100% Pure Non-GM Marketing
In my previous post, I talked about the use of business science to resolve the strategic tension that arises from structured corporate marketing strategies in the new and exciting world of blockchain technology. Continuing with that theme, let’s gather our strength and revisit that all-too-familiar phrase one more time:
“wen (paid) marketing.”
When invoked, the second word is nearly always implied. Whether using traditional banner ads or crypto influencers, it’s often believed that effective and successful marketing must come down to spraying cash at every available website, YouTuber, billboard, and London tube station.
For projects that are lacking in product substance, such a costly strategy may be both necessary and sufficient to generate awareness. In such cases, a marketing budget may even be the main expenditure item to the point of the budget’s mere presence pervertedly becoming a USP (unique selling proposition) in itself, much to the embarrassment of anyone trying to take the industry seriously.
But in contrast, when developmental resources present a drain on a genuine project’s cash reserves there is another marketing path that can be taken. A path that has actually for decades been considered a superior option in the minds of marketing theorists, albeit being challenging to pull off successfully.
“do you know de wae?”
Marketing success is usually measured by ROI (return on investment), or the benefit generated for each dollar spent. Professionals use all sorts of fancy metrics to measure this such as cost per click (CPC), cost per acquisition (CPA), cost per impression (strangely often abbreviated to CPM), and click-through rate (CTR) but there’s no need to go to this level of detail and I only listed them so it looks like I know what I’m talking about.
Anyway, given an infinite budget ROI isn’t much of a concern of course, but even the world’s largest companies don’t have sustainable bottomless sources of funds over the long term and there is always an opportunity cost to spending on marketing, whether that’s instead utilizing cash for research & development, paying out fat bonuses to owners or managers, gorging on share buy-backs (or token burns), or even buying Bitcoin to add to the balance sheet. So how do we maximize marketing ROI in the crypto world?
“The best things in life are free.”
ROI is calculated as benefit divided by cost, so as benefit increases, ROI also increases. This is largely what marketing theory concerns itself with (maximizing benefit) since most corporate marketing departments are given a set budget from which they must strive to deliver the optimal return.
But at the same time, as cost approaches zero, ROI approaches infinity. This does seem somewhat counter-intuitive though, implying that the secret to marketing success might actually be to not spend on marketing. Indeed, what marketing leader would voluntarily starve their department of funds and surely succumb to the deafening choruses of “wen marketing”.
“There is no substitute for hard work.”
But say we pursue a cost minmization approach — are there downsides to this? Downsides to trying to make do with less? Well obviously, otherwise everyone would be doing it. For starters, it relies on attracting and retaining genuine talent, leaders who are confident in their ability to overcome the entrenched strategic tensions and achieve marketing excellence without the crutch of using six-figure wads of cash to pump artificial steroids into their campaigns.
Of course, it also requires a lot of hard work. It’s understandably easier to just DM Bitboy & Dextools, drop stacks, and take the rest of the week off. Compare that to the tortuous effort of building up a strong community, organizing effective Twitter campaigns, and attracting the support of curious influencers organically over a period of months. Indeed, much like its agricultural counterpart, such organic growth can take a lot longer too — but this shouldn’t be a concern for projects seeking long-term sustainable success.
“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”
As alluded to earlier, what’s being described here is actually the pinnacle of marketing —some of the most well-known companies have become household names primarily via word of mouth and unofficial brand ambassadors, perhaps the most notable example being Tesla which famously eschews traditional paid marketing, advertising, and PR altogether, or even consider Bitcoin itself.
But in practice, this is just so difficult to achieve in the corporate world that it’s often quietly written off as an unrealistic and unachievable target. The wider public has hence become conditioned to expect this too, confusing the much broader concept of “marketing” with much more targeted “advertising” dollar expenditure.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity.”
Being the upside-down world that crypto is, going in too heavy too soon on “marketing” (paid advertising) can produce negative outcomes such that a better option is cutting out the middle man and sending the funds to a black hole wallet.
It’s not hard to find tokens that have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on premature advertising only to generate zero lasting benefit and even see their price collapse below IDO levels. Being backed into such a corner, having not only burnt precious cash reserves and starved product development, but also being unable to liquidate tokens to raise additional funds and having reduced the effectiveness of those advertising channels in the future… it’s not an enviable position to be in for sure.
The unique dynamics of the blockchain technology industry actually make it perhaps easier to achieve organic success than anywhere else, but it is still by no means easy to do. After first building an effective foundation of community support and organic marketing comes the perfect time to splash cash, and when timed correctly the results can be nothing short of spectacular.
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