How ICO marketing will change in 2019

Katya Kozyreva
3 min readJan 5, 2019
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I have been working as a PR, Social media and Community manager for blockchain projects since 2016. When we launched our first project, the key to success was the marketing budget. The company I worked for invested over $100k into advertising: we launched search ad campaigns, targeting on Facebook, re-targeting campaigns and banner ads on crypto websites and in ad networks.

The campaign was a success. The project, despite not having any prominent advisors and being run by widely unknown managers, attracted over 300k ETH during the crowdsale.

A year after, everybody got crazy about ICO trackers and ratings. Another project I worked with invested heavily into this tool. However, we came across scam and unproffessional services. Communities started playing an important role. Public relations and advisors as well. Actually, back in May 2017, it was one of the last successful crowdsales that attracted much investment from the crowds.

In H2 2017, crypto communities seemed to run out of the previously mined coins. Most funds had already been invested. Cryptofunds gained popularity. Direct sales and personal fundraising became the key success elements.

The market gained momentum, and projects finally started using all the traditional marketing instruments, profiting from the synergy of the marketing mix. Public relations, digital advertising, events, roadshows, special projects, social media, community management and even celebrity marketing needed to be applied to reach strategic goals. However, most of the funds already came from institutions like venture and special crypto funds. Marketing became a tool to impress the big rich guys.

In 2018, the focus shifted to the product. Not only a prototype or an alpha was needed to persuade the community, but at least a working beta — or, even better, the 1.0 version of the main product. The times when one could fundraise for a whitepaper, an idea and a team, are gone. Marketing instruments used for crypto-projects didn’t change much, however, the key messages focused on the products and teams.

In 2019, our clients are making ‘ICO for marketing’, not ‘marketing for ICO’. Successful projects launch crowdsales while being already backed by major private or institutional investors. A crowdsale isn not much of a fundraising instrument for them, but more of a marketing tool. This is a way to attract the first users, test product and marketing hypotheses, receive more international media coverage.

I assume that data-driven teams estimate that the ROI of an ICO marketing campaign is higher that the ROI of a product-driven campaign, especially when the product is still in beta or developing. Besides, such campaigns have lots of additional bonuses: the product may receive high scores in ratings, get traction from industry opinion leaders, attract the first loyal users and build a relevant community.

For us ICO marketers, that means that we need to widen and deepen our expertise, shifting towards general product marketing and community building. The instruments previously applied to ICO promotion will still be in demand, but savvy marketers will integrate them into general long- and mid-term strategies.

I am curious about all the upcoming changes the new year will bring to our industry. Do you have any forecasts? Let’s discuss!



Katya Kozyreva

Community & Social Media enthusiast for all things crypto. Head of Social Media & Community Management at Vinci PR.