In a recent post, Why B2B Folks Need To Learn About Web 3.0 Now, I tried to answer the question posed in the SEO-friendly headline. It boiled down to this:
- Because this blockchain/crypto/NFT/DeFi/Metaverse stuff is real – and will eventually change everything.
- Because it may well disrupt your company and market – as decentralized (and hybrid) models displace centralized ones; as trust becomes something you can code for; and as ownership of digital things becomes second-nature.
- Because it’s creating a gazillion opportunities – for the imaginative, the bold and, let’s face it, the lucky, greedy, dishonest and shameful.
- Because it’s fun AF – if you like learning new things and watching innovation explode in every direction (reader, I sure do).
Okay, fine, but what about actual use cases for real B2B marketers on this physical planet in this non-meta universe?
Glad you asked. Here are some early stabs and guesses.
CYA Caveat: Web 3.0 is still very new. Smart contracts have only just started out (check out Cardano for some ambitious examples). NFTs are still mostly on the batshit-crazy end of the WFT spectrum. And the ‘primitives’ of Web 3.0 are only just clicking into place—like hypertext links and HTTP had to do before Web 1 took off.There is still way more bullshit and hype surrounding all this than there are examples of real value creation for real people (not just VCs and speculators).
Moral of the story: everyone looks stupid in retrospect and this post will too.
But will that stop me speculating? It will not. Here goes:
Other Caveat: I’m confining myself to things your B2B brand could do on your own. It’s clear that Web 3.0 will also drive a lot of changes in media, martech and adtech—for instance, platforms that improve targeting or eliminate ad fraud. But those are mostly things we’ll have to wait for the vendors to build. This post is about things you can do yourself.
Now I really am gonna start:
Make new virtual products
1. Create dapps instead of apps
Dapps are decentralized apps that live as smart contracts on a blockchain. Why make your next app a dapp instead? One reason might be trust: users can see the software and know it’s immutable. Another might be to make it really easy to buy, use and maybe even re-sell. Or to give it to your community and let them develop it together as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO to the cool crypto kids). Might not be for your main product, but for a cool little freebie?
2. Sell virtual, branded fan merch
If Nike can sell virtual sneakers, maybe Salesforce can sell virtual, furry mascots. Or Hubspot can sell virtual Dharmeshes to… like… virtually hug. Or Microsoft can sell a limited edition Clippy that the friendless can use as profile pics. (Proceeds going to charity, of course).
Make Web 3.0 virtual services
3. Back up your SLA with a smart contract
Service Level Agreements are infamously empty promises. With blockchain, they don’t have to be. So when your app goes down, users get compensated instantly and automatically, according to the SLA. Giving you the most trusted and transparent SLA in the market (till the other bastards copy you).
4. Cut out the middle-people
If your market relies on any kind of exchange or hub, maybe you could build a decentralized alternative, using blockchain technology. The pieces are mainly in place for this, so get your dev team on the scent (it helps to rub meat on their mouses).
Explore Web 3.0 ecosystem plays
5. Let devs sell apps as NFTs in your marketplace.
You want people to develop new apps for your platform. Today, you just let them list in your app store or marketplace. But what if you let them list access to their thing as an NFT so that other users could buy the app directly from the maker? That’s different from normal app sales in a few ways (and many more I can’t foresee):
- The app would be re-sellable. And if it was resold, the original developer could make a royalty on it.
- Free apps could still earn tips from users who want to thank and reward them for making it.
- Everyone could see who bought the app so they could reach out and ask them questions.
NFTs could help incentivize developing on your platform—especially if you don’t yet have the reach of the big players. (And, of course, the apps themselves could be dapps).
Reward customer loyalty and advocacy
6. Use creator coins to reward customers and advocates
They can be way more flexible than air miles and more valuable and tradable than loyalty points. Check out Rally.io for creator coins, including $TILT by Joe Pullizi and team, one of the most successful coins on Rally. (Mark Schaeffer’s $RISE coins are dirt cheap now but will go up. And Ann Handley’s $WORD coin has already leapt up). It’s early days but it looks like an interesting way to let members share in the success of the community.
I’m picturing Figma users spending $FIG coins to get early access to product releases or send tips to developers who make cool Figma tools.
7. Use NFTs as VIP access tokens
Maybe instead of a ticket to your events, you issue NFTs that give people VIP access to the events, plus access to online content, in-person consultations, early product releases… Gary Vee is doing this with his Vee Friends (which sold out in hours).
