Blockchain may be a relatively new technology, but it’s already changing the world around us. A recent survey by Deloitte found that 83% of respondents see compelling use cases for blockchain in 2019, up from 74% in 2018.

Marketers too are waiting eagerly to see how blockchain will impact or optimize their work, so we’ve turned to blockchain and marketing experts to learn how the technology is currently being used in the marketing field, and how marketers can better leverage blockchain in the future. 

What Is Blockchain Marketing?

Some of the key tenets of blockchain — namely transparency, security, and accessibility — are potentially set to disrupt nearly every industry, including marketing and advertising. But what exactly is blockchain marketing? “Blockchain marketing envisions an entirely new advertising and marketing environment, in which consumers are able to own and sell their data directly to marketers and advertisers,” explained Brian Platz, co-founder and co-CEO of Winston Salem, N.C-based Fluree. This means circumventing platforms like Facebook and Instagram entirely, so there’s greater trust and usability of consumer data.

Blockchain is forming a direct data exchange between consumers and brands like never before. “Built from the ground up to emphasize the relationship between brands and consumers,” Platz added, “blockchain marketing surpasses the middle-man.” This is crucial because platforms like Facebook typically collect data by tracking user activity, but the resulting information is low quality. There’s also negative consumer trust with this type of surveillance.

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3 Ways Blockchain Will Revolutionize Marketing in 2020 and Beyond

Marketers expect blockchain to bring dramatic changes to digital advertising in particular. “Blockchain enables a new kind of digital advertising platform through which consumers can ‘own’ their own data,” Platz said, “rather than surrender it to a publisher like Facebook or Instagram.” This means consumers can be directly compensated for their advertising data, and marketers can more accurately leverage this data to push targeted advertising at an individual level.

“Marketing is driven by data these days,” agreed Damien Martin, marketing executive at London-based Shufti Pro, “and blockchain makes data accurate, reliable, and transparent.” More specifically, these are some of the ways Martin sees blockchain impacting marketing. 

1. More Democratic Marketing

Martin believes blockchain gives some power back to consumers that was previously in the hands of social media platforms and other companies that collect consumer data. “People can opt in to view ads in exchange for digital currency or token,” he explained. That means consumers will be directly compensated for viewing ads, and presumably for giving up their data as well.

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2. More Reliable Marketing

Blockchain can create transparency surrounding where products were sourced or manufactured. “For instance,” Martin explained, “if the product was really organic or if the farmer in the supply chain was paid fairly.” It becomes much more straightforward to audit supply chains, and consumers can be more confident that product labels are accurate.

3. Cheaper Ads

Without the middle man, the cost of digital advertising would be reduced for marketing teams. “Ad metrics will become more accurate without depending on a third party,” Martin added. Going through one or more third parties can make ad tracking difficult, but with blockchain information would be readily accessible by marketers. That means it will also be easier for marketing teams to measure the ROI of their ads.

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How To Benefit From Blockchain Marketing Today

Marketers have “always been early adopters of new technology, whether it is applied in understanding clients, serving more contextually relevant content or relationship management,” stated Kirti Naik, chief marketing officer at New York City-based Prometheum. While the blockchain technology itself is still in its early stages, there are several ways marketers can benefit from leveraging blockchain marketing in the near future.

The most significant advantage of blockchain is cutting out the middle man. This means that without third-parties, ads will be cheaper and more accurate. That way, marketers can target the right audience and consumers without higher spending. Blockchain can also reduce the chances of fake ad clicks or bot views. Blockchain “can confirm that a real person saw the ad,” Martin said. That’s because blockchain “validates and analyzes the customer's journey through verified ad delivery,” he explained. Marketers, therefore, will benefit from a vastly improved digital advertising platform through efficiency and trust.

Naik concluded, “Blockchain is going to change marketing in terms of generating efficiencies by cutting the middle man and being transparent — bringing trust back to Madison Avenue.” However, he also warned the “technology can be misused so it is up to honest marketers to make the best use and set an example — beware of the dark web.” In the end, blockchain is poised to disrupt digital advertising as we know it, so marketers should be prepared to reevaluate their current processes to better leverage the new technology.