Blockchain is not overrated
TL;DR - Blockchain technology will set the tone for next big innovations because its use cases are feasible in most cases. - 80%...
- Blockchain technology will set the tone for next big innovations because its use cases are feasible in most cases.
- 80% of the work in blockchain marketing is about community building.
- How has the opportunity to work for a blockchain company has shaped my world view about where the technology is going to, and its effects on our daily life.
Blockchain appeared to be one of the strongest emerging technologies in late 2017 – early 2018 attracting millions of individuals to participate in the wave. It offers many platforms ranging from retail investing, cross-border remittance to digital identities. The rise of Bitcoin popularity, indeed, trigger a wave of demand.
My journey with the industry started out as a freelance writing job when I became a freelance marketing writer for an Initial Coin Offering for a group of entrepreneurs in Vietnam during May – June of 2018. I took part in writing technical white-papers and press releases for the project.
It is also when the Infinity Blockchain Labs (IBL) sponsored the 2018 Vietnam Young Lions Competition, the most prestigious contest for Vietnamese marketing and advertising professionals. IBL’s challenge was to transform Vietnam to a leading country in blockchain technology and its application. That is when I had a belief that the company is a place that appreciates the contribution of marketing into its performance.
Blockchain technology will set the tone for next big innovations
Blockchain could be the new internet in the next few years. The internet that we are using today is a centralized system that is run — maintain and rule — by a certain institution depend on the network’s purpose. For instance, the government will maintain the public internet structure, or the social media company will be monetizing the internet service to align with terms and rules. In fact, there is a superior controller to the system, and the controller is able to rewrite or change the record to anything in the database.
There are two problems with the whole system. First, the database’s owner has exclusive control over the use of all the data, hence any data, including personal one, could be unknowingly leveraged. Second, the authenticity of the data can be manipulated internally or hacked by an external force.
Blockchain allows internet users to participate in complete peer-to-peer networks. A blockchain has a “shared memory” that records all the activities in the network to a public record, and no individual or organization owns an exclusive control to that public record. Each participant will have a proprietary ownership to all the data that the upload to the network, others can only access to the date when they have permission to do so.
Transactions, either exchanging a very small piece of information or a large digital asset, are truly one-to-one and automatically recorded. The result will be a decentralized network will real-time updates for all participants.
Bitcoin is a blockchain. It was specially designed for cryptocurrency. Blockchain allows the currency to be completely digitized and not regulated by any institution, banks, or governments. All participants themselves will validate and executive all the transaction before it is recorded to the public ledger — the shared memory that every participant can see, but can’t change any record unless making a real transaction.
Bitcoin created a business case that a network’s history can be recorded wholly and transparently while eliminating the role of any third party from the process. Hence, blockchain has the potential to not only solve the trust problem between individuals but also bring enormous economic values to organizations.
Blockchain technology is feasible to enhance the efficiency of almost every industry. Both tech and non-tech giants are working toward the future of private blockchains that could help all type of organizations gain more transparency in operation, and the ease of keeping records. While still keeping the most important features like peer-to-peer communication process and the immutable ledger, private blockchains will create certain rules for its own participants.
At the moment, blockchain perhaps playing its best in industries where the business process still relies much on a third party such as monetary and financial services, online trading, and supply chain management.
Another good example is in the music industry when musicians can sell their music directly to the listeners with the help of Music Coin or Mycelia. In the near future, blockchain will be the main factor to reduce overhead costs and bring more automation to many businesses of all types.
Blockchain is not overrated
Community leadership is the utmost important success factor for blockchain projects. As we are building our brands from the very early stage of the product, getting a strong support from early adopters of our app has be one of the defining factors of our growth.
The blockchain industry, in fact, is at the early stage for all the participants. Leader positions are likely defined by the quality of community building. Infinitio Wallet appears to be in the right place at the right time. While we are a Japanese company based in Vietnam, we are benefit from two of the most pro-technology countries in Asia. Our users from Vietnam and Japan has helped us become a major cryptocurrency wallet in the world.
Once we realized the importance of a good community around our product, we invest more of our budget in to co-branding campaigns. It has proved a huge success. We had been the first wallet to support new coins and token such as EOS (Block One) and ADA (Cardano Project) when we got a strike in user growth.
Building a blockchain product demands high level of engineering talent. Most of blockchain technology has put their development teams in emerging markets when technological talents are affordable, and Vietnam appears to be their favorite destination.
Cost factor could be the biggest constraint of blockchain startups. Since the technology is at its early development, companies are competing for a small pool of talents who are available to join their company. In fact, blockchain engineer raised to become one of the top paying careers. Vietnam is seen as an ideal place for this type of startup is unquestionable.
