Goodbye, traditional marketing agencies! Why blockchain startups need to focus on communities first.
During the crypto craze of 2017, it was easy to be a marketing agency in the blockchain sphere: Using buzzwords, an attractive and colourful website, and strategically purchasing media space, you could make any project look like an up-and-coming revolution —a word you’re most likely sickened from by now. Agencies would then go on to help complete an ICO, charge for a percentage of the company’s tokens, welcome newcomer investors, and wait for the bull market to do its job; inflating the tokens beyond realistic expectations to then cash out their profits.
Seemingly, a perfect model… At least for the short term.
The hyper-inflation of crypto media
As happens with anything that seems too good to be true, the ICO-Maker dream died out fast. The end of the bull market —as well as the uncertainties surrounding the regulatory environment post-2017— left ICOs facing two seemingly contradictory conditions: On one side, investors were now wary of weak projects, starting communities that evaluated, communicated, and even pooled investments for robust, quality coins. On the other, the expensive and over-hyped crypto media dipped in efficacy.
To understand the degree to which crypto media grew in value during 2017, it’s necessary to look at the numbers: Just in that year, ICOs managed to the raise over $5.6 billion in investments. This amount then translated into an unsustainable market where growth percentages under 500% were regarded as failures. Reputable sources played an extremely valuable role in that market, exposing the projects to the “highest quality” audiences, which turned to no longer take what these sources say at face-value.
Stating that investors would no longer believe anything that their preferred sources say it’s not to say that their prices have decreased. Due to the over-demand they received in 2017, crypto news outlets are still able to charge up to $2,000 for an article, with top-tier Youtubers averaging $15,000 for a video feature, some of them even going as high as $22,000. Traditional marketing agencies are quick to take notice of the popularity of these channels, which they fill with low-quality projects, in return displaying a poor image of the crypto market and sustaining the elevated prices.
The solution for ICOS
Known as “the ICO hub of the digital world”, Telegram became the first social media company to spot the importance of direct company-to-community communications and adapt to it.
Telegram is also considered by some to have kept alive the ICO industry in a time when most social media outlets (as well as Google Adverts) were tightening their advertising policies to forbid financial offers. As one of the pillars of modern community management, they are —along with BitcoinTalk, Reddit, Discord, and Steem-it— the perfect representation of an area where most marketing agencies find themselves lacking. These channels are treated like one-way communication outlets and used as an extension of the traditional marketing techniques, taking a turn for the worst in the crypto space.
Finding alternative ways to drive investors to engage with their projects is the biggest challenge of modern blockchain companies, which can be achieved by a simple means: Incentivizing legitimate feedback.
Incentivizing legitimate feedback
Often overlooked by traditional marketing— as it deviates from the old standard that says projects should be marketed as if they had no flaws,— a company can incentivise legitimate feedback by:
- Integrating content creation into their traditional approaches: Bounty campaigns and airdrops are valuable in and out of themselves to grow communities of followers with minimum effort (and sometimes, cost-effectively,) but can quickly become a magnet for low-quality, paid following. Introducing a threshold that deters low-quality followers in favour of possible investors can result in higher initial costs but provides accelerated growth. It also serves as a micro-influencer strategy, as thorough and thoughtful individuals tend to have their own followers in the crypto space.
- Establishing quality standards to be met to receive rewards: As an extension of the previous point, it’s important to consider that, although a quality audience will undoubtedly create higher-quality content, measurable incentives yield powerful results as well. Introducing additional rewards to individuals with perfect grammar, documented research or clear creative approaches can result in shareable content that will spread in the community.
In this respect, it’s important to know that high-quality audiences will never respond positively to programs that forbid them from speaking their mind. Defining clear criteria and asking for honest reviews introduces the opportunity for companies to tailor their project to the crypto community’s needs and values.