all day writing about the details of crypto and NFTs but head over to the Coinbase blog if I’ve sparked your curiosity.
There is a growing opinion that crypto and NFTs are the future of finance with a new kind of digital cash that has never been seen before and has unlimited applications across business and marketing. Many will talk about security, more targeted services, and a growing market potential as some of the key ways it stands out and could impact marketing in the future. The crypto trend that most stands out to me is how this new marketing technology will help marketers create better, more impactful brand experiences. Here’s one big way I foresee crypto marketing revolutionizing the advertising industry:
Immersive brand experiences and generational audience insights are so closely correlated. How you go about creating experiences for different groups of generations and demographics has and will be so different. Look no further than how Millennials and Gen-Zers experience things. Gen-Z generally prefers things over experiences except when they happen to be exclusive and immersive experiences. As we're thinking about the role that marketing technology is going to play in the future, you need to look at who your audience is and what age group do you define them? Because when you start breaking it down by those different age groups, Gen-X, Gen-Z, or Millennial, how they view experiences is very different and how you're going to have to market to them is very different.
How can crypto and NFTs do this? Through a decentralized ecosystem and the meta people can have a shared, collective experience. Is your mind blown? While this idea seems both exciting and downright terrifying, it opens up a whole new world to experience things and creates an even more impactful and powerful connection between consumers and the brands they love. This can be seen in simply trying on a product, or virtually attending an event. I foresee a future where spending time in the Meta is a key channel to improve brand experience and strengthen the relationship people have with brands.
“If customers can’t be in stores and haven’t been in stores over the last year, if you can’t touch the physical product, if you can’t go in the store and try it on, what’s the next best thing, and that leads you to AR. So you can see it in your space, so you can take that watch or that handbag or that backpack and put it on your table or set it on your bed and see what it looks like. I do a pair of shoes or see what it looks like sitting on your shelf from the AR side. And that creates this really powerful connection between the buyers and the brands. They feel like they’ve experienced the product and now they want to buy it.” — Michael Toner, Guest on Your Brand Your Story, Season 2, Episode 5
We’re already starting to see signs within overall crypto and NFT awareness that point to the rise and interest in buying and investing in this technology. In investigating its popularity further, here are some crypto insights that have emerged recently courtesy of Global Web Index survey data among US internet users:
• Bitcoin is by far the most used form of crypto-currency today: 70.9% of users surveyed said they are more interested in Bitcoin than Ethereum or Dogecoin.
• One third of users have some level of interest or use crypto already: 20% use it at some level and 17% who don’t currently use it are interested in using it.
• Top motivations for using crypto are directly related to issues with our current banking system (not why it’s a better financing solution): 23% don’t want to deal with banks or governments, 20% want more privacy, and 18% just don’t want to worry about those pesky fees.
• Most cited drawbacks feature security concerns: 47% say there is no way to recover currency in case of loss or theft, 45% say price volatility, and 43% say cyber security threats.
With all that being said, there is still obvious awareness work that needs to be done to educate users about what it is and where you can find it or manage it. 35% of people surveyed don’t know where to buy and sell them, and 25% think only “rich people” will be able to make money from them.
If you haven’t seen it yet, go to YouTube and watch. The short of it is in the middle of the Super Bowl, Coinbase made a surprising move to feature a QR only Super Bowl ad. This created much discussion within the marketing community about whether this was in fact clever and their motivations behind it. In the end, they created a lot of public discussion and crashed their platform from more people going to the site than expected. For me, this is another proof point that the general public is somewhat aware but not aware enough that they know where to actually buy and manage crypto. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this was a good marketing move or not, but what is clear is that more awareness efforts are needed to show why this is a good currency solution and what it means for the future of finance and marketing.
For the full episode featuring my discussion with 3D and immersive technology start-up CMO, Michael Toner, who dives deep into the exploding world of AR and VR, go to Your Brand. Your Story. Podcast, Season 2, Episode 7.
April 20, 2022