The only absolute in life is change and progress is not possible without change. We all must evolve to grow. That applies to marketing as well. However, even the best companies can get complacent with their marketing strategy and execution. They find their current campaigns are good enough and KPIs are being met. Yet the challenge is that while things look good, the market, landscape, technologies, and competitors are changing around them as well.
There has not been a larger shift in recent years than the evolution of blockchain technology and what has been coined “Web3.” For those who don’t know about blockchain, the simplest way to think about is a shared (decentralized), immutable ledger. The decentralized ledger facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets for everyone using it. An asset on the blockchain can be a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, a stablecoin (USD-backed asset), an NFT, or any other tokenized asset in the physical world. The internet is shifting from a more centralized world to a decentralized one – and marketers must adapt.
Web 1 Marketing
Web1 was the birth of the internet, comprised of centralized, server-based systems. Hosted on a website that is owned by a central authority and is controlled by them – not you. In other words, you do not own any part of your website, meaning you do NOT own your logo, domain name, or content being served up to the user (think Google: Gmail, YouTube, etc.).
Web 1 introduces the ability for one central authority to share information by posting “readable” content to static web pages. It enables a “one to many” form of communication.
The most important marketing tactics used here are:
- Email marketing
- Early (and now obsolete) SEO tactics
- Traditional offline advertising (TV, radio, and print) reinforced online
Web 2 Marketing
Web2 introduced decentralized networks (think peer-to-peer systems). You are able to have ownership of your business on the internet meaning you own your logo, domain name, and any content being served up to the user (think Facebook). Online marketing explodes during this era and becomes extremely performance and analytics-driven — a big departure from web1. However, the term “decentralization” here should not be confused with “blockchain-based decentralization” which is discussed further below in this article.
Web 2 ushered in the era of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and others. It enabled “writeable” content where people could communicate freely and have a more personalized experience. Web 2 was dynamic whereas Web 1 was static.
The most important marketing highlights here are:
- Launch of the iPhone and the first real mobile advertising in the smartphone boom.
- Facebook unveils ads and leverages the massive first-party data it amassed.
- Introduction of Geo-targeting for ads gains popularity, driving better ROI
- Savvy data-driven DTC brands chip away market share from traditional retailers
- Instagram acquisition by Facebook spurs the explosion of influencer marketing
- Improved technologies fuel the rise of video ad delivery
Smart marketing teams evolved as well. They were now empowered with massive treasure troves of data that gave insights into the customer they never had before. This is where concepts such as cost of customer acquisition (CAC), lifetime value (LTV), cohorts, and more, became mainstream and quantifiable regardless of industry or niche. The marketers now had the ability to build first-party data pools with information such as someone’s phone number or email address.
Web 3 Marketing
Web3 introduces the combination of decentralized networks and blockchain technology. Ownership of your digital assets, transactions, and processing power. No middleman gets a cut (think cryptocurrency). Web3 is bringing in the next generation in community marketing and pioneers in this space have focused on advancing the back end, powered by transferring ownership from private entities to private citizens through tokenization.
Web 3 is taking the benefits of Web 2, but democratizes access and empowers a community to drive and capture the value.
In general, a marketer in Web1 and Web2 era only needed to acquire, engage with, and retain the customer. However, with web3, a marketer has many community members to market to, engage with, and retain. This group includes users, developers, and their broader community of stakeholders.
The most important marketing highlights here are:
- Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) represent digital ownership of something on a blockchain.
- Cryptocurrencies that are digital value and easily fungible (Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.)
- Tokenization which are coins/tokens built on top of a blockchain and typically fungible within a certain product or community.
- Decentralization is a big part and to lesser extent anonymity where consumers can freely interact with a product without having to register.
- Authenticity. Web3 users today are savvy and understand technology. Many grew up with the internet and mobile devices and understand the mechanics of how these technologies work.
It sounds confusing, but these are the three categories we see in technology today.
- Centralized – web1 – read
- Decentralized – web2 – read & write
- Blockchain-based – web3 – read & write & own
Web3 Marketing puts the majority of the control, strategic direction, and long-term success in the hands of the community. Once control is distributed, it’s still up to the owners of the brand to lead the strategic direction and keep the community involved, excited, and growing. This can be done through online communities in Discord or Telegram as well as through Zoom links or online forums.
The Future of Web3 Marketing
Web3 marketing will continue to evolve and those who can build a community, engage that community, and connect with others will exceed in marketing positions. Marketers who use COSLR’s suite of solutions will have an advantage when trying to connect with existing communities, thought leaders, and influencers.
Savvy marketers always evolve and we’ll see a new breed of marketers. Those who know the tools and strategies to use will be in demand for years to come.