The technologies we now have at the tip of our fingers were once buried under speculation, contemplation and doubt. The smartphone, social media and even the internet in general were all at one time resting in a dormant phase. Within a matter of few years, the whole scenario transformed for good.
One such technology that has recently budded and blossomed at an unbelievable pace is blockchain. Back in 2008, when Bitcoin was launched by Satoshi Nakamoto, the knowledge of blockchain application was restricted to cryptocurrencies. As the years went by, more and more industries started exploring blockchain to utilize its incredible benefits.
Marketing is one such industry that is massively benefiting from blockchain. Blockchain marketing solves some of the major hiccups of this industry: the presence of ‘middlemen’ and the lack of process transparency. In the coming sections, we will discuss in detail how blockchain is helping marketers alleviate skepticism and build a decentralized environment for themselves and their consumers.
To understand blockchain, imagine an excel spreadsheet. Just like the spreadsheet, there are many blocks in the blockchain; each one is linked to another and has some information stored in it. And just like the spreadsheet, it can be shared with the desired users.
Additionally, blockchain is secured cryptographically and prevents any kind of tampering with the information. The information stored in the blocks follows a consensus algorithm, which means there is a consensus among users on what to store inside. Once the information is stored by mutual agreement, it does not allow users to add, edit or remove information in any of the blocks.
We read in the earlier section that blockchain is a distributed ledger that stores information in the form of blocks.
But have you wondered how blockchain is different from any other data-storing technology? The answer to that lies in the following pivot properties of blockchain.
No single person is in charge of a block unless it is a private one, such as those used in financial institutions like banks. The global blockchain has a consensus wherein every participant in a block is responsible and aware of the transactions going on in it.
There is no central hub for data storage in a blockchain. Each block validates for the previous block, and this way it becomes a strong network with no central point of failure. Here is how it works. This property protects it from malicious attacks.
Once encrypted, the data on blocks cannot be altered. Even an administrator cannot change it. This is the prime reason why blockchains are highly secure and validate the authenticity of the information.
These properties of blockchain have made it a symbol of trust and security and have contributed to its CAGR, which is anticipated to grow by 58.7 percent between 2016-2024.
With so much going on in blockchain development, marketing would be wise to take advantage of this technology. Let’s find out how blockchain will change the status quo in marketing.
The following are six innovative ways through which marketers can transform the customer experience by leveraging blockchain technology:
If we consider the online advertising industry, about 70 percent of advertisers fail to target consumers with behavioral data, and over one in a thousand ads gets clicked in an online display ad campaign.
The point here is, marketers have consumer data and pay exorbitant fees to the middlemen involved in advertising but, even then, are unable to engage the target audience.
So how to get the right audience to see your ad and then get them to engage with it?
Luckily blockchain technology offers a solution. Organizations like BitClave have reached a whole new level of innovation and utilized blockchain’s properties to create a decentralized search engine that helps advertisers get in front of their target audience.
The impressive fact is they even compensate the target audience in the form of CAT tokens for providing their personal data to the advertisers. So every time someone clicks on ads on the BitClave search engine, they get paid. This increases the hyper targeting of ads, and people see only those ads they have stated interest in.
Thus, blockchain and its tremendous power to decentralize can truly solve the consumer engagement and targeting factor in the advertising industry.
Ad fraud in the marketing industry is becoming a serious issue for advertisers. Paying for fake clicks and impressions has become a common phenomenon today. It was found that in January 2017 alone, one in every five pay-per-clicks was fraudulent.
Ad fraud is not only emptying the pockets of marketers but also distorting their analytical data, which is ultimately affecting their strategic decisions.
If only there was a way to authenticate clicks…
With the foundation of blockchain technology, advertising platforms can display all click-throughs in real time. They can also help marketers by renting out their advertising space and bringing quality traffic. Companies like BitTeaser and adChain have already disrupted PPC advertising using this technique.
A customer never forgets when he is made to feel special. That’s why loyalty programs work so well with sales. So how can marketers use blockchain technology to create an amazing experience for their customers?
A gift card can rest upon the blockchain and become a safe platform for issuing and maintaining gift cards and loyalty programs. Frequently, customers accumulate several gift cards and don't get to use them because either the card has a few bucks left or doesn't buy something they find useful. Result? All the money goes down the drain and creates a bad consumer experience.
This gap can be filled using blockchain technology, converting the gift cards into digital coins/wallet, allowing customers to redeem them. Better yet, combine different coupons, gift cards, etc. and redeem them in a single transaction.
Companies like Centz and OrionCoin have successfully used this concept to save millions of dollars that go to waste in gift cards. Another example of loyalty programs leveraging blockchain technology is Gyft, which is a public ledger that makes exchanging and redeeming gift cards hassle-free.
No marketer questions the power of good data. It is the basis of messaging in any campaign. Despite so many tools available today, marketers are still not able to hit that mark of accuracy with customer data.
In a Salesforce user survey conducted last year, over half of respondents reported that they were unable to get a complete customer profile due to a poor quality of data.
As we know, the most accurate data can only be provided by a customer himself. The question is: What will get the customer to share his precious data?
Blockchain technology, along with crowdsourcing, has made it possible to encourage customers to share their data in return for some kind of compensation. By placing the customers at the center of the data economy, the data obtained will be authentic and highly relevant.
Companies like Dataeum use blockchain technology and crowdsourcing to collect data from verified users and make it accessible to interested companies through a decentralized marketplace. The data collectors get reliable and accurate data, while the data providers are compensated for providing their data. It’s a win-win for both parties.
Who would have anticipated that blockchain would one day decentralize the way you buy things online?
Platforms like Open Bazar make use of blockchain technology to create a decentralized marketplace wherein vendors can sell their items directly to customers without needing to pay third-party platform fees. It also has a built-in Bitcoin wallet that helps to pay and earn in cryptocurrency.
It’s 2018, and brands have realized their target audience is more inclined to believe what people are saying about their brand rather than what the brand is saying about itself.
According to Tomoson Survey, 59 percent of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budgets in the coming year.
Platforms like SocialMedia.Market, a decentralized influencer advertising marketplace, are fighting the most prevalent issues in influencer marketing using blockchain.
Leveraging blockchain’s transparency and immutability, these platforms are helping marketers solve the issues such as authenticating the identity of an influencer, validating her followers, getting a guarantee on ROI with the help of smart contracts, wherein the payment can be held in escrow until the desired output has been achieved by influencers.
As customer experience continues to stay at the epicenter, marketers will be looking out for innovative ways to improve their strategies.
Blockchain combined with existing marketing technologies has gained exceptional results consumer satisfaction, relevancy and authenticity. Extracting its real potential can truly benefit marketers in creating a secure, transparent and authentic customer experience.
The versatility of blockchain technology is fascinating and compels you to take it for a spin. However, it’s realistic to first develop a robust understanding of how it will help your company. Remember, blockchain holds different meanings for different industries, and the wise thing to do here is figure out what it means for your company and then act accordingly.
Jaity Pandey is a digital marketing enthusiast and a ghostwriter at Enterprise Monkey, an Australia-based web and app development company. She is a passionate blogger and has proficiency in search engine optimization, digital marketing trends, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertisement. She helps her readers understand and define the scope of online marketing.