Marketing The Blockchain

The old legend goes that whenever you say the word “blockchain” three times in front of a mirror, 10 executives appear within 3 feet of your geographical location.

Before we dive into ways to market the Blockchain, let us first address the most prominent problem - not a lot of people actually understand how it can be utilized to their advantage.

While working with Backslash Solutions we had the opportunity to create an informative Buzzword Breakdown that will give you some practical reasons to implement Blockchain technology.

"Blockchain technology is used to secure, record and process data."

Here are some more specific uses for your consideration:

Reducing Fraud and Theft Supply-Chain Optimisation Recording Transfers of Ownership of Physical Assets Processing Commercial Transactions and Shareholdings Processing Certifications, Digital Rights and Intellectual Property

And yes - it can be used to create a token for your company whereby you can obtain financing. So we’ll be looking at tokens as an example in light of the fact that most CEOs think “I’m going to be at the forefront of tech by using the blockchain.”

Banners For Building Blocks

Over the past month we were privileged to be invited to the SBI Indaba and the Innovation Norway Business Breakfast where Cape Town has been labelled the epicentre of tech development in our country - by more than one notable international. Some even went as far to say “within the Southern Hemisphere”. Although we aren’t here to judge the accuracy of such statements, we do appreciate that we live in the Southernmost crossroad where peculiar socio-economic conditions meet advanced technological solutions - an intersection that is filled with hundreds of promising powerhouse startups. Notably, these are startups that know how to utilise the blockchain effectively.

"So what can we learn from some of them?"

It seems like there are two preferred ways to market this, potentially confusing, tech.

Method 1: Specs To Impress

Knowledge seems to be a favourite among blockchain supporters. It makes sense seeing as their most supportive crowd is made up of other former CTOs who dabbled in various companies while graduating nearby Silicon Valley. The IT crowd easily gets lured into term-flexing debates amongst peers. The problem here being that, if they want to expand, it might be worth their time to “dumb-down” their forums and cater to a less enthusiastic market. Currently the lack of enthusiasm - and even awareness - exist due to either stubborn or ignorant industry participants who could be overwhelmed by their more recent pull back into the limelight. So how do these companies prevent the limelight from becoming a combination of headlights and cross hairs? Two practical points you should consider are:

What are you marketing?

If you’re marketing either services or a product that nobody understands, then your attempts at rounding up sufficient funding for that sparkling Unicorn label will fade away as fast as your lexicon flies over the many heads of potential investors.

Who is your investor or target market?

If your investors are CTOs, CIOs or COOs, then go ahead and baffle them with your unparalleled capacity for recalling your years of experience in the form of abbreviations. However, if they are the owners of companies who - let’s be honest - (really) won’t care to understand how precisely you achieve their goals for them, then consider using your superior intellect to communicate the value of your service or product succinctly at a basic level.

If we are to use tokens as an example, then adoption by the market would be the primary goal. This goal is met by creating a demand for the token through your company’s product offering or service. This can be done through incentivising users to purchase, utilise or trade your token depending on its function. Through this process the token can remain popular amongst users and - if your offering is successful - become a sustainable monetary unit.

"What to do if your token underperforms..."

Simply reconsider your offering. ‘Simple’, because tech is either adaptable or outdated. If your offering is the former, then amend accordingly in order to target the correct market. Focus on performing features that enjoy the attention of the market and drop any features that aren’t attracting favourable attention.

Method 2: Incentivising Positive Sentiment

The ideal local offering would involve the creation of an inclusive market where social solutions, like poverty alleviation, becomes an achievable primary goal. Already I can hear the sighs amongst readers who only deal in absolutes and half-empty glasses. You are advised to click away now if your sentiment belongs in the past. Because the future, where the previously unattractive notion of poverty alleviation has become a stunner, is here.

One example of such an ideal offering came in the shape of Project UBU. We’re not diving into the particulars in this article, but we encourage all readers to visit their tasty website at

At its most basic level, Project UBU distributes a token that is “issued free to all citizens which can then be exchanged for goods and services.” - Project UBU website.

At first it might seem too far-fetched a concept to become a viable solution, but the reasoning and facts behind it is all very sound. In fact, they’re already in circulation and being adopted by communities in Cape Town. It can’t be discounted that a social initiative can draw more public support than say, yet another get-rich-quick investment opportunity. Social initiatives are powerful marketable magnets and especially when combined with a booming buzzword in the tech sector.

UBU does more than just punt their framework of creating an impressive economic ecosystem however. The company keeps their blockchain breakdown very simple and thereby easily accessible to potential investors and the general public alike. Communication is their key to success - which isn’t surprising as company CEO, Justin McCarthy, comes from an established background in marketing practices.

Talk Ain’t Cheap

“Intelligence allows you to communicate on impressive levels, but also on any level below the one to which you had to climb.”

Our view is that the proof, hidden in your pudding, is only valuable if you can communicate it to a 10-year-old. 10-year-olds love pudding and we should realise that a serving of over-complicated formulae won’t top the simplicity of a cup of sugar, some water and the application of heat. Moreover, if either CTO, CIO or COO can’t understand your offering at its most basic level, then they shouldn’t be a prospect for your company or your use of blockchain.

"Feeling too buzzed for the blockchain? Let us take care of it!"

You don’t need a degree in software development to understand how to reach your target market, but you do need the time to market effectively. Luckily, that ball is firmly taken care of in our court. Contact us today to find out how we can successfully put your word out on the digital streets and local silicon avenues.

Kind Regards Johan Bronkhorst Co-Founder & Director