8. Gamify your advocacy program
The more things people do to engage with or shout about your brand, the more goodies, coins, or tokens they get. Or maybe their avatar accumulates badges or, like sword-hats or some shit. With a leaderboard for status (if you got it, flex it).
This just in, on Coin Telegraph (what the rabbits read when they’re down the hole): “Reddit may soon convert users’ karma points into Ethereum-based tokens and onboard 500 million new crypto users in the process.”
It doesn’t take too many of these early plays to tip the world on to its 3.0 axis.
[This also just in: Kieran Flanagan, of Hubspot fame, posted some Web 3 ideas on LinkedIn recently, including how a company called Attrace uses tokens to incentivize people to refer your product to others and logs it on the blockchain, so every click is tracked.]
Try some Web 3.0 content plays
9. Publish limited edition content
Instead of an ebook that anyone can own, create a limited edition NFT version of that content (or entirely new content), with extra goodies (video, interviews, a podcast episode, whatever). People can collect them (using money or your brand coins), trade them or sell them. People who collect a whole series might get extra goodies: invitations, product features, new content…
(Don’t look at me like that. B2B brands do have uber-fans. Ever been to Dreamforce or Inbound?)
10. Replace web forms with NFT ownership
NFT owners get instant access to content. The more valuable the NFT, the more content they get—and (maybe the coolest part) vice versa.
11. Pay people to consume your content
Their time is valuable. So pay for it. Reward them for downloading your content, and even for finishing it. The rewards can be in Bitcoin, any alt coin or stablecoin, your own brand coin, NFT, or a token as yet unimagined.
12. Work with digital artists to make something special
Why can’t B2B do beautiful things? Commission an artist to make some limited edition digital art on a theme that’s somehow connected to your brand. Like, maybe a SaaS payments platform like Paddle might commission an artist to do an NFT series on the theme of ‘money around the world’. Then give some to VIP customers or sell some for a good cause; or raffle them at an event… It’s all about celebrating your beliefs in public (and having some fun with it).
Add Web 3.0 mojo to your online events
13. Hold your event in a metaverse
The current state of online events is stuck somewhere between a webinar and a Zoom bar mitzvah. Not good. Your next event could be in a virtual world where ‘visitars’ (ooh, cool) wander around, meet other visitars and get hit on by zombie salesbots and stuff. Then, just like in a game, they earn funky weapons and clothes and pets to bring around with them, opening special doors and earning virtual rewards. Rewards persist in future events, so people are incentivized to keep coming back.
For this one, you could wait for the current crop of virtual event spaces to get good (and to let go of the trade show metaphor) or you could just choose a world like Decentraland and invite folks.
14. Sell NFTs for a good cause
Taco Bell sold a limited number of “NFTacos” on Rarible to raise money for Live Más Scholarships. (Thanks to Neil Patel for this). Got a lot of attention. Raised money for a good cause. Nice. This is an example of what I call the ‘novelty dividend’—getting attention by doing new things. Once those things go mainstream, the novetly dividend expires. A lot of Web 3.0 plays are still well in the novelty zone, so there are lots of opportunities to harvest those dividends.
15. Just pre-announce something with the number 3.0 after it
Okay, this is cynical but it’s what a lot of brands will be doing as they run after the bandwagon unhitched by Mark Zuckerberg. It’s as easy as issuing a press release saying something like, “[Your brand here] announces new generation of NFT-powered Web 3.0 ecosystem thingy”. Or, if you want to be more subtle about it (like Nike) post job ads for virtual product designers and file trademarks for NFT-like things. (To be fair, they are getting out in front of this, as you’d expect).
Get your Imagineering Hats on, friends
Okay, so none these ideas may be right for your company. The point is not to run with any of them today (even though brands as different as Taco Bell, Nike, Reddit and Sothebys are).
The point is to start learning about Web 3.0 and the new things it makes possible, then start thinking about how you can do things better and do better things by harnessing these new powers.
Exciting stuff, right?
Do use the wide open Comments section to share any interesting Web 3.0 things you’ve seen or thought about (B2B or not).
I’d love to hear about it.
The other view
Here are two great pieces that argue that a better strategy for you would be either to Avoid This Stuff Like the Plague (Line Goes Up by Dan Olson) or at least Wait and See (Why It’s Way To Early To Get Excited About Web 3.0 by Tim O’Reilly.