Marketers Need to Adapt Faster to Web3
If you’re like most marketers, you’ve kept Web3 somewhere on your radar between ‘not yet’ and ‘some point in the future’. Well, it might be time to update this timeframe because Web3 could be coming sooner than we all thought. Whether a product of the pandemic or otherwise, many large brands in the United States are investing in Web3 to the point where it’s impossible to ignore.
Currently, brands are speeding towards a new Web3 era while agencies are quickly getting left behind. Whether a lack of strategy or skills, agencies and marketers need to adapt and adapt quickly if they want to be ready for this new world. What started as a small wave of excitement is steadily becoming a change the size of which we haven’t seen since the introduction and expansion of social media.
Traditionally, you’ll know that the smaller brands are the quickest to implement new strategies because they have certain flexibility not afforded to larger brands. With fewer overheads and lower risk, they can experiment and deliver effectively to consumers. Additionally, the lack of high-profile clients can also make experimentation a possibility.
On the other hand, companies with larger clients tend to have established systems upon which clients rely. Rather than monitoring every piece of new technology entering the field, they stick with well-tested approaches and aren’t as nimble.
Remember that we said traditional? That’s right — this isn’t how the market is going right now. Instead, the core features of Web3 are being adopted by the largest brands. Why? Because clients have embraced this new wave faster than most businesses. As a result, large brands have spotted this trend and rolled out various crypto, metaverse, NFT, and blockchain features.
Brands Leading the Way
Toward the end of last year, Anheuser Busch announced that it would be releasing ‘Budverse’ cans. However, rather than the physical cans to which we’re all accustomed, these cans were NFTs — in other words, accessible through the virtual world. At the point of compiling this guide, around 1,300 people own the so-called Heritage Edition of the Budverse Cans while 1,500 have been traded. Currently, the cans have a floor price of $0.43.
While this might seem low, the company intentionally only produced 1,936 (representing the year of its foundation) to generate scarcity and demand. Similar campaigns have been launched by Nike, Gucci, Macy’s, and other leading brands. See, we promised that these weren’t small brands partaking in Web3 activities.
While Vans built a skatepark experience for fans on Roblox, Gucci created a Garden Experience where users could buy luxury wearable items for their digital selves. Meanwhile, Nike recently created Nikeland in Roblox.
Like Nike, Adidas is also investing in Web3 after signing on the dotted line with Bored Ape Yacht Club. As a result of this relationship, people can buy one of 10,000 NFTs, ape avatars each with a different personality. Just in case this wasn’t enough, Visa spent $150,000 acquiring CryptoPunk NFT. Currently, this is the largest and most costly NFT on the market.
As you can see, there’s a definite trend of luxury brands investing in NFTs, the metaverse, and other features of Web3. However, Web3 hasn’t escaped the attention of mainstream American companies. As with any business practice or marketing technique, the investment would only be worthwhile if consumers were actively engaging. Fortunately, actively engaging is an understatement. Every year, people are more willing to spend their money on crypto, new metaverse access points, and NFTs.
Fortunately, integration is simple for companies because payment systems like PayPal, Robinhood, and Venmo have accommodated them. As far as crypto goes, many consumers have bought Ethereum, Bitcoin, or another currency through PayPal only to watch it grow in their accounts. If profit comes, they then spend the funds within the metaverse.
Consumers want to spend their hard-earned money on crypto and NFTs in the metaverse, companies want to accommodate them, and the barriers to entry are crumbling. Therefore, the whole ecosystem is more accessible for everyone.
What about the future of Web3? In truth, the future is limitless, and companies will continue to explore new avenues. While NFTs and crypto are an impressive start, there’s still more to come. The real power of Web3 will come when users can sign on using a single point — without separate passwords and usernames, you have one identity across the whole metaverse and Web3. This marks an improvement from Web2 where users must remember dozens of usernames and passwords (to varying degrees of success!).
In the future, we just need to give different parts of Web3 permission to access our identity and we can proceed with transactions. No creating an account, no writing down passwords in a little notepad that inevitably goes missing when you need it, no more hassle. Another benefit of this simplified system is that the risk of stolen credit card information falls to almost nothing.
If this isn’t confirmation of the D2C (direct to consumer) world, we don’t know what is. Once again, it’s important to emphasize the speed at which this trend is taking over the world. As a marketer or agency, it’s important to bring your resources together and assess how you can adapt to Web3 because consumers are leading the way and telling you that this is the direction that they desire.
Retooling and Coping with the Web3 Revolution
As this transition continues to occur at the speed of light, many agencies are changing their approach. For example, we’ve seen more agencies advertising advanced vacancies within the business. With agencies searching for new talent, they will soon offer Web3 services to clients. However, recruitment alone is unlikely to help because all agencies need to consider the skills of their team. If agencies are to please clients, retooling is essential.
Looking around the e-commerce market, we can already see this retooling underway. Not so long ago, Shopify overhauled its platform so that storefronts could hold NFTs. Soon after, the Chicago Bulls built its own storefront on the platform. Additionally, those who launch stores will have access to a beta program where they can sell NFTs without complicated management. In the coming months, don’t be surprised to see more e-commerce platforms making the same shift.
One of the biggest problems for marketing agencies right now is the lack of talent. Since this is a new field, it’s not like hiring somebody to head up the social media aspect of the strategy. According to some estimates, as little as 100,000 people in the world have experience in crypto shops and Web3 features. As the niche grows in the next 18 months, the market will soon need over one million developers.
If you’re an agency, what can you do? Well, one step is to train developers in Solidity. Ethereum and many other blockchains and smart contracts are powered by this programming language, so this is a good start. Fortunately, those who already have some knowledge of Rust or C++ will get along just fine with Solidity; this is much better than starting from scratch.
To upskill your existing workers, we highly recommend investing in training materials for your team. However, don’t think that you need to spend lots of money sending your team across the country for training events. The world was already going digital, and the pandemic only accelerated this shift. As well as virtual events, utilize Skillshare, Udemy, and Coursera. Experienced developers have created courses on these platforms for this very purpose.
To really understand the pace at which the market is moving, the situation seems to change in days rather than weeks or months. For those old enough to remember, the introduction of Web3 feels like the introduction of e-commerce. Toward the beginning of 1996, Java entered the world, and marketing companies were forced through a similar process of retooling. As many dot-com companies started hiring, candidates would sit in bed reading the Java manual ready to impress any prospective employers.
When the marketing niche evolves, some people have experience in the area, and this helps the transition. In 1996, everybody was working from a blank slate, and this is reminiscent of the situation that we have today. If you’re to take solace from this analogy, everything seemed to work out for agencies, businesses, and the whole economy. Therefore, there’s no reason why the industry can’t also overcome this latest revolution.
As a marketer or marketing agency, you have two options: you can shy away from the change and lose ground to competitors, or you can be at the forefront of this revolution. Whether you choose to embrace Web3 or not, the market will move without you. Consider upskilling your team, keeping up to date with the news, and positioning your agency for success with clients.