Whether you like it or not, you can’t deny the hype that surrounds Web3, which includes the Metaverse, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain. But how do we as B2B marketers cut through that noise and identify the opportunities for us?
Here at Bright, we’re always looking future forward, scanning the horizon for what’s next and staying ahead of the curve – which is why we’re going to digest the top three things you need to know about Web3 for B2B marketing.
History of the internet
To understand what Web3 entails, we must first look back to the beginning with Web1, or ‘Web 1.0’. It was the first iteration of what became the World Wide Web, headed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989. His idea was to create open, decentralised protocols that allowed information sharing from anywhere on Earth. Web 1.0 lasted between 1990 and 2004, and featured static websites owned by companies, with little interaction between users, leading to it being known as the read-only web.
Fast forward to Web 2.0, from 2004 to the present, where the web has evolved to be read-write, increasing audience participation and engagement. This means that instead of companies providing content to users, they began to provide platforms to share user-generated content and engage in user-to-user interactions, propelled by the explosion of social networking fuelled by sites like Facebook or Twitter.
As more people join the online community, a handful of companies, such as Meta and Google, began to control a disproportionate amount of the traffic and value generated on the web. Web 2.0 also birthed the advertising-driven revenue model, meaning that while users could create content, they couldn’t own it or benefit efficiently from its monetisation. Leading us to Web3 – the next stage of the internet.
The impact of Web3 on marketing
With exciting new developments in technology and how much we rely on the internet, it can often feel overwhelming, trying to navigate the line between what’s relevant and ‘the next big thing’ and what will pass as a short phase. You can already see big brands, such as Unilever, who have utilised Augmented Reality (AR) experiences to showcase a virtual career fair using their ‘Pot Noodle’ brand, replacing its live event, which was cancelled due to Covid-19. On another side of Web3, you can see how brands like Nike or Mercedes have utilised virtual configurators to visualise products with their customisations.
This will have a profound impact on the buyer’s decision-making process, in the near future, moving towards a more personalised and visual hands-on experience, which has become imperative for both B2B and B2C marketing within the past few years.
One of the benefits of a blockchain, which is a decentralised, public digital ledger that is used to record transactions across desktops, is that there is complete transparency within it. You can see how much crypto a wallet address has and where transactions have been taking place. With some sophisticated analytic research, you could get a relatively clear insight into what your audience is spending crypto on online, and target that accordingly.
So, how can B2B marketers can harness Web3
Cryptocurrency and loyalty
One of the burning questions surrounding those interested in Web3, is how it can be utilised commercially. Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum are popular in the B2C market, however, the applications around coin or NFTs as a loyalty mechanism may be more applicable to B2B – firms can establish their own ‘coin’ which can reward loyal clients and employees. This coin could be used in more diverse ways than a loyalty scheme, for example as reinvestment in future projects or joint ventures with clients.
Metaverse and virtual worlds in B2B
An area of value to B2B marketers is the utilisation of virtual experiences to showcase a product or service offering. It can be done in a way as simple as going into Meta’s ‘Horizon Worlds’ platform and designing a virtual store or using Unity’s ‘Unreal Engine’ to create a gamified experience.
How about utilising Web3 within your workplace? You could create a virtual office space to bring team collaboration into the modern age, ditching the typical ‘zoom’ meetings that gained popularity during the pandemic, or even hold a virtual event in the Metaverse.
Generating leads through the Metaverse
It doesn’t stop there; Web3 can be utilised to create virtual-only services for B2B, such as ads. Advertisement within the Metaverse is something we believe will explode in the coming years, as brands learn more about what possibilities lie ahead, and embark on early adoption so they don’t get left behind. It’s important to note that advertising in the Metaverse is not yet as sophisticated or programmatic as it is in the Web2 landscape.
With innovative updates and features created in the Metaverse, it’s easier for B2B marketers to find leads. The Metaverse is an avenue for B2B marketers to reduce traditional methods of lead prospecting. You can support an end–to–end engagement and commence the marketing process from lead prospecting to customer acquisition and rewards. It’s possible to interact with prospects like never before.
NFTs and gated content as a community tool
One of the hottest trends of 2021 was the hype surrounding NFTs (non-fungible tokens) which are collectable digital assets that link ownership to unique physical or digital items, such as art, property, music, or videos, and are considered modern-day collectables. NFTs could be utilised in a B2B environment by rewarding clients with your native token for using your services, like a loyalty programme; providing real tokens that they can exchange on cryptocurrency exchanges. You could produce an NFT to give to your target audience to access gated content, such as a Discord server, support channels, videos, articles, webinars, and so on, creating a stronger sense of community.
Get started by taking an agile approach
Knowledge sharing is going to be powerful; we’re keen to hear about what you think of Web3, and how you think they can be effectively utilised within the B2B marketing environment, we’ll be sharing our learnings as we venture further with clients.
Bright’s founder and Managing Director, Zoë Merchant, commented:
“With Web3, we’re getting ready for the biggest evolution yet in Customer Experience. B2B marketers need to take an agile approach to testing, learning and building on success to understand how they can harness the power of Web3 to take advantage of immersive and virtual worlds and make good use of the data they can gather to get closer to their customers and prospects.”
One thing is for sure, by taking an agile marketing approach B2B marketers can start small and set hypothesis to test ideas and learn from the data they garner to build on success. A great place to start is to understand your client’s perception and areas they would find beneficial and start to build out immersive customer experiences as well as innovative promotional strategies harnessing Web3.