The first question in marketing of crypto projects is „Who is it for?“. Not all cryptos are in the same category and they have different use-cases as well as different target groups.
There are projects that focus on the currency aspect, others on the blockchain aspect (which have hundreds of different applications) and all of them differentiate in their focus on privacy, security, speed or whatever solution they offer in the B2B or B2C worlds.
These are only the different perspectives on the technical side, but as we know in marketing, it’s not so much the technical traits that convince users and businesses to chose one crypto over the other - it’s emotions, personal bias and personality.
What the crypto you choose says about you
People want to belong. They search for affiliation - consciously or subconsciously. Even when they say that their reason for choosing „their“ coin is out of technical superiority, in fact they will always chose a project that goes in line with their personality. This is much more psychology than technical understanding.
In marketing of our crypto project we have to be clear to whom we are talking to and what their affiliation is.
Vertical vs. horizontal people
Let’s start with a common duality to give an example. There are people who live in a world of dominance. For them there is a clear „better“, „higher“, „more“ and winning for them means, to place their bet on the dominant crypto. These people function in a vertical world of superiority through current status. Most of them won’t care about facts at all and appear as ignorant (to horizontal people) because of their rigidness of believe systems. Discussions about facts are annoying to them, because they communicate in absolutisms and status.
This is very similar to a cult, where you never question your „god“ and your fellow cult members will repeat the same basic generic sentences.
A classic example of a vertical being in politics is Donald Trump.
In the crypto world, we see this in Bitcoin maximalists or Ripple „army“ people for example. Here is what they say:
„Bitcoin is the only decentralized coin in the world“
„Everything but BTC/XRP etc is a shitcoin!“
„Ripple is the standard!“
„It’s in the code!“
„Bitcoin is the only coin with a max supply!“
On the other hand there are people who live in a horizontal world. They want to discuss, talk about facts and want to find consensus. These people don’t want to dominate but to belong to a group of like-minded people.
Horizontal people see others on the same level as they are. This is a challenge though, because not everyone has the same intelligence or ability to process information. When a horizontal perspective meets a vertical one, it often leaves the horizontal person in pure astonishment on how ignorant people can be. The issue here is, that horizontal people believe that others also are horizontal and in fact they are not. This causes a lot of troubles.
Vertical people will win arguments by repeating the same generic sentences with precision, because they don’t care about facts.
Horizontal crypto fans will form tribes around their favorite coin and project. In fact this is a good thing and shows that there is an active community of supporters. Tribes are loosely connected groups of people who unite under a common goal. Contrary to cults they stay open to new developments and question their own project continuously. For a vertical person this may look like the famous „weak hands“, but it’s just a sign of reflecting new inputs in an ever changing environment.
What we can learn from this in crypto marketing
The above example of the two opposing personality traits is not to say which one is better or worse. Instead crypto projects have to adjust to whom they are marketing!
It makes no sense to market your project with technical facts (decentralization, speed, feels etc) to people who are not interested in these facts because all they care for is status quo.
Here are some real life examples of wrong marketing and how to do it better:
- Marketing a fast, green and fee-less currency (like e.g. Nano) to Bitcoin maximalists is futile. They simply don’t care about speed, ecology or fees. Instead Nano should look for people who do care about these topics.
- Marketing a real decentralized blockchain like DigiByte to people who don’t know what blockchain or decentralization even means, is also a waste of energy and resources. There are people in Bitcoin or Ripple who really believe that their coin is decentralized, even if facts show clearly that this is not the case. Don’t market or try to discuss this with these people - they don’t care. Instead look to educate people on blockchain and the values of decentralization and find your customers there.
- Here is an even more specific case: Few people on this planet know that there is something like a dApp. This is an app that runs on a decentralized blockchain. Currently these people know dApps through Ethereum, EOS or Tron. Out of these few people, the ones who have tried these dApps (on e.g. Tron), will likely believe that it’s all about gambling at casinos. Out of these dApps >90% are scams or ponzis.
Therefore marketing your dApp blockchain that focuses on legit projects to these people will likely be futile. You are marketing to burnt people.
Instead focus on the target group that is still new to the dapp space through a product that already works and is enhanced through blockchain technology. Users don’t even need to know that there is blockchain tech behind it!
One example here is Quidd, that is super successful in the digital collectibles space and uses the Harmony blockchain to enhance this experience for their users.
Crypto Marketing: Summary
If you are a blockchain project, you need to first know to whom you want to market. Also if you are a supporter of any project, be aware that it makes a difference if you are in a crypto tribe or a crypto cult. Tribes are open to new ideas and technology and have a natural fluctuation in members because individual opinions are welcome in building DAOs.
You will immediately realize that you are in a crypto cult, when you say something critical about your coin and suddenly other member appear telling you not to leave because you got „weak hands“. „Weak hands“ is a phrase only used by cult members and a sure sign you should leave as soon as possible!
When you talk to others about your favorite cryptocurrency or blockchain project, always be aware where the other person is.
Most important: Don’t assume it’s for them! Maybe it’s just a fact that a truly decentralized blockchain is not for someone who believes Bitcoin is decentralized (and who is ignoring the fact that >60% of mining power is in the hand of 3 Chinese mining farms).
Save your time and energy for more worthwhile endeavors!
If you believe in decentralization, fairness, trust and transparency and that blockchain is a lot more than just an alternative „currency“ that is used to trade on exchanges, then look for affiliated people who also have these core values! Find your home with a blockchain project that not only talks about these values but lives them!
Find your home and stay critical - always keeping these values on your flag.
When you see your project losing its path, speak up! If you are not heard, leave.
After many years in crypto I have found only very few projects that stand for these principles. One of them is Harmony.
Harmony stands for decentralization, fairness, trust and transparency.
It’s about bringing consensus to 10B people.
Harmony is much more than a blockchain. It’s a way of living.
The concept of „vertical vs horizontal communication“ is taken from the German book „How to speak to ignorants“ and many of the marketing concepts in this article are inspired by Seth Godin’s book „This is marketing!“