It’s official. Blockchain is more than a passing fad.
Much more, actually.
The technology behind the most famous cryptocurrency on the planet, Bitcoin, remains a somewhat mysterious topic to the mainstream population, but it is rapidly gaining global attention for its immense capabilities.
Recent studies from the World Economic Forum predict that by the year 2027, blockchain technology will be home to as much as 10% of the world’s GDP.
So, what is all the hype about? And how can blockchain change marketing in the years ahead?
How Does Blockchain Technology Work?
In 2017, Bitcoin proved to be a volatile investment, fluctuating wildly in a short space of time, dropping several thousand percent in value in one month.
However, one thing many people are yet to realize is that Blockchain is much more than Bitcoin.
For starters, it is far more secure. It is far more reliable.
More importantly, it is far more powerful.
So, what is blockchain, exactly?
Blockchain is a shared ledger, distributed over a wide network of computers. Whenever anyone adds data to the ledger, it will become the next “block” on the chain.
But before they can add it, multiple protocols must be satisfied in order to validate the data.
They must get consensus from several other computers on the network. In addition to this, every block in the chain is encrypted with some incredibly sophisticated, mathematical coding.
Put simply, that means two things:
- You need to have advanced coding skills AND the backing of other verified personnel on the chain just to add data.
- The chain has no single point of failure. Cracking it requires attacks at multiple computer nodes in the chain, at the same time.
The bottom line?
Blockchain is immutable. Uncrackable. Hacker-proof.
What is the Expected Marketing Impact of Blockchain?
So, how does this impenetrable technology impact marketing in the digital age?
Without a shred of embellishment, blockchain has the potential to be a revolutionary technology.
It opens up an “an internet of value”, where vendors and customers are able to store and exchange valuable assets directly. Soon, there will be no more need for intermediaries.
Several major industries could well be shaken up in the next few years, with disruption expected in banking, real estate, and even government.
Modern marketers rely on data insights from an array of channels. An unfortunate by-product of the world’s love for the internet is the pollution of fake news, thin content and clickbait. More nefarious than all of that, is spam and fraud, which costs advertising executives more than 7 billion dollars each year.
As this problem continues to grow, CMOs find themselves under pressure to find ways to restore trust between customers and companies, so that brands can establish themselves as one worth investing in.
Blockchain may well have the answer to this problem.
How Can Blockchain Improve Marketing?
At its very core, blockchain is a trust machine. It offers transparency and security on an unprecedented level.
For marketers, that opens the doors to great opportunities for their brand, and also poses new challenges.
1. It Makes Your Brand More Trustworthy
Blockchain allows companies to exercise greater control over their supply chain. From the supplier to the shipping company, to retailers and end-users, your organization is able to guarantee the highest levels of security and quality throughout the process.
This is made possible through smart contracts. Agreements between the relevant parties are set before any action is taken, and as long as the stipulations are adhered to, payments will be released on time, every time. Major retailers including Walmart are already using blockchain technology to offer a more secure service, at a lower cost.
This presents a platform on which to build a brand that customers, suppliers and investors can trust. If your company integrates blockchain, you can be sure that people will view your business as a reliable, dependable outfit.
2. Blockchain Minimizes Fraud in Advertising
Middlemen can be a problem for marketers. By taking them out of the equation, your company can reduce the risk of any fraudulent activity with your advertising campaign.
Blockchain is already doing this in a number of ways. For example, the app AdShares facilitates direct communications between publishers and advertisers. The platform allows the publishers to monitor the view of their ad, and protects them from being scammed by bot-generated views. They only need to pay after views have been verified as genuine.
3. It Makes It Harder to Convert Leads
Arguably the greatest benefit that the world stands to gain from blockchain is that we can reclaim our rights to privacy. People will have more autonomy over their own personal online data.
Instead of big companies owning the digital versions of us, we can take back control of our data and decide who may access it, and for what purpose.
Blockchain-based apps do this by acting as a secure wallet, which is locked cryptographically. It can download data from various sources, such as your social media, Google or Apple accounts.
The big change here will be felt by content marketers, as they will need to up their game in order to convince people to open their wallets up and give out their personal data.
4. Social media
Social media has evolved dramatically over the past few years, transforming from a personal networking tool into a marketing juggernaut.
With that shift in the dynamic, people and businesses alike need to take more precautions in the information they share on social media, especially if they’re using it for marketing purposes.
The Cambridge scandal earlier this year certainly didn’t help Facebook’s reputation in this respect. Blockchain could have helped the social media giant out, and in future, losing the data of 50 million users wouldn’t be a concern with the technology backing you up.
With blockchain technology in play, social media can improve verification practices for identities and marketplaces, which allows them to offer greater assurances to their users. Better yet, they can combat fake news, improving the quality of content on social media.
This is great news for marketers, as it allows them to cut through the noise that is the scourge of many platforms nowadays.
A Bright Future for Blockchain Marketing
In the early 1990s, Silicon Valley was alive with ambitious individuals who flashed the cash and touted bright ideas for the possibilities of the internet.
Indeed, the early days of the web promised a lot.
Blockchain is causing similar waves now.
It has already begun disrupting the global economy in many ways, and has the potential to truly revolutionize how business is done.
Marketers must stay tuned in to the latest developments with this immutable technology, for it is surely going to become the backbone of many industries in the years to come.
Learning how to use it for your company’s benefit is certainly a worthwhile venture.