Blockchain, after the global hype around it in 2017, has died down but is now maturing and “preparing to usher in a new era of digital marketing”, says Lachlan Feeney, CEO and founder of the blockchain consultancy. Australian-based blockchain Labrys. He explains why blockchain could help the future of marketing backed by some of its USPs: incorruptible customer data, real traffic, and transparency.
The pandemic-induced digital transformation boom in Australia has not escaped the marketing industry, even though digital marketing had a significant lead over most other industries. Not only have digital strategies revolutionized the marketing industry over the past few decades, but every industry that depends on it, allowing brands to be more focused and strategic than ever. However, the acceleration of technological innovation over the past 18 months and a new era of savvy, digitally-driven consumers present immense opportunities for the marketing industry to push the boundaries of innovation even further. .
This year, blockchain emerged from behind the shadow of cryptocurrencies, responding to the hype that peaked in 2017. Blockchain is far more pragmatic and innovative than a cryptocurrency – its most famous use case – and is already creating countless innovations that improve the way industries operate and businesses connect with their customers. Its potential to usher in a new era of digital marketing 2.0 is incredibly exciting.
Blockchain has come a long way
The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger used to record transactions. Traditionally, financial transactions – which is how they rose to prominence in powering cryptocurrencies – but today almost everything is digital. It peaked in 2017, but as the noise died down publicly, behind the scenes innovations flourished and the industry began to evolve beyond its traditional association with Bitcoin.
In its simplest form, a blockchain is a form of peer-to-peer exchange that removes the need for a third party, such as a bank, for financial transactions. While we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of its immense potential, the technology already has many advantages, including security, transparency and traceability. For marketers looking to target the right audiences, reduce click bots and ad fraud, and deliver more experiential experiences, blockchain offers many competitive advantages.
How Blockchain Fits Well in the Marketing Industry?
Although still a relatively young technology, blockchain has the potential to change the way businesses and consumers interact. By removing the middleman between two parties – like, say, Google between marketers and their customers – blockchain allows brands to go straight to the source.
Blockchain also enables the collection of incorruptible customer data, the creation and storage of individual consumer profiles which allow for much more targeted campaigns. Marketers can code NFTs (non-fungible tokens) – one of 2021’s defining social and technological innovations – with customer insights from CRM, such as age, demographics and consumption habits, and personalize each with relevant information, content or promotions.
For example, the National Retail Federation led the NGAGE project, showing how gamified digital objects on the blockchain can “here in a new era in retail marketing.” The project released hundreds of virtual butterflies and branded digital objects, bringing a virtual scavenger hunt to life. Using mobile phones, attendees could catch butterflies on a map or in augmented reality, redeemable for real gifts at a blockchain booth.
future of marketing
It has the potential to deliver the “wow” campaigns marketers are looking for and to improve the brand-customer relationship and experience; enabling consumers and brands to maximize the value of their relationship. Plus, secure traffic can be verified as real people, not fake accounts or click farms, keeping marketing costs low and engagement high.
This is another significant advantage: transparency. There are long-term battles against click fraud, fake accounts, and click farms in the advertising and marketing industries. So much so that one in five clicks is estimated to be fake. However, because a blockchain is an immutable distributed ledger that cannot be modified or hacked, it is much easier for marketers to distinguish genuine engagement from fake engagement. Additionally, blockchain can mitigate intellectual property issues by providing proof of ownership of an idea, campaign, or piece of content.
For marketers – and, increasingly, consumers – few issues are more important than data security – especially as our exposure to, and reliance on, the Internet increases. Breaches are common and damaging, but blockchain is much more secure than other record keeping systems because every new transaction is encrypted, protecting it from hacks.
Through targeting and transparency, security and profitability, blockchain has the potential to usher in a new era of digital marketing innovation. While it may seem like a technology of the future, it’s already being leveraged by companies in every industry, including marketing – where early adopters are getting a leg up on their competition. So, for marketers looking to stand out from the competition and lead by example in Digital Marketing 2.0, thinking outside the box can mean working inside the blocks.
Lachlan Feeney is the CEO and founder of Australian-based blockchain consultancy Labrys.