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Blockchain transforms not only sectors such as security, health, and finance but also many basic tenets of marketing. However, not much discussion goes around as to how blockchain would upend the role of advertising. Nevertheless, advertising industry will be one among the first that blockchain technology would disrupt. It digitizes touch points, makes digital payments, creates meaningful value, builds trust, and decentralizes advertising concepts. Marketers who recognize this will have a lucrative opportunity in front of them and an edge over others. Hence for salespeople and marketers, it is worth spending some time to understand the changes happening in this arena.

Marketing agencies gain by accepting Bitcoin

One of the challenges every business face is cash flow, and marketing agencies are not immune to it. With most agencies getting paid on a monthly basis, shortening the payment cycle can improve cash flow. Different ways such as providing clients with a menu of payment options to changing terms can accomplish this. Most agencies opt for the former, choosing to offer the option of paying via credit card, direct bank transfer or cheque. Although these are all very convenient, there are risks and costs associated with each.

There are risks and costs associated with each payment type

There are risks and costs associated with each payment type

Credit card transactions

For credit card transactions, merchant fees are typically around 3%, which can be high for clients on huge retainers. Moreover, credit card companies hold payments for up to three days before they transfer it.

Direct bank transfer

For direct bank transfer from one account to another using electronic methods, usually, there is a flat fee levied on each transaction, making them affordable for the sale sizes most agencies process. But while costs are less expensive, the time to process a bank-to-bank transfer is longer.

Payment using cheque

With cheques, although there is no cost to process them, there is a significant delay in getting paid. From the time it takes to mail it to the time the bank clears the payment, it can take a couple of weeks to see the amount hit the bank account.

Payment option challenges

Both direct bank transfer and credit card transactions sometimes incur disputes or chargebacks from customers. They may claim that the charge was unauthorized, false, or that the bank misappropriated the information of the account. When this happens, marketing agencies have no choice but to absorb the financial loss. Also, organizations that accept direct bank transfer or credit card payments are obligated to safeguard the payment information of the clients, and if they mishandle this, it can be a severe risk.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin

Bitcoin offers solutions

For marketing agencies struggling to increase cash flow and reduce risks, Bitcoin is the solution. There is no risk in accepting Bitcoins but an advantage regarding improving the cash flow. Since the emergence of Bitcoin in 2009, it has grown to become the most extensively used cryptocurrency in the world. Vendors including Amazon, Overstock.com, Dish Network, Target, Dell Computers, PayPal, eBay, Expedia, the Sacramento Kings, Home Depot, Kmart and Sears now accept it. Bitcoin payment solution also has some financial benefits and less tangible advantages.

Great financial benefits

Marketing agencies that get paid via Bitcoin can either accept actual Bitcoins or merely turn them into cash using a third-party payment processor, much like credit cards do. From a risk standpoint, the former approach is much safer because there is virtually no exchange risk when using a third-party processor. There are no processing fees unless the transactions exceed a high amount. There are no chargebacks either because Bitcoins are push transactions, meaning the buyer initiates them.

Less tangible benefits

Marketing agencies should consider accepting Bitcoins because there are non-financial benefits. Agencies get paid faster because payments are processed immediately without any delay. Also, the agencies do not need to safeguard or hold sensitive customer payment information such as bank account or credit card numbers because of the push nature of the business. Therefore, the marketing agencies are not at risk of confidential information being leaked, stolen or hacked if it experiences a data breach. And converting them into cash eliminates the risk of fraudsters taking the Bitcoins through a cyber attack.

Easy payment form

Chief amongst the reasons to accept Bitcoin, as one of the accepted forms of payment, is customer satisfaction. Marketing agencies can allow their clients to pay for the services in the way that is most convenient and easiest for them thereby offering them more options.

Capture lucrative customers

While people have not widely adopted Bitcoin the way they have done with credit cards it is prevalent amongst high-tech and dot-com firms, which can be very profitable customers for the agencies. There is a growing but small cadre of advertising and marketing agencies that are accepting Bitcoins such as Quintain Marketing, 5ivecanons in Jacksonville, Florida, and DiMassimo Goldstein in New York. Because there are so few of marketing agencies that are taking Bitcoin, those that do are enjoying a significant amount of press coverage.

Bitcoin

Bitcoin

Processing Bitcoin payment

Blockchain has various uses, but it becomes technical when it comes to how it works and what it is. When someone wants to pay using Bitcoins, they must initiate it using a private key. The company or person who accepts the payment can either use a third-party to convert the Bitcoins into cash or withdraw it in the form of Bitcoins. Once Bitcoin has been initiated and processed, it cannot be refunded or taken back.

Get set go

Getting started is easy and fast as there are plenty of companies helping businesses that want to get Bitcoin set up as a payment option. These companies help businesses to navigate the unfamiliar process of establishing a Bitcoin account. They will then connect the company with a third-party processor that will convert the Bitcoins into cash, which then gets deposited into the bank account. Among the most popular payment processors include Bitpay, Coinbase, and GoCoin. To help simplify the process, take some time to check out their sites, and if possible, work with a local agency. That way, there will be someone to turn to for help for quick answers to questions in this unchartered territory. 

Mass adoption challenges

The most significant problem with the mass adoption of Bitcoin is that people do not have a clear understanding of how it works. They cannot even comprehend what it is. Furthermore, Bitcoins have been used to facilitate black market or illegal transactions because they are non-refundable, difficult to trace and are not regulated by any central authority. As a result, the news in the mainstream media channels surrounding Bitcoin has been negative. This bad publicity has led to the hesitation on the part of many companies to accept it as a payment form.

Coming up next

Blockchain is the new change on the horizon. It is already in the financial world. But the uses of blockchain are far more wide reaching. It is shaking digital advertising firms. It is also becoming prevalent in many other sectors in all industries including supply chain, corporate responsibility, and fashion designing. To accept Bitcoins, all the marketing firm needs is a Bitcoin button at the checkout and a digital wallet. It works like a cycle whereby the publishers and users receive tokens when they view the ads.