When it comes to talking about the future of Web3, some marketers say too much time is spent discussing terms and not enough time talking about real use cases.
“We talk too much about is it Web3, is it Web2, is it the metaverse,” said Sandy Carter, senior vice president and channel chief for Unstoppable Domains, a company that provides non-fungible token domain names and other digital identity tools. “We should focus on what the customer wants.”
Carter is no stranger to promoting emerging tech. Before joining Unstoppable Domains, she was an executive at Amazon and IBM, where she helped companies use various tools related to cloud software.
Rather than creating a Web3 strategy, she said companies should spend more time understanding what they want to change for customers. “In an ideal world, we don’t say Web3, we don’t say metaverse, we don’t say those buzzwords, but we’re solving a true need that the customer has,” Carter said.
During the Web Summit tech conference last week, Carter was just one of many tech executives in Lisbon discussing the various implications and challenges that come with adopting new technology.
Since early last year, marketers have invested in an increasingly wide range of Web3 initiatives. Some brands have rolled out limited — or in some cases expansive — NFT collections. Others have built virtual worlds, experimented with using NFTs for other uses such as loyalty programs and “token-gated commerce,” or even opened brick-and-mortar stores. However, the ongoing bear market for crypto and NFT prices has prompted new skepticism despite all the hype.
Ditching terms and taking more time
Some Web3 enthusiasts — both inside and outside of marketing — often express the urgency of getting people to adopt everything from NFTs and blockchains to various versions of metaverses. However, some working within blockchain-based companies say it can take longer to put projects in place than people think.
“I used to know every project that was being built on Ethereum, every single one,” said Amanda Cassatt, co-founder and CEO of Serotonin, a marketing agency for Web3 companies. “Now it’s hard to track everything that’s going on with Web3 because it’s going in so many directions. At the end of the day, it’s a substrate and a set of tools to work with rather than a set of foregone outcomes so it’s only natural that it’s going in so many different directions.”
Consumers also don’t need all the technical terms right away if people understand what the tech is being used for, according to Jeremiah Owyang, chief marketing officer of RLY Network Association. He said marketers often wrongly see NFT projects as a quick-flip solution, but brands offering digital tokens and other assets need to remember that some people might hold onto them for a long time.
“They’re thinking in terms of short flights and campaigns,” Owyang said of marketers. “They’re not thinking multi-year; they don’t know how to support it.”
Owyang and Cassatt said they see some brands realizing that devoting so much time to building audiences on Facebook and Twitter wasn’t well spent because they’re not able to transport those audiences to other platforms. They also think Web3 companies and those working with Web3 technologies shouldn’t keep marketing in the same ways as they do with Web2 platforms like Facebook and other social networks.
“We should not be at the whim of billionaires owning our data in social networks,” Owyang said. “That should be in the hands of people.”