- Web3 is the version of the internet where you can not only read and write, but also own. As to what this could mean for your business, decentralization is at the heart of this evolution.
- Digital wallets are the key to web3 access, as they allow users to send and receive digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs.
- In web3, your customers will decide what they want to do with their personal information. If you provide them with the right incentives, they may choose to share that valuable data with your brand.
by Mark Kaley
For all entrepreneurs, there are many benefits to keeping your eye on trends in marketing technology. Web3 and blockchain have already been with us for over a decade. The technology is finally becoming mainstream, and exciting opportunities for scaling your business are beginning to emerge.
What Business Owners Need to Know about Web3
The internet has evolved through several generations, and successful businesses have learned to keep up. Web1 was the earliest version of the internet, but unless you were a developer with skills in HTML, this version was read-only. Websites were static blocks of text broken up by pixelated graphics, and interaction was almost non-existent. If your business was around during that time, you most likely delegated a lot of ad spend for a website that would look primitive by today’s standards.
Then, in 2004, web2 emerged. For the first time, you could market your own business online, being able to both read and write without being a developer or needing much in the way of technological acumen. Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter enabled you to reach millions of consumers — that is, so long as you followed the trends to create meaningful content, engage your followers, grow your audience, and harness the power of social media.
Ever since 2010, however, you may have been hearing rumors of something new around the corner. Web3 is the version of the internet where you can not only read and write, but also own. As to what this could mean for your business, decentralization is at the heart of this evolution. Rather than large chunks of the internet being owned and controlled by centralized entities, more and more of it will be distributed among builders and users. New concepts like crypto, NFTs, smart contracts, and blockchain are making this possible, and each innovation is slowly working its way into our daily lives.
The Blockchain’s Benefits for Data Ownership
Today, consumers leave bits of personal information behind them like trails of breadcrumbs, but web3 puts users in control of their data. Digital wallets are the key to web3 access, as they allow users to send and receive digital assets like cryptocurrencies and NFTs. As web3 continues to grow, it stands to reason that these wallets will probably also store customers’ information, including their age, address, email address, and geolocation.
Unlike digital wallets, web2 platforms do not allow your customers to own their data. Large companies own it, and many make a lot of money off of it. In web3, your customers will decide what they want to do with their personal information, though some may choose to remain anonymous. However, if you provide them with the right incentives, they may choose to share that valuable data with your brand.
As a business owner, web3 will require you to motivate your customers to share their first-party data. In exchange, you will be granted new ways to build trust with them depending on how you use that information. Customers want assurance that they are getting a fair trade when they give you data, and the blockchain’s transparency enables you to offer that proof.
The Blockchain Advancing New Branding Opportunities
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are one-of-a-kind digital assets. When creators mint an NFT, each one leaves a record on the blockchain. Thanks to this public record, anyone who acquires an NFT can prove its uniqueness. Like a print of famous artwork, people can capture screenshots of NFTs, but only the original is linked to the blockchain and can have its authenticity verified.
Businesses are discovering numerous ways for NFTs to generate value. As a brand, you can mint NFTs with special privileges such as discounts, admission to live events, a voice in company decisions, elite club or restaurant membership, and VIP access to online communities. Look no further than MdDAO or Drivyn Performance for examples of how businesses are building NFT membership communities.
Because NFTs are minted in limited batches, their perks and scarcity grant them inherent value — they are digital souvenirs that include your customers in a community. These tokens are sought after, displayed like digital trophies, and traded. Your online customers will take NFTs wherever they go, which becomes important as you consider marketing in web 3’s latest virtual frontier — the Metaverse.
Expanding Your Business in the Metaverse
The Metaverse is a realm fueled by virtual reality which your customers can access via browsers and headsets. As digital avatars, they interact in real-time with users from all around the globe in newly designed 3D landscapes. So far, successful marketing in this space has appeared to be fun and engaging, but most importantly, non-invasive.
As such, it can be assumed that the Metaverse will be the next place to grow your business. You can brainstorm virtual experiences that top any marketing campaign you have dreamed up in the real world. Musicians are creating communities among fans with virtual concerts, and clothing designers are including NFT wearables with physical products so avatars can show their style in the metaverse, too. The possibilities are nearly limitless. If you discover ways to enhance the online experience through your marketing presence, you can rest assured that your customers will take notice.
While the Metaverse is generating a lot of press, it is still a work in progress. The hardware and software that will transform these concepts into reality are still developing, so be sure to continue exploring what web3 has to offer. The potential for growing your business mounts with each application of new technology.
With over 15 years of experience consulting with large and small businesses, providing them with management, marketing, and business consulting services, Mark is an entrepreneur at heart, an advocate for small businesses, a passionate storyteller, and author of “From Pennies to Millions.” Mark has been featured in Fox Business, PR Pioneer, O’Dwyer PR, and Consumer Affairs.