The following is a guest post contributed by Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing, a growth marketing advisory firm focused 100% on blockchain and decentralized technologies. He will be presenting at the upcoming MarTech conference in Boston, October 2-4, on Blockchain and the CMO: The Next Era of Marketing.
If you are an entrepreneur or investor with an understanding of the needs of marketers and the core concepts of marketing, you have just landed upon a massive opportunity. Introducing the Blockchain Marketing Technology Landscape (2017), the first-ever mapping of marketing solutions based upon blockchain and decentralized technologies.
Blockchain Martech Is Already Underway
As blockchain (the technology underpinning Bitcoin) enters the mainstream, the first new marketing service business models and technologies are emerging.
Advertising will most likely be the first function to be attacked. There are at least 7 different blockchain-based initiatives to tackle this industry. Why? Simply put, the number of middlemen and amount of friction makes it ripe for blockchain-based disruption.
For every $1 a brand invests in advertising, they only get $.44 of value. One Forrester analyst claims that publishers who remove middlemen can increase CPM from $1 to $5. As if that is not bad enough, bots alone inflicted $7.2 billion in fraud last year.
But that is just the beginning.
The CMO Primer for the Age of Blockchains (which includes forewords by the CMOs of Nasdaq and Dun & Bradstreet) highlights how multiple functions of marketing including loyalty, customer experience, and brand may be impacted. The benefits of a transparent, lower cost, reduced risk decentralized system will exert competitive pressure on existing marketing solutions.
The good news, as you can see in the first-ever Blockchain Marketing Technology Landscape, is that there is a lot of whitespace. Most of these categories have no entrants. (Note: if you know of one that is missing, feel free to add it here.)
Yet, you can probably bet a Bitcoin or two that, in the near future, this chart will look as crowded as the one that inspired it.
Blockchain Martech Will Mirror Traditional Martech Growth
As background, take a look at the current industry standard Marketing Technology Landscape, a fixture for the “students of the marketing game.” It’s crowded with over 5,000 companies on the list.
Yet, once upon a time it was relatively uncrowded with only 150 companies on the list:
In a blockchain world, everything that can be tokenized will be tokenized and everything that can be decentralized will be decentralized. Which is why there is a good chance that many of the companies on the martech landscape list will have a decentralized equivalent in some form or fashion.
Six years from now, it would not be surprising if there were 3,000-4,000 projects on the Blockchain Marketing Technology Landscape.
Understanding Blockchain Martech
Let’s just look at just a few of the projects highlighted so you can get your head around the opportunity.
The Papyrus Project (token sale later this fall) is in the decentralized advertising space (many others were profiled in the CMO Primer for Blockchains), which aims to provide open source infrastructure for the entire industry. Their goal is both rip out the inefficiency in the existing supply-demand chain and enable a fair exchange of value between users, publishers and advertisers.
Through a token-based system, they hope to offer users control over which ads they want to see, who has access to their personal information and a market determined compensation for their data, attention and actions. In this model, you don’t need ad blocking software because you get to choose which ads you see and you get paid for it.
As if that is not ambitious enough, Papyrus is building a decentralized reputation system for all ad market participants, which will leverage blockchain to provide increased transparency and improve brand safety, ad quality, and prevent fraudulent traffic as well as unscrupulous players.
That means publishers will have greater monetization opportunities and brands will have greater confidence that the ads they created are being delivered to the intended audience. Let’s not leave out app developers who will earn the right to quickly target and re-target existing users for cross-sell and up-sell.
On the email side, 21.co enables individuals to put a price on their attention. In other words, no more spam. Instead of you paying with your attention for an unsolicited email, you get paid to read unsolicited email. Want to reach Marc Andreesen? He’ll promise to read your email… but it will cost you $100.
By moving the cost of email from the recipient to the sender, we will start to see email systems that compensate people for the value of their time and attention in amounts ranging from very large to very, very small. Bitbounce is another player here.
Many of the challenges that plague email also plague market research, particularly as it relates to forecasting demand and product-market fit. Old-school focus groups and surveys are ineffective.
But what about a prediction market?
That is what Augur and Gnosis do. You will soon see prediction markets not just for sporting or political events, but also the success or failure of product launches. You will use these types of tools to gauge sentiment and/or determine budget for a given event.
If you look at the Gnosis site, you will see a few sample decentralized Apps (dApps) represented. The price discovery one is a perfect example of where we might go. Don’t guess at what price the market will bear, let the market tell you.
Some of the classifications can definitely be debated. Most likely, some of them will need to be altered. It is near certain that new ones will need to be invented.
For just example, putting decentralized identity solutions such as MetaMask and uPort in the CRM category is probably a stretch, even if they are similar concepts. Some of the technologies here are not fully decentralized/blockchain-enabled, such as Keybase.
What is perhaps the biggest challenge is that many of these are not tools, rather protocols which will enable tools down the road.
Over time, we will fix the categorizations as we go. We will improve how we classify. We will also ultimately rename this from Blockchain Marketing Technology Landscape to “Decentralized Marketing Technology Landscape” — when the time is right.
What It All Means
The classifications matter less than the trend line.
Blockchain and decentralized technologies are coming for both general application and marketing applications.
The Blockchain Marketing Technology Landscape just presents those that are here today.
It is very early in this evolution, so there is time for existing martech companies to develop a blockchain/decentralization strategy. There is also going to be an explosion of new start-ups who will enter the space and add value.
I’ll be watching this space very carefully. Let me know what you see.
Thanks, Jeremy! Looking forward to seeing you at MarTech in Boston in another week!