Crossing the Chasm: A Marketer’s Perspective on Blockchain

This post was originally published as part of the e-book Blockchains in the Mainstream.You can find the full e-book for free here, or read my contribution below.

I was asked to write a piece about how I, as a marketing professional, believe we can help blockchain technology to “cross the chasm” and become more widely adopted in society.

It’s All About Showing Value

I always ask people who say they don’t “get” what a blockchain is, whether or not they really “get” the internet. I first heard this question being asked to an audience at a WIRED MONEY talk in Berlin by the CEO and Founder of Funderbeam, Kaidi Ruusalepp.

Typically, the majority of people who understand the internet, also understand the concept of a blockchain, and vice versa — which means, if you don’t understand one, you probably don’t understand the other.

The task at hand for us, as marketers, is not to make people understand how a blockchain works, but instead, it is to show the customer the value of the product and how it can be used in their day-to-day life.

In all developed countries, the vast majority of the population have been internet users for over a decade, but many have no idea how the internet actually works. They all, however, understand the benefit very clearly — because of the internet people are able to keep in constant communication with loved ones, are able to spread ideas and information, and also simply are able to log onto the web and watch a turtle hump a shoe.

The internet has crossed a chasm, not because we, as people, understand how it works, but because we all love what it does. This is also what we need to do with the products we’re building on top of the blockchain.

I believe that, as marketers, we need to internalize and understand this concept ourselves. New technology is fascinating and it is very easy to fall in love with how it works instead of focusing on what really matters to our audience: What it does for them.

In order for the market and the people to adopt and adapt to our concept, blockchain technology, needs to become less visible. We need to use the blockchain to make products that are faster, better, more secure, and cheaper. The majority of people will not care whether their product uses blockchain or not, as long as it works and does something they need or want.

When the technology becomes less visible and more usable, marketers will be able to focus their attention on transmitting these values to people. This is how the blockchain will be able to continue to move further across the chasm.

In our organization, we’ve used blockchain to make a stock exchange for startup investments. Although the investors who use Funderbeam to trade investments don’t care about the underlying technology, they care about access to liquidity in their portfolio. This is how we are able to market ourselves. Blockchain is simply the technology that allows us to make these trades transparent, fast, and most importantly secure.