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.
Digitizes touch points
The stimulating effect of blockchain in the advertising world is that it makes everything unique. It makes this possible with its capability to digitalize any asset by coding every customer transaction data and laws into it. That way there is verifiable proof of each transaction identity, and that transaction can be a product. Therefore, customer attention at every touch point would become a prized commodity, without any intermediaries.
Makes digital micropayments
In the future, people will be paid a small fraction of a cent for their attention through advertising. Such micropayments can only work with a digitally native currency. Tracking these types of payments is precisely one of the strengths of blockchains.
Creates meaningful value
Identifying and differentiating every product means the ability to add significant benefit. For example, Babyghost, the fashion label, gives their customers the capability to use unique identifiers for their products that provided them with extra information on it. These blockchain identifiers tell a sales story in an innovative way about how they make the item and where it came from, appealing the customers on an emotional level. Another company is Goodwill that takes one person’s unwanted clothes and sells them to another using blockchain platform.
Builds great trust
Blockchain technology makes it extremely difficult to manipulate the data and rip the system off. And what blockchain can do regarding privacy is to make groups of data anonymous, thereby turning all brand data into something like a census. Essentially, this gives detailed information about the network, but not which person is in love with which brand. This added layer of privacy would allay customers’ fears of being manipulated or taken advantage of, but would not affect the brand and their data. This enticement could be used to enhance the trust in the advertising industry. Such direct fraud-free connections with the customer will become much more trustworthy and simpler, nurturing a long-term relationship. As blockchain technology matures, it is possible to build greater trust that the advertising investments are where they are intended to go.
Decentralizes advertising concepts
One of the traditional advertising concepts is the idea that the ad reaches a consumer. After that happens, and if the message is good enough, the customer acts. And marketers take it for granted that customer attention and act comes without any cost. But this paradigm is already changing in the blockchain world through decentralization, and it is becoming a trend. For example, Shape Shift as come up with a solution on how to decentralize loyalty points by allowing for the free exchange of coupons, eliminating any lasting ties to brands. Those coupons and loyalty points probably would have sat there unused, but the new market creates value for both seller and buyer. By decentralizing networks, blockchain offers a better way of verifying the advertising system. It is precisely what the ad-blocking software called Brave does, which runs in millions of devices worldwide.
Blockchain technology browser
Industry faces disruption
It is not proper to say that blockchain will change every industry, but it will affect sales due to the innovation within the advertising industry. The initial traction from the first generation solutions is being experimented by early adopters in the advertising supply chain as they begin to implement the earliest concepts that reduce costs, eliminate fraud, improve reporting accuracy, and minimize recording time. These initial advanced wave of blockchain-based technologies and protocols seek to change how digital advertising is purchased, measured, delivered, and valued. Future-proofing businesses against this can protect companies against disruption. Also, traditional advertising agencies will have to reduce their prices in response to this competitive threat drastically.
Advertising industry pioneers
One of the early contenders is Ad Chain, which offers a protocol for buying and selling advertising space. Shareholders in the network use its native token and get incentivized for keeping it clean from low-value or fraudulent publishers. In return, they benefit by getting more ad value and campaign auditing through cryptographically secure tracking. Ad Shares is a decentralized market for programmatic advertising giving publishers and advertisers the ability to trade without the need for centralized exchanges.
Future of advertising
The blockchain is different and radical, and possibly foreshadows the arena where marketers of the future would live. It is going to change advertising by bringing simple solutions where expensive ones existed. Already, the number of investors and companies based on blockchain are growing exponentially. If advertisers used blockchain, then they can eliminate costly consultants. The bad news is that in the future customer attention and retention will come with a price. Because, in marketing, value comes not only from money. It also comes from products exchanged, opinions given and attention paid to customers. But the good news is that there will be much higher trust. That comes from knowing that the advertising and outreach efforts are going where companies intend it to go.
- This is the first post in a series of 13 blog posts about blockchain technology and its impact on sales and marketing. The SMEI community would like you to share your thoughts on this revolutionary technology. More pertinently whether you think blockchain is definitely the future where sales and marketing professionals should focus their efforts on or whether it is just a passing fad.
