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Digital marketing has evolved tremendously over the past few years. Word-of-mouth will always be the best and most efficient convincer, but standard marketing efforts are moving away from print ads and infomercials to more humorous television advertisements and social media outreach to connect with customers on a more personal level.
These advertisements are mostly for products, services, or businesses that people are already familiar with. A restaurant can change its approach to marketing, like how Wendy’s playfully mocks its followers on Twitter, but ultimately everyone will always understand what a restaurant is.
However, initial coin offerings are still new enough that majority of people don’t even know what they are.
To spread the word, companies hosting ICOs have had to be creative with their marketing techniques (especially with recent impediments like ad-bans).
Their efforts seem to be working, particularly amongst an investor audience: startups and new crypto projects raised a cumulative total of $5.6 billion in 2017, and many of them weren’t even successful (there were 435 successful projects that raised an average of $12.7 million).
What are crypto companies doing to market their ICOs so well, especially in light of recent developments (such as Google’s ad-ban)? Whatever they are doing may encourage the traditional marketing world to adapt.
Addressing a problem
Services are great. Products are important. But what about a revolutionary idea? Something that can disrupt an entire industry? No, not infomercial-style. ICO campaigns are convincing investors and buyers how their tokens affect more systemic issues.
Take SuccessLife, for instance. The current economic climate is leaving younger generations facing rising costs of living while swimming in student debt and fewer opportunities for income growth.
SuccessLife created a blockchain-based platform that intends to be the world’s leading digital marketplace for all sorts of resources (including written, audio, video, and live streaming tools) related to personal and professional development.
Conferences, workshops, coaching, and seminars are services. Books, videos, and podcasts are products. They can be marketed by standard means, separate yet maybe overlapping in content (which wastes customers’ time).
By combining them all onto SuccessLife’s platform, however, it decentralizes the self-improvement industry.
The platform is anchored by SuccessLife Tokens, which are an all-purpose payment system for available materials and resources. That’s what investors love to see in an ICO: something everyone will be using one day because it’s both necessary and universal. SuccessLife’s ICO has broader implications than access to a singular self-improvement speech that might not even be useful.
Speaking to two sides
Cryptocurrency is just becoming mainstream, so there is a spectrum between people who understand the blockchain space and those who haven’t the slightest idea what Bitcoin even is. Marketing an ICO requires talking to both sides, according to Forbes:
“Through leadership, social media, and more traditional PR hits, you have to carefully define and tailor your messaging to support the experiences and interests of your target audience. For example, if you have the opportunity to provide a statement to a FinTech centered outlet, you have the freedom to offer deeper analysis and insights into how you’re leveraging digital tokens, because the audience of this outlet is (likely) already well versed in the topic.”
For everyone else, it’s more important to focus on a business’s mission rather than its operations. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to the tech behemoth’s ban on any advertisements related to blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Google and Facebook’s cracked down on crypto ads to prevent users from being exposed to fraudulent ICOs—and (let’s be honest) there are many.
This isn’t worrisome to legitimate blockchain companies, according to Ivan Goldensohn, Chief Marketing Officer from Dispatch Labs. Goldensohn says:
“Reducing the danger to novice investors by removing the ability of illegitimate companies to advertise directly to those populations is important, but it also supports a negative stigma which is developing around the world of blockchain in general and is mostly the result of a few bad actors. Any decent project won’t be too heavily affected by this, however, it just requires more creative, inventive marketing focused on the core channels, community, and events in the space.”
Pay attention to the keywords: core channels, community, and events. Blockchain events are incredible opportunities to reach educated audiences. For uneducated audiences, marketing is largely relationship-based.
Even though Google and Facebook (and Twitter, soon) prevent standard advertisements, companies hosting ICOs have found ways to reach out to potentially intrigued parties and find pertinent channels.
Telegram is an excellent channel for ICO-related discussions. Interviews with public outlets such as Business Insider, Forbes, and The Huffington Post generate buzz. Rewards programs for referrals incentivize word-of-mouth. Online community management fosters engagement.
Due to unusual hurdles, ICO campaigns have had to resort to other strategies, which are not only less obnoxious (like methods such as radio ads), but more effective.
Cover Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash
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