How Blockchain, AI, and Martech Intersect

tl;dr: When data is available to everyone, the skills of a marketer must adapt from acquisition to insight. Crypto networks give us a preview and Artificial Intelligence for marketers is on the way.

I visited the Alethio site the other night and was playing around with their tool, EthStats.

It’s a way to visually explore what is happening on the Ethereum blockchain. Think Etherscan, but with a much nice UI and more perspectives.

While not really a “crypto-native martech” tool, since there’s no token or decentralized element that I can see, EthStats is a marketing technology that exists only because blockchains do.

Alethio is a project that has value only because of the arrival of blockchains.

Exploring the Blockchain for Insight

As you click around with Alethio, you have an opportunity for the story of the blockchain to unfold for you. You can see things like:

  • the number of transactions
  • the amount of gas paid for each
  • how long transactions were sitting in the mempool

…and more.

Somewhere, in all of that data, are clues about human behavior. [By the way, this is the kind of thing that Endor (discl: advisor) specializes in.]

Maybe I’m too geeky, but I found it fascinating to look for clues.

The challenge, of course, is that there’s no way that my simple human brain can figure out the multi-dimensional relationships between all of the pieces of data in a blockchain.

AI on top of Blockchain

This is exactly where AI fits into the equation.

AI is ideal for looking at multi-dimensional relationships and offering up insights that humans can’t obtain on their own.

Yet, right now, it would appear that we’re still very early in the AI revolution (thought coming fast) and AI has yet to reshape most businesses. The way to make an impact, according to most experts, is to “start small.”

Which brings me to blockchain-based projects.

Unlike start-ups in other industries, everyone has access to the same data. It’s a true level playing field. And, unlike existing institutions, it’s literally all in one place.

This led me to think that as we watch the growth of the Blockchain MarTech Landscape, we may have to think specifically about AIs that sit on top of one (or more) blockchains.

AI is already making its way into traditional martech (here’s a great primer from Sprinklr). It’s only a matter of time before Alethio or someone else begins to offer AI MarTech specifically for crypto projects.

When Data is Available to All

The centralized Internet giants of today gain much of their power from their unique data sets (no matter how they obtain it, right Facebook?).

The more data they have, the more they can interpret that data to offer unique experiences to each of us.

But what happens when all of the data about behavior is available to everyone? And what happens when much of that data is encrypted?

That day is not near, but it’s not 100 years off either.

As projects like Ocean Protocol pick up steam, people will see they have a choice. Given the current Zeitgeist (I know I use that term a lot, but I just love it), it’s not such a far stretch to imagine that people will migrate.

Yes, the UX must be there. So must the right application.

However, when people see that they will be rewarded with incentives for sharing their private, encrypted data and get paid when it is used, they will move.

As William Mougayar eloquently explains, The Consumer-to-Blockchain Paid Model Is Coming. I think he’s right.

When all is said and done, I think these elements of open data, encryption, and incentivization is going to be a forcing function on AI MarTech skills and tech.

The marketing game will change as we move from proprietary data to open data. The skill set will move from data acquisition to data insight.

Ultimately, AI is going to reinvent how we invent. As marketers, our role in informing future innovations in our organizations depends on our ability to drive consumer insights from the data.

I’ve carved out 30 minutes per week to explore AI MarTech. I feel very much behind on this one.