- Coming up next is how Bitcoin can address the cash flow problems that many marketing agencies face. One of the challenges every business face is cash flow, and marketing agencies are not immune to it. Bitcoin is the solution. It has some financial benefits and less tangible advantages. The company who accepts the payment can either use a third-party to convert the Bitcoins into cash or withdraw it in the form of Bitcoins. Getting started is super easy. There are plenty of companies help businesses that want to get Bitcoin set up as a payment option.
Stay tuned on www.smei.org
One thing that the most proficient salespeople instinctively and intuitively do on a consistent basis is to focus on the right deals. They seem to have their own built‐in or hard‐wired qualification system for accurately and effectively assessing their sales opportunities. They clearly don’t chase every deal that’s placed in front of them. It’s like they have a sixth sense about working on the right deals…the deals they have the best chances of winning. They can quickly examine 10 deals and determine which ones they should focus on immediately and which ones can be placed on the back burner.
Every salesperson believes that her deal is one she can win, provided she has access to the right resources. But how can a salesperson consistently evaluate all of the deals they are currently pursuing? Using a common language and a structured, repeatable process for analyzing each sales opportunity makes it easier for the salesperson, as well as the entire sales organization to answer that question!
There are three compelling questions that should be asked in each sales campaign to qualify the opportunity. These questions, and the corresponding underlying criteria, should be examined at multiple times during a sales campaign. They should certainly be asked near the beginning of a campaign to determine if a real sales opportunity exists and should be pursued by the salesperson. They should be asked again if there’s a significant change to the customer’s business profile or to the competitive landscape during a sales campaign. It might also be appropriate to pose the questions yet again if there is a major change to the profile of the sales organization (i.e., the introduction of new solutions).
The three compelling questions are:
- Should We Pursue this Opportunity? Is there a project or application associated with this opportunity, a corresponding budget and has the budget been approved? Do we understand the customer’s business drivers, business initiatives and compelling reasons for the customer to implement a decision or is the customer simply gathering information? Developing an in‐depth understanding of the customer’s business, their key customers and competitors are important components of this compelling question. Since time and resources are limited, it’s important to determine that the opportunity being pursued is a genuine opportunity ‐ worthwhile of our investment in both time and resources.
- Can We Effectively Compete for this Opportunity? Solution fit is but one component of whether you can be competitive in a sales campaign. Are there enough internal or external resources available to compete successfully for the business? Are there existing business relationships established with this customer? Do we understand the formal and informal decision‐making processes and can we impact those processes? Does our solution offer specific business value that enables us to differentiate ourselves from our competitor(s)?
Knowing how our company, as well as our solution, relates to the specific sales opportunity can be key ingredients to winning the deal. Being able to realistically contrast that information with that of our competitor(s) is another important factor of assessing this compelling question.
- Can We Reasonably Expect to Win this Opportunity? This compelling question is the most important one and also the one most overlooked in sales campaigns. Many opportunities are lost even if the salesperson has the best solution, the best delivery and even the best terms and conditions. This question deals with how well the salesperson understands the customer’s organizational structure that reveals the inside support necessary to win the deal.
Do the most powerful people in the customer’s organization want us to win? Do we have credibility with the customer’s key players? Most importantly, is there political alignment with the key players in the customer organization who either affect or are affected by the buying decision? Finally, what facts support these assessments of our customer relationships?
Contrasting these factors with that of our competitor(s) can have a significant impact on our decision to continue to pursue a sales opportunity.
Examining each of these three compelling questions at multiple times during a sales campaign can be compared to an airline pilot examining their pre‐flight checklist. No matter how many times a pilot has flown a certain plane, they meticulously examines that checklist prior to each and every flight, probing each question, using a structured and methodical approach. They clearly don’t want to be surprised in the midst of a flight and does not want to leave anything to chance.
Although it may only take a few minutes for a salesperson to examine those three compelling questions and some of their underlying criteria, you will find that it is time well spent and by doing so you’ll increase your chances of winning those key deals!
Dr. Steve Bistritz is the founder of SellXL and has more than 40 years of high-tech sales, sales management and training management experience. He just released the 2nd edition of his best-selling sales book, Selling to the C-Suite. Visit his website at www.sellxl.com.
Photo by Didier Weemaels on Unsplash
For the next few months, expect a series of 13 blog posts about blockchain technology and its impact in sales and marketing. Below is a synopsis of what to expect in each blog post in the order given.
