Web3 Marketing As Community Building

May 3, 2023

Let’s face it, crypto has a marketing problem. I remember early in my crypto writing career having discussions that we were going to stop using the word ‘crypto’ in our newsletters and focus on using ‘web3’. Everyone already knows what they think about crypto — it’s full of scammers, criminals, and other degenerates. Words have power, and we thought by changing the words we used we could change the perception. What we realized is that we had a marketing problem. 

Crypto has a marketing problem because we know that decentralized finance and blockchain technology can replace many of the broken systems that we currently use. We know this technology can be used to build a better future for everyone. We know it, but we have yet to convince anyone that it’s true.

If you see a way to make things better, you now have a marketing problem. Seth Godin

Web3 marketing isn’t about your logo, paid advertising, or vanity metrics. Web3 marketing is about creating the change we seek to make. The best way to create change is to change the culture. And the best way to change the culture is by building healthy communities. 

Web3 marketing is community building.

Building Healthy Communities

Perhaps the biggest difference between traditional marketing and web3 marketing is the importance of building a healthy community. A healthy community is subjective and likely to vary from one brand to another, but there are some shared principles: 

  • Alignment is required 

  • Culture matters

  • Engagement is more important than growth

Alignment Is Required 

Alignment is critical for any community. A shared purpose serves as a guide for community members who actively work together towards fulfilling that purpose. In the context of web3, that often means members participate directly in the project rather than as spectators. 

Alignment not only depends on values alignment but also on shared incentives. When community members share incentives, they are more likely to work together towards a common goal. This can lead to better decision making and drive individual actions that benefit the community. 

Nike recently launched an NFT collection that involved the community in the design process. They were able to align the community behind their mission and goals by giving members a sense of ownership and belonging. 

A community aligned behind a shared purpose creates a sense of belonging and fosters collaboration. As members become more invested in the community, they are more willing to contribute their time and skills to achieve its purpose. Alignment also promotes trust and accountability among community members, leading to the next principle: culture. 

Culture Matters 

DAOs and web3 communities survive because of local culture. The community is a place where people want to be. Web3 tech allows brands to create accessible and inclusive experiences in ways that traditional marketers could only dream of. NFTs and digital assets can offer a range of diverse benefits and be made available to a much wider audience. These assets can represent not only value but also utility, unlocking exclusive benefits, content, and experiences, all of which serve to encourage community health and growth. 

Building a diverse and inclusive community is important for creating a sense of belonging among all members. This may involve actively seeking out and welcoming people from different backgrounds and experiences, and ensuring that all members feel valued and included. When a community is diverse, it brings together a variety of perspectives, experiences, and talents, which can lead to more creative and effective solutions.

Here’s the thing about a strong culture. It spreads. Culture is a lever for creating the change we seek to make. Change the culture, change the world

Engagement Is More Important Than Growth 

While traditional marketing chases followers, likes, and conversions, web3 marketing prioritizes engagement. It is better to have 100 highly engaged and mission-aligned members than to have 1,000 members who are waiting to be told what to do next. 

Engaged members who actively participate in the community, provide feedback, and contribute to the community’s goals help create a sense of belonging and shared ownership. By encouraging and providing ownership opportunities and a voice in the decision-making process, brands can empower members to contribute ideas, feedback, and even design new solutions. This sense of engagement and ownership creates deeper connections and fosters long-term loyalty. 

We Are All Marketers Now

In the web2 world, platforms like Facebook, Google, and Apple had all the power. In web3, communities and their members are imbued with that power. Web3 marketing involves using the tools and technology we have available in innovative ways to build vibrant communities. Brands with strong communities are better able to connect with audiences, enhance value, and drive revenue as a downstream benefit. 

A web3 marketer is a storyteller with a revolutionary tool belt. A web3 marketer is out to change the world by changing the culture, working to build the better future we know is possible. If you are in web3, you are a marketer. And if you are not in web3, there’s never been a better time to learn that we are all marketers now. 

Greg Patenaude is a content manager and consultant at Bankless Consulting focused on using blockchain technology for real world impact. Follow him on Twitter @0xSiddhearta.