In 2023, more than 10,000 cryptocurrency projects run on blockchain. Gone are the halcyon days of fast-rising initial coin offerings (ICOs) where everyone gets Lamborghinis and drinks Cristal on their yachts . Today, the industry faces big challenges when marketing a cryptocurrency project. We’ll explore those issues in part one of this two part series. In part two, we outline a smart approach to overcoming these challenges.
Standing out in any technology crowd gets harder every day. Distinguishing between Ethereum and Polygon for the average Joe is a rabbit hole that is nearly always skipped. Over 10,000 projects means a wall of noise for anyone looking. The big projects get media coverage (how many articles did we get last year about Ethereum Merge?!?) and everyone else feels like a drop in the ocean. In some cases, pay-for-play helps projects get more attention.
Downward Market Forces
As if crypto winter didn’t suck enough momentum out of blockchain in 2022, we had far too many scandals and market errors dragging the industry down. When investors are lining up at the exits, it’s hard to say “Hey, we’re the best cryptocurrency – have a look!”
By design, blockchains and crypto projects are decentralized. Some kind of organization (or at least coordination) is needed for effective marketing. Otherwise projects end up with conflicting messages, wasted effort, and overlapping investment.
Added to decentralized communication is the challenge of unified messaging. Ideally, the community agrees in large part about why the project is good. But occasionally, messages can grow outdated as projects expand. For example, “We’re fast” might give way to “We’re ubiquitous” as a coin gains traction.
Who is the target market for the project? Who is the target recipient of the message. Turn on a baseball game at Citi Field in NY and you’ll see Tezos in the outfield. Who are they trying to reach? Investors? Developers? Bankers? Mets fans? Smart projects go after specific personas to maximize marketing ROI. One important note on targeting is that you have to serve two audiences when marketing crypto. First is to draw in new investors (growth), and second is to preserve current investors (retention). The messaging for the two shares common elements but is definitely different. An AMA with the project CTO has little interest for someone not already invested.
Within projects, it’s possible to find factions that want to take the project in different directions. Although it may happen more on the development side, it can also apply to marketing. For example, one group may want to spend on PPC advertising targeting bodegas in Argentina and another wants to attend conferences in Europe to reach new platforms. These competing agendas expand on the problems of targeting and messaging.
Shockingly, cutting edge projects may draw in some interesting people to the community. Some crypto fans are…eccentric… We’ve witnessed a few “MyWays” — those who think their ideas are the only way to proceed. On the other end of the spectrum, some folks are naive, not realizing how sophisticated this technology is or how challenging decentralized development can be. And of course we always have trolls who want to criticize everything.
Challenges of Marketing a Cryptocurrency Project
The primary goal of marketing a cryptocurrency project is growth, which entails attracting new investors and keeping existing ones informed. With a crowded market in the middle of downforces and controversy, it is exceedingly hard to compete. We’ll explore a roadmap for how to succeed. Then you’ll have better chance to ask “Wen Lambo?”…