Cryptocurrency marketing as a discipline is in its earliest stages. Projects and consumers alike are still figuring the whole “crypto” and “blockchain” thing out, exploring use cases and guessing at long-term success factors. However, while cryptocurrency products and services are new, marketing is certainly not. Due to the volatile and formative nature of cryptocurrency, it is not surprising to find some marketing myths floating around. Let’s bust these 5.5 myths right now!
Myth #1: Marketing cryptocurrencies is like marketing any other product or service.
Although many would like to believe otherwise, cryptocurrencies are financial products. As with any disruptive technology, industry regulations will lag behind innovation. However, recent legislative news in Wyoming and Colorado provides evidence of the coming formalization of cryptocurrencies as financial products.
“These classifications are nothing new, but instead, they would be applied to digital assets to offer clarification on where they stand in the law. This classification of virtual assets is critical for the advancement of cryptocurrencies which still predominantly operate in a regulatory grey area in the US.”
Darryn Pollock, Forbes
It is important for cryptocurrency marketers and business leaders to recognize the ramifications of bringing a financial product to market legally. However, the sheer volume of financial product and service regulation is daunting and difficult for non-legal professionals to fully comprehend. Just look at this exhaustive list of FINRA Guidelines for Communications with the Public.
“Creating financial content is always going to be a complex task that requires precise communication. But instead of looking at FINRA as an inconvenience, smart marketers will work with regulations to establish the best workflows possible.”
Janet Al-Saad, The Content Strategist
The suggestion for cryptocurrency marketers is to recognize that cryptocurrency is not a consumer product on the level of video games or smartphones. Smart marketers let the following fundamentals guide their strategy in times of lacking regulation:
- Do not deceive! Do not make false or unsubstantiated claims.
- Establish an official address and provide contact methods for consumers.
- Avoid promotional language such as “Start Earning Now”, “Get Rich”, or “Guaranteed”.
- Proceed with extreme caution in telemarketing as this tactic is already highly regulated and monitored by the FTC.
- Utilize testimonials and endorsements sparingly, and only in cases where the company can substantiate the claims made in the testimonial/endorsement.
- Don’t build a referral pyramid scheme; referral programs should pay commissions for the retail sales of goods or services, not for recruiting new distributors.
Myth #2: Marketing cryptocurrencies is all about raising brand awareness.
Cryptocurrency industry or not, brand building without a well-rounded marketing strategy is recipe for disaster. Without strategic planning and a clarified value proposition, branding initiatives are destined to fail once the product or service falls short of hyped up consumer expectations. Therefore, this myth exposes a lack of basic marketing understanding.
“The definition that many marketers learn as they start out in the industry is: putting the right product in the right place, at the right price, at the right time.”
Branding is just one in a collection of marketing components that work together to connect the product/service to the consumer in a profitable manner. Marketers refer to these customizable components as the “Marketing Mix” and typically organize components into four categories: Product, Place, Price, Promotion. Branding elements fall under the product and promotion categories.
“The components of the marketing mix are not independent phases; all aspects of the process must be considered throughout the entire product’s life cycle. Adjustments in the price, place and promotion must be made as the product ages and the market landscape evolves, so the marketing mix is a fluid dynamic that necessitates constant refinement.”
Marketing Career EDU
Avoiding business failure is not the only reason to bust this myth. Branding tactics are used by scammers to exploit the visual queues consumers use to determine the authenticity of businesses they cannot visit physically. It is relatively easy to create the facade of an active cryptocurrency project using a combination of logo, tagline, website, email addresses, whitepaper, social channels, and third-party hosted content.
Many of these digital branding components can also be quickly copied from existing, legitimate brands. Building followers and search engine result page positions can be done with the above mentioned digital marketing pieces, even if there is no substance behind the brand.
Final thought on this myth? Branding is just one part of the marketing mix and should not exist on its own.
Myth #3: Lack of advertising is a symptom of poor marketing.
This myth is similar to the “marketing is all about raising brand awareness” myth, in that the marketing mix is not taken into account. Advertising is one of many promotional tactics that a brand can use, but is one of the more expensive options. Many startups rely on grass roots or guerilla style promotional tactics to keep costs low while gaining visibility and traction with their target audiences.
“Grassroots marketing targets a highly niche group in an attempt to persuade that group to then spread your message organically.”
Once the project has amassed enough budget, it may begin to integrate advertising into its marketing mix. Ultimately, an apparent lack of advertising to one individual may be due to the highly targeted nature of grass roots tactics.
Myth #4: Cryptocurrency marketing is best rolled out once the project reaches specific milestones.
This myth is tricky, because it can sound so intelligent… unfortunately, it is not. Now that we established that promotional activities are just one aspect of marketing, it must be clear that there are elements of the marketing mix at play the moment the project comes into existence as a concept.
“Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully.”
A multitude of marketing questions need to be addressed before promotion can begin. Well-crafted marketing campaigns are the result of thinking through these questions, gathering intelligence along the way, and adapting the product/service offering as needed before reaching high visibility.
- What is the unique selling proposition?
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the competitive landscape?
Myth #5: The target audience already understands the basics of cryptocurrency.
This myth would make any seasoned content marketer laugh. Why? Content marketing leverages the ubiquitousness of Google, YouTube, and search engines in general, to place marketing messages in front of viewers who self-select. Content marketers know that their target audiences come to the internet with questions, so they create content to answer these questions. Unlike mass advertising which uses a “push” approach, content marketing puts the consumer in control of their content consumption.
The myth of the informed prospect is dangerous to a project’s content marketing efforts because it assumes everyone has the same knowledge. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have varying levels of knowledge. Plus, the knowledge gained is filtered through questionable sources, so misinformation is common. When considering the newness of the cryptocurrency industry, and taking content marketing basics into account, it is critical to provide educational materials that cover any relevant basics.
“Content offers amazing long-term ROI. One in 10 blog posts are “compounding,” meaning that organic search steadily increases traffic to these posts over time.”
Myth #5.5: The target audience lives in _______.
This myth could be restated in many ways, which is why it is only a half point on this list. Here are some examples I’ve heard:
- The target audience speaks English.
- The target audience values privacy.
- The target audience has money to invest.
- The target audience hates banks.
- The target audience…. fill in opinion here.
The problem with this thinking is when it exists in absence of research. Not only are the statements only partially true (if at all), the assumption that they are accurate limits the likelihood that the brand will truly form a connection with its potential user base.
Thinking of cryptocurrency specifically, there is little consumer behavior data to draw from to make solid conclusions. The usage rate is still so low, marketers cannot formulate a perfect understanding of how the cryptocurrency consumer will evolve. This is both exciting and frustrating, but it means that marketers and business people should check their confirmation bias at the door when it comes to identifying and connecting to their target audiences.
“Confirmation bias can work in a number of different ways, but it always distorts the objective truth, which compromises your ability to draw accurate conclusions and take the right actions accordingly.”
Jayson DeMers, Forbes
There you have it! 5.5 cryptocurrency marketing myths have been busted. Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @Kristen_Colwell.