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The difficult thing about marketing a blockchain-based product is that awareness of the technology remains low. The situation is a bit of a Catch 22: people in various industries, as well as the general public, are more likely to trust a new technology when they know more about it, but they might not want to familiarize themselves with that same technology unless they think it's trustworthy.
Inc. 500 entrepreneur Brian D. Evans, founder of Influencive, and also CMO of the blockchain-based transport and logistics company ShipChain, shares his thoughts on how to break through in this challenging environment.
Build a Team of Influencers
One of ShipChain's major strengths is the level of talent on its team. Evans himself has spent many years in online advertising and specializes in attracting massive audiences for apps and brands. His own site Influencive is a potent force in the online media world. Outside of his duties with ShipChain he regularly publishes news articles on the state of blockchain in his column for Inc. This outward facing media presence is essential to bringing newcomers (aka future customers) into the fold, especially considering that Inc. is a major site that covers many topics beyond blockchain.
In addition to Evans, some of ShipChain's other team members are CRO Sam Rusani, an entrepreneur and investor who's worked with multiple enterprise brands in the US and internationally, CTO Lee Bailey, CEO John Monarch, who's spent years in logistics as the CEO of the e-commerce fulfillment company Direct Outbound, and VP of Partnerships, Clinton Senkow, a media veteran with experience in marketing and sales for numerous startups, and the co-founder of Influencive with Brian D. Evans.
The networks and brand footprints such team members bring are essential to a blockchain marketing strategy, where establishing trust among those new to the technology is paramount.
Attract Industry Vets
When a company has a strong group of influencers on their team, they can leverage those networks to reach out to industry veterans. This is especially important in an emerging space like blockchain, where the presence of a respected name in the field goes a long way toward bringing others on board and forging necessary partnerships. In the case of ShipChain, this role is filled by the Chief Strategy Officer, Roger Crook, former CEO and global head of sales at DHL.
It's true that marketing within an industry is not the same as reaching those outside of it, but in the case of transport, there's a lot of overlap between worker and public. Not only is the industry valued in the trillions, but around 4.8 million people work in it in some capacity in the US, and the number is growing steadily. That's a huge potential audience for a product or platform.
Blockchain Has a Lot of Value
In order to convince the general public that blockchain is both trustworthy and valuable, you need to show its capabilities in action. This can be done second-hand through informational videos and write-ups on the technology or under the hood functionality, but a much more effective strategy is to organically weave the blockchain into the product or service you're selling.
In the case of supply chains, this can involve telling a shipment's 'story.' In Finland, blockchain is being used to give the customer information about the fish they're buying. Scanning a QR code reveals a wealth of data: which lake the fish was caught in, how recently it was caught, and how it reached the market. Customers can be sure the information is authentic thanks to the immutable nature of blockchain.
As Evans explains, "Blockchain is a powerful tool in establishing a trust-based relationship between brand and consumer. Because global commerce has alienated us from the supply chain to an extent, many people want to know more about what they're buying. Where it came from, who made it, whether it's sustainable or not, etc. The blockchain can tell them all of that."
Thus, putting the blockchain's power front and center before the customer not only provides a clear use-case, distinguishing a blockchain company from its competitors but also markets the technology directly to those who may not be familiar with it yet.
Marketing a technology as new and exciting as blockchain can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. But if your company can leverage its team of influencers to establish a powerful marketing presence within its industry and the crypto community, the general public won't be far behind.