The digital marketing revolution was in full swing in 2017 and looks to have a lot of positive momentum headed into the new year. Much of that momentum has been fueled by the wave of new marketing technology that opened doors for marketers to try new and exciting ways of marketing to their target audience.
However, it is not just marketing-specific technologies that are creating a stir; more general technological developments outside the realm of marketing stand to have a potentially huge impact on your marketing strategy in 2018, too. Artificial intelligence is one such development that has garnered some serious attention as of late. However, there is another exciting new technology with the potential to advance your marketing strategy in the near future: blockchain.
Though most widely recognized for its role in cryptocurrency, blockchain technology is poised to have a dramatic impact on several other industries outside of new finance. This post explores exactly how this exciting new technology may influence your marketing strategy. First, let’s answer an important question.
What Exactly is Blockchain?
One could spend hours digging into the complexities of blockchain technology, but a simple definition goes something like this: blockchain is a decentralized public record of user-generated information. In the world of cryptocurrency, blockchain operates as a digital ledger wherein transactions are chronologically recorded in what are called “blocks.” These blocks allow for a universal, accurate record of digital currency transactions without the need for a central authority maintaining the records.
The advantages of blockchain technology versus centralized record keeping are two-fold. First comes the permanence of data within the blockchain. Records are stored accurately and securely within blocks and cannot be altered or copied in the future. The second benefit comes from the decentralized nature of blockchain. Because this new technology lives on the computers of its users and not one centralized server, all users contribute to the data and help verify its validity. In the cryptocurrency world, the combination of these two benefits allows new financiers to make and record secure transactions based on a collective agreement regarding the worth of a specific currency like bitcoin. As a marketer, you may be asking, "So what?"
How Does Blockchain Technology Stand to Impact the World of Marketing?
The expansion of blockchain outside the world of new finance is still in its most elementary stages. However, use cases outside of cryptocurrency have been as broad and wide as verifying the authenticity of rare sneakers to helping couples tie the knot.
Blockchain’s impact on marketing is still largely speculative. Ideas about how the technology will influence the future of customer engagement can at times sound so futuristic that you may think you are reading a science-fiction novel. However, there are a few use cases that are generally accepted to-date.
#1. Blockchain will replace the middleman.
Much like how the new finance industry looks to disrupt the banking world by cutting out the need for centralized banks to facilitate financial transactions, blockchain could potentially derail the current structure of advertising. Agencies and distributors, who currently facilitate ad transactions for a fee, stand to lose the most here. Blockchain technology enables marketers to bypass these middlemen and go directly to a site owner to verify user data and provide payment.
The result would mean less work for agencies and distributors, but better profit margins for advertisers who currently commit a percentage of their ad spend to covering fees by those agencies or distributors.
#2. Blockchain will give power to the consumer.
Your customer data comes from any number of different inbound streams. From web traffic to social channels and everywhere in between, marketers pick up insights about their customers piece-by-piece to create a comprehensive view of their target audience.
Blockchain has the power to turn this entire transaction on its head. Rather than waiting to accumulate customer data over time, a consumer could supply you with a permanent record of their data all at once through the blockchain. Of course, many analysts speculate that consumers are unlikely to do that without a price. That means the entire relationship between marketers and consumers may be inverted; marketers may pay consumers to acquire their data and show them advertisements.
While at first that may seem like a loss for marketers — after all, who wants to pay for something they previously acquired for free? — this development means big things for the future of display advertising. 615 million devices worldwide now have ad blocking software installed, a 30 percent increase year-over-year. Blockchain could allow marketers to bypass the growing trend of ad blocking and get their message in front of their target audience for a nominal fee.
#3. Brand your company as an innovative supporter of new technologies.
From a public image standpoint, embracing blockchain technology by accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment for your product or service opens doors to new branding opportunities. With the recent boom in bitcoin growth, more people are investing in cryptocurrencies and looking to spend their digital currencies with innovative vendors and service providers. Not only does accepting bitcoin open you up to another method of secure payment, it also creates a branding opportunity for driving new customers to your business.
ReachForce Understands the Power of Blockchain on the Future of Marketing
ReachForce helps marketers increase revenue contribution by solving some of their toughest data management problems. We understand the challenges of results-driven marketers and provide solutions to make initiatives like marketing automation, personalization, and predictive marketing better. Whether you have an acute pain to solve today or prefer to grow your capabilities over time, ReachForce can unify, clean, and enrich prospect and customer lifecycle data in your business, and do it at your own pace.