It is hard to escape the buzz around blockchain. Not only does news about cryptocurrency seem to crop up in the media on a daily basis, but blockchain is also beginning to invade nearly every industry—from cybersecurity to the entertainment sector and beyond. According to research by Forbes, 90% of major North American and European banks have already been exploring blockchain as a potential solution for many of their heftiest concerns around data, security and transactions.
But in addition to its effects on the most obvious sectors, blockchain technology is also gearing up to change the world of digital marketing. Due to the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, consumers using digital wallets to perform transactions can do so in obscurity, safeguarding their purchasing histories and personal information from marketers. Therefore, as the blockchain market grows and becomes more popularized, digital marketing will have to account for these changes and adapt its strategies.
Blockchain: What It Means for Marketers
It’s important to understand that blockchain is much more than Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In a general sense, blockchain is the ultimate protected peer-to-peer network that allows data to be distributed and stored, but not copied. Everyone using blockchain is ultimately responsible for keeping it up to date, and since blockchain data is stored in a chain-like structure amongst the users, it becomes decentralized.
For marketers, the decentralized nature of blockchain means that transactions can be managed by the individual, not be a central authority (like a bank or government entity). Without any central regulations hovering over blockchain, users will have greater cybersecurity and control over their personal data. For marketers, this makes it easier to communicate digital marketing strategies directly with consumers instead of paying for advertising or distribution through a central authority, like Google or Facebook.
A Reversal of the Current User Model
Since the consumer identity will be more secure in using blockchain, digital marketers may have to begin asking consumers for permission to use their personal data instead of merely purchasing that data from a central authority. With blockchain, the consumer will have the power to charge the marketer for their data.
In a recent radio show interview, Amanda Gutterman of ConsenSys said one example of this marketing role reversal can occur when a brand asks a user to subscribe to its