Digital marketing has been on the rise for years. With the advent of search engine optimization, email newsletters and social media, marketers have an endless toolset of methods to reach new customers. Blockchain cryptocurrency technology could throw a wrench in the way the digital economy currently operates. At a minimum it’s going to cause a noticeable shift.
What is Cryptocurrency?
Traditional financial transactions operate on a simple read/write system. You spend money and your bank reflects that, locking the record of your finances while it checks and re-checks your tables. This is why you often see pending charges not reflected on your statements in real-time. It’s a slow system that’s heavily regulated and centralized.
Blockchain is completely decentralized. Your cryptocurrency exists in a complex ledger shared among a network of peer-to-peer systems all writing and reading your transactions in real-time. With the heavy encryption of these blockchains it’s mathematically improbable to fake perfect synchronization without being an authentic transaction. This means that cryptocurrency is essentially anonymous, leaving only you and the other party in the loop.
What Does This Mean for Digital Marketing?
Because cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are decentralized there’s no credit card or other centralized transaction taking place. For wary consumers growing tired of having their personal information being broadcast around the internet a technology like blockchain cryptocurrency is a godsend. For advertisers using personalization and remarketing tools it’s a nightmare.
A transaction that takes place through blockchain exists only between two parties. The data is anonymously shared, and only the two who share the blockchain know it took place. Third party institutions can only guess what went on prior, during and after the transaction. Or even whether it took place at all.
As more consumers rely on cryptocurrency, digital marketers could lose valuable information as to the buying behavior of their potential customers.
If the trend toward anonymous data continues the methods of tracking users and their spending habits will become skewed. From there, the only option will be to confirm transactions with consumers themselves.
For instance, newer social media platforms like Earn are allowing direct communication with users and brands, encouraging them to establish dialogues. Marketers can pay users directly for personal information, making it a much more selective process and putting the control in the hands of the consumer.
If marketers and brands have to become more precise in the ways they approach target customers, the products may become more focused as well. Consumers may become even more ready to spend when they feel the brands and products they buy are tailored to their unique needs.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency have given consumers the means to put transaction privacy in their own hands. As it builds credibility and becomes more widespread, marketers and the businesses they promote will have to adjust to new tactics. In 2018 and beyond, more trends involving cryptocurrency are guaranteed to develop. It’s definitely marketers need to stay on top of.
Bonnie Harris is an integrated marketing communications (IMC) expert with more than twenty years of marketing communications experience across traditional and digital media. She has created IMC campaigns for a wide variety of clients from Ivy League universities to healthcare specialty practices. She blogs and writes about IMC for national publications and is a regular guest on shows and podcasts discussing marketing and IMC strategy. Bonnie has been quoted in USA Today, Success Magazine, PR Week, and many other publications. Prior to founding Wax Marketing, Bonnie held the position of Executive Vice President for a publicly-held technology firm based in Boston, MA, where she was responsible for 9 profit centers generating more than $100 million in annual revenue.
Bonnie holds an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University and a B.S. in Economics from the University of Minnesota. She is an adjunct professor for the Reed College of Media IMC graduate program at West Virginia University and teaches IMC for the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).