Our country, Vietnam, has developed one of the best engineering talents pools that participating in many international technology projects as outsourcing partners. Blockchain technology has seen the same thing happening. Companies from Japan, Singapore, and many other countries chose Vietnam to bet on their engineering capabilities. For instance, Infinity Blockchain Labs decided to put all of its 200-employee company in Vietnam while still working with other Japanese business and technology development partner in Japan.
Marketing for blockchain projects has always been about community building
To get new users, we found that community building is the single best tactic if we are familiar with the “do things that don’t scale” mentality. It is clear that community building is the one thing that we should do rather than wandering around asking our first users for feedback that rarely covers everything we need to do. It’s wrong statistically because the sample size is too small and mentally because the job is too boring to carry out.
We also have to retain existing users because getting new users is costly and painful. When marketing efforts focus on communities, the obvious goal is to strike for absolute loyalty. For early-stage products, the customer journey we want to build should be different, as I’ve long observed. It can be generalized into six phases that are as follows:
Awareness: While getting users is the bottom line, getting users to have knowledge about our product was perhaps the most challenging task for our team since we are in the hype of blockchain technology. The competition demands the team to create clear and strong offers to the audience.Consideration: This phase requires the team to understand the underline needs of our target audience, that is, how often the need our app and why they choose an app rather than another.Purchase/Install: Installs had been the only metrics that we used to marketing planning. Because our product is in its market introduction phase, we aim to reach an adequate sample size of user before starting our hypothesis validation.Usage: Privacy is perhaps the utmost important thing a blockchain application has to offer. At Infinito, we decide to be good at keeping our users’ data safe and completely private. Therefore, we don’t track our user behavior.Feedback: To keep our offers valuable, we listen to our user from many sources ranging from our public Telegram group to social media platforms. Users’ response to our product releases had played an important role in our product development process.Advocacy/Evangelism: The highest level us communities’ membership that we have observed is evangelism when our users had invested extra efforts in understand our product, at same time, being our ambassador sharing our vision to their personal circle of relationships.
We can take any app as the example for this journey. Marketers will have to do well on the first task, which is making customers consider using the product. Next is the adoption phase when we let the customer interact with every feature of the product we sell.
It is critical to create an effective environment for learning. The third biggest task is the thing that every marketer wishes for, that the customer promotes the product voluntarily. It’s the best way to reach critical mass.
Setting objectives is critical for all aspect in marketing operation. It is a process of identifying and nurturing social assets for our brand and our company as a whole. Community-building guarantees that we will get feedback from the first source and, more importantly, that we can identify the pain points that are hard to explain with numbers.
In fact, we can observe the attitude of our community members rather than making hypothesis out of statistical data only. Rare cases might surprise we with the user insights they carry.Three key outcomes can be generated through this kind of activity:
Connect existing customers to prospects, to activate salesConnect prospects to each other, to enhance product knowledgeConnect customers to customers, to drive product adoption
When we are looking for a quick win, we realized that community building should not be the main vehicle to deliver that goal. It is about real relationships.
Community marketing implementation relies on the social media networks. It’s clear that our users are very likely to be present on a social media platform. Our activities on social media will represent many things, including our team status, our ambition with the product, and most of all, our attention to customers’ responses to what we’re doing.
Group features make our target audience feel the exclusivity. Launching a new product is the process of iterations that add more features every release. We often need a group of customers who are willing to wait for the new feature to come. The best way I found is to grant selected members access to special resources. Many platforms allow we to do so, such as Facebook’s secret groups, email lists, etc.
Design the governance for the community is important at the start of any community building efforts. When it comes to retaining members in a community, it’s safe to say that they won’t leave if they have something to lose, for instance, community leadership titles. At the most basic level, entitlement generated by a governance system will help we keep some of the most valuable members who have a strong interest in and knowledge of our product.
Partner with other projects to offer more benefits. Collaboration will help we bring more benefits to our customers. If our product solves a few problems in their lives, we can find other projects to form deals that both sides can win.
Having an opportunity to work for a blockchain company has shaped my world view about where the technology is going to, and its effects on our daily life. Blockchain has proven the potential in reinventing dozens of current business model when in can inject a transparent and secure system to business. Stakeholders, therefore, can confidently operate their part of the business in a trustless environment where the records are always factual and immutable.
Career enhancement, however, is more challenging. Being a part of a new industry can also mean that there are no prior principles. Along the discovery journey, we are poised to uncover best practices for the first time. Indeed, to be good at our own job, we had been investment more time to the work that the same positions in other industry.
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