MetaBUILD Mentorship Series, Episode 5: Marketing in Web3

Maria Yarotska
Hackathon Coordinator, NEAR.

November 1, 2022

Marketing in Web3 space is a whole new discipline, and developer marketing is even harder to do. Still, no product launch would happen without marketing, and every unicorn has had a go to market strategy. To figure this out and inspire MetaBUILD hackers to think about their big launch, we made this week’s mentorship meetup all about marketing. 

For the latest Twitter Space, we’ve been joined by Ofir and Oleg from SWEAT (thanks for 5000 new listeners!), and our own developer marketing manager from Pagoda, Nico Poggi. Listen to the recording here or read this quick recap to update your marketing knowledge base!


How is Web3 Marketing Different from Web2?

Nico: In my opinion, marketing in Web3 is very different as it comes from a different angle, there’s special language, and a lot of memes involved in communication. There’s a whole book written on developer marketing specifically. In Web3 you can see a lot of traditional activations that would work for Web2 as well – ads, websites, and socials. However, the way you would communicate is extremely different. It is focused on building trust and building narratives. A healthy community and collaboration are way more important than focusing on pumping a product.

Ofir: Before joining the crypto space, I was working in social entrepreneurship, I was marketing workshops, cooperative owned businesses and emerging products that are more sustainable. There was always a lot of engagement with the people as opposed to optimizing funnels and customer acquisition costs. I’ve always been a storyteller and the community builder, so the transition to crypto for me was smooth as I kept doing the same thing. This work is relatively laborious, and you have to have a team of community managers to engage on Telegram and Discord, organize events people would get excited about.

All of this work is as important as classic marketing in crypto because it makes your product feel relatable. It allows people to have conversations about you, and when they do that, it keeps interest in your news and your more “boring” stuff. When you do feature updates or company announcements, if nobody was following your memes and if there's no chat about you, then people are also not going to be following that kind of stuff. It is very important to make people feel like this is an interesting and cool thing, as much as it is important to make them feel like it's a successful and sharp thing.


When is the Best Time to Start Marketing Activities?

Nico: From my perspective, you should start as early as possible! Of course it depends on the team and the resources you want to allocate, especially if you’re heavily focused on building. There is a lot of power in working early with the community on the project you're doing not only from the marketing perspective, but in order to start building the community. A lot of Web3 projects build their community as they grow on the market and reach different stages of the product. There's a lot of value in that because when you’re hitting big milestones later in your work, the spaller space of people who were there when you started will impact a bigger, entirely new community. That’s why my advice would be to start as early as possible.

Ofir: The most important thing about marketing is being consistent, so the question is how much effort you’re planning to put into it going forward. If you're a team of three people, there’s a lot of work to be done and a lot of decisions to be made on a limited time and budget. If somebody from the team loves engaging on Discord, posting memes and hanging out on audio sessions, they can start a community with just 30-40 people and build something slowly. But I wouldn't say that you need to launch ads and start thinking about partnerships before you’re ready to show your product to the people.

Oleg: I think marketing needs to start from day one. It is never too early to start discussing the problem you’re solving. Your first community and your supporters, your co-founders and investors are likely to come out of your conversations about the problem that you are experiencing and the ways of solving it. Get those 30-50 people talking because you'll need them in order to make sure that your MVP is actually needed. These people will also give you the first immediate feedback to help your idea evolve into something you’ll eventually launch.


What’s the Most Challenging Part of Working with a Technical Audience?

Nico: There’s a different tone of conversation in Web3 in our marketing, and the way we connect with people. It is challenging to change the traditional approach and mindset. As Ofir and Oleg said, if you start working with a close circle of people who validate your idea and provide feedback, you have to provide value by helping them succeed. This is the reason why DevRel as a team and as a role is so important in Web3 space. It's all about how you approach your audience: the closeness is also very much appreciated because in the end you gain much more from this double sided interaction where you both give something to each other and you are both striving towards a similar goal. Empower the developers, and that will be your best connection point.

Oleg: I'm pretty confident that like in any other communication, you just have to make sure that you're speaking the language. For example, I would never dare to market to the developers. The best marketing person for that we have in the company is our CTO. Whenever he has an interview, we all of a sudden have an incredible number of applicants and people wanting to join us because he makes it sound really cool and desirable to work with us. You need to deeply understand the developers to be believable, so my best advice is don’t try to market to a community that you are not a part of.


What’s the Most Memorable Marketing Campaign you Saw in Web3 Space?

Nico: ​​One of my favorites is bootstrapping integrations. The best way to connect with the developers would be to launch a toolkit that helps integrate, and that would be your marketing campaign. That was one of my favorite lessons in the last couple of years.

Oleg: Some of my favorite marketing campaigns were the early Ethereum meetups that Vitalik attended. They were really small, 30-40 people max, and they weren’t talking about the code or smart contracts all of the time. Vitalik was able to communicate fairly complicated things in a very simple manner, and then talk about the progress of the team. This is an incredibly powerful way of communicating because he was not shilling the product or the token, he was talking about the problems Ethereum was going to solve. That was sort of disarming, especially for a project that was not even on the testnet yet.


What Would Mass Adoption Look Like from the Marketing Perspective?

Oleg: SWEAT is past 100 millions, so I would say the next big milestone would be half-billion. In my opinion, 1 billion people in Web3 space is something we can definitely call mass adoption.

Nico: In terms of users, 1 billion people is a good number to start mass adoption with. To give some numbers from the developer perspective, the world has 30 million engineers overall, and only 30k are actively involved in the Web3 space. We need to continue growing this number and onboard the developers to Web3.


What is your Marketing Advice for the Hackathon Participants?

Oleg: My advice would be relevant not only for the Web3 projects: you have to start with a problem statement, not with an idea, especially not an idea that is a copy of someone else’s project. If you start with the problem, you will always find some users that will have that problem. And the earlier you start discussing it, the more users, colleagues, co-founders, investors you're going to find. Discussing an idea is pretty difficult because then people need to figure out how does this idea fit into their world, what value does it bring to them? With the problem statement, you don't have these barriers.

And if you end up copying someone else’s project, make sure that yours is 10x better, otherwise the users won’t switch to you.

Nico: I would double down on defining the problem first and making it a cornerstone of your narrative. Also, I would recommend striving for clarity and transparency in your narrative. A lot of things could happen along the way, and the more transparent and involved you are with your community, the more they’ll be able to understand and support you.


Stay tuned for the next episode on MetaBUILD's mentorships, focused on community building. Thanks everyone participating in these sessions, keep on building as we get to the last weeks left to prepare submissions for MetaBUILD

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