Elon Musk says Web3 is a marketing buzzword – that’s the point!

Web3: either you hate it or you love it. And the great arbiter of tech trends, Elon Musk, has decided that it’s not that hot. The concept “seems more like a marketing buzzword than a reality right now”, he tweeted in December.

But the fact that it’s a marketing buzzword is the goal. Nobody knows what the Internet will look like in 10 years, but one thing is certain. Web3 is going to bring a massive upgrade to the area dear to my heart in my professional career: marketing.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for a few months, Web3 refers to new internet services that run on the blockchain and often promise users reduced profits. Consumer brands – from Pringles to Burberry to Visa – are already launching via non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Consumer-facing companies are always ahead of the curve when it comes to embracing new channels to market, and it certainly gives me deja vu about the channels I’ve seen come and go over the years. When I was interning at Coca-Cola in 2008, MySpace was the most popular channel, and we were even doing black and white phone campaigns. After that, at Spotify, I saw the rise of the social media department and, more recently, digital audio.

So much has changed over the past decade. But one thing hasn’t changed: huge budgets are still spent on marketing to push products to potential buyers on the same well-known platforms. Marketing is often the largest expense for company P&Ls, including those backed by venture capital.

Now there’s a new kid on the block: Web3. I’m celebrating because that’s all I wanted to do as a marketer!

Web3 Marketing

Web3 is a shared ownership approach, making sure people feel like they have their skin in the game and have real stakes (tokens) in the projects they love (whether it’s a DAO , an NFT project or a social club like FwB). It’s a chance for marketers to see people no longer as passive consumers and more as fans and participants.

This is why crypto projects grow without traditional marketing expenses. Additionally, if a project goes well, there is the promise of a financial benefit. It’s different from the status quo; companies reward consumers for sharing highly personal content and information with… hyper-targeted ads. We already know that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. We can do better.

Instead of running expensive ads on Google, Facebook and the like, tomorrow’s marketers will start building a small community of truly engaged precocious fans. Community building is becoming the new marketing that can help businesses grow organically.

“[Web3] is a chance for marketers to see people no longer as passive consumers and more as fans and participants”

Of course, community-driven marketing isn’t something that just pops up with Web3 – it’s been there long before. Some products started with a community (like influencers who build an audience and later launch their own cosmetics or fashion brand), others have a community as a product (On Deck, Peanutcohort-based learning platforms like Coleap) and others have a community built around their product like Peloton and Patagonia.

Until now, these communities were fragmented across multiple channels, rewards consisted of redeemable loyalty points, and communication was rather one-sided (one-to-many messaging, little interaction between community members, etc.) . Web3 will radically change these approaches to community marketing by creating secure access with exclusive NFTs, sending airdrops to the most engaged contributors and ambassadors, and letting them participate in the governance and success of the company.

Companies should seriously consider introducing a Web3 manager, at least temporarily, within their marketing departments. The goal would not just be to drop an NFT, open a shop in the metaverse, or provide crypto payment options, but to rethink and redesign the relationship with customers by putting communities at the heart.

Web3 opens up a whole new world of possibilities for marketers to create, grow and reward not consumers, but communities. I’m sure we’ll also be happy to see fewer one-sided ad campaigns.

Katia Yakovleva is co-founder of Beyond.

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