Google recently announced that it will be banning all crypto listings starting in July and Twitter is rumored to be following suit.
The initial reaction from many crypto-marketers might be one of many expletives, but, something that my friends who are comedians keep telling me rings true here; ‘Have the first thought, then throw it out. It’s the obvious idea. It’s the one everyone has’.
So, here’s my take on what blockchain marketers should do.
Write Google a thank you note. Even easier, you can send a tweet to Twitter.
Yes, they are making things more difficult for those of us in the crypto industry. But it’s ok. It’s a sign that we’re on the right path.
Google and Twitter are the incumbents, and they’re smart enough to realize that the trend toward decentralized technologies is an existential threat to their business models. They’re doing the understandable and inevitable move of trying to shut down the awareness of new alternatives.
Ten-twenty years ago, publishers were doing what they could to keep people on their sites rather than going to Google and Facebook.
But back to the thank you.
You can look at this ban as an obstacle, but I see it as an opportunity to create and innovate. Like any limitation, it’s forcing us to come up with ideas. July is a deadline and deadlines work because they get the mind firing. It’s not about when you want to come up with something new. You have to come up with something new.
And it’s my belief that this ban will produce a high level of marketing from startups.
It’s like with anything in business. It’s not just the strong that survive but also the agile. Think about the Philadelphia Eagles. Their starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, was playing at an MVP-level when he tore up his knee in Week 14 and was done for the year.
No playoffs. No Super Bowl.
Head coach Doug Pederson didn’t complain or use it as an easy out. He and his staff came up with a new strategy and backup Nick Foles led them to an epic upset of the New England Patriots.
You know the answer, but I’m going to ask. How good must that have felt? How good does that always feel when you face an added challenge and win?
Of course, the Eagles had confidence and optimism, but that’s only part of the equation.
They needed a plan.
You need a plan before July hits and here are 3 things you could do to prepare:
1. Think about long-term positioning…now
The ban appears to apply specifically to cryptocurrency marketing and not technology or company marketing. However, there could be an increase in price for anything related to blockchain as Google will likely de-prioritize. It may be a worthwhile exercise to think about market positioning when the words “crypto” and “blockchain” don’t score well.
2. Find a good media partner
You can work with a solid agency (yes, there are a few) that handles large corporate accounts. If you can embed your campaigns within larger, macro agency accounts that handle Fortune 2000 clients, you may get whitelisted.
3. Get it while you still can
This one is just to prove to you that I am not naïve. So, if your personal conscience permits (and for many in crypto, this is a non-starter), you may want to maximize the amount of 1st party data you collect via media buy. Crypto-marketers may want to destroy the world where people’s data is bought and sold, but there are those who advocate that the ends justify the means. If that’s your approach, this one is for you. Again, not an endorsement, just an acknowledgment.
What does this all mean?
Google and Twitter’s reactions are just the beginning of a big confrontation. On the one side, there are the super aggregators that have dominated the last decade-plus. On the other, the decentralized crypto-innovators. Yeah, it has a Patriot-Eagles feel.
It probably will involve pain in the short term, but what meaningful success doesn’t?
Blockchains ultimately holds the potential for a new way of marketing. And crypto-startups already hold a big advantage for this new terrain. Their token holders are naturally incentivized to promote, so there will be an increase in word of mouth and community-driven marketing.
The result? An end around on the big players.
Remember the thank you note.