- Blockchain transforms not only sectors such as security, health, and finance but also many basic tenets of marketing. 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. Already companies based on blockchain are growing exponentially.
- One of the challenges every business face is cash flow, and marketing agencies are not immune to it. Bitcoin is the solution. It has some financial benefits and less tangible advantages. The company who accepts the payment can either use a third-party to convert the Bitcoins into cash or withdraw it in the form of Bitcoins. Getting started is super easy. There are plenty of companies help businesses that want to get Bitcoin set up as a payment option.
- Blockchain is the new change on the horizon. Although it is already in the financial world, the uses of blockchain are far more wide reaching. It is shaking up many sectors along with all industries including supply chain, corporate responsibility, fashion designing, and digital advertising. To accept Bitcoins, all the company 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.
- We are experiencing a significant shift in the real estate industry, as more and more people are engaging in property transactions using Bitcoin. Many industry experts are excited about the potential for digital money and the blockchain technology when it comes to real estate. But although digital currency transaction is the future, industry insiders say that we are not quite there as yet. Digital money analysts are less convinced that the property market would more widely adopt the cryptocurrency.
- In the real estate blockchain enables to store authentic online documents, draw digital smart contracts, and keeps the identities of the parties anonymous. While all sounds great, for everything to work seamlessly, it still needs a lot of things. As traders and investors have bid up Bitcoin’s price higher and higher, the Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended trading of some firms. Investors need to be cautious and not chase small companies that are trying to ride the wave.
- The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.
- Cryptocurrency is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some cryptocurrencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. It can be hard to determine if a bubble exists. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is mass adoption.
- A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Two of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin and Ethereum. Many of the currencies younger then Bitcoin can be used for much more versatile purposes. Hence Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors. Digital currencies will drive new company model innovation at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment.
- Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later. This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority. But cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point
- Some businesses and companies prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin payment that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new blockchain technology shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve.
- Charlie Shrem was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. He co-founded a startup company in 2011 called BitInstant that was one of the earliest cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. In 2015, Shrem went to prison for two years for aiding an unlicensed money transmitter acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is the first of its kind in the crypto world.
- Charlie Shrem the first Bitcoin felon went to federal prison in 2015 for 2 years. Upon his release he went about strengthening the ecosystem of blockchain. A real breakthrough came when he created a prepaid Dash debit card. He then joined Intellisys Capital and decided to raise funds in the form of initial coin offering but was mired with doubts, as he feared the intense scrutiny from the authorities and eventually backed off.
- Today, many of the blockchain assets are tokens that are distributed as initial coin offerings. It constitutes the Internet’s second business model. Associated jobs have soared as its value has risen. Candidates who understand initial coin offerings, know how to write smart contracts, and have a good understanding of Ethereum would have an extra competitive edge. Interested applicants should read up the online literature on how blockchain works and be aware of the basics before applying in the field.
Bitcoin is the earliest cryptocurrency
The topics of the series are broadly categorized as follows:
- Blockchain is defined as a distributed peer-to-peer database that is based on an open and public ledger coded by cryptography. It is intermediated, decentralized and unalterable. Blockchain is a technology to be reckoned with as it can be applied in various industries. It will disrupt many businesses including the advertising world.
- Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies or, in technological parlance, alternative coins, also known as altcoins. Although Bitcoin is the most commonly used cryptocurrency, there are many limitations to it. Its flaws and weakness have given rise to many other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Dash.
- The marketing industry will see phenomenal changes in the way products and services are advertised. In future, customers in the target market will have to be paid a fraction of a cent for their attention. Such micropayments is only possible with blockchain that is one of its greatest advantages. The blockchain technology called Brave will enable this.
- Big-ticket items such as mansions and real estate properties are purchased using Bitcoin. There are cases whereby houses with a Bitcoin price tag received overwhelming response and media publicity. However, the technology faces some obstacles in the real estate sector that prevents mass adoption.
- Lastly, using a real life case study we will warn you on how not to conduct business using this emerging trend. It is a case study based on the first felony committed in the crypto industry. It is also the story of a powerful transformation in the life of the felon who has now dedicated his life to help evolve the blockchain ecosystem.
After the case study, we will provide some information for those who would like to pursue a career in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. We will then wrap it up with the publication of the white paper written by an anonymous hacker who goes by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.
Stay tuned on www.blog.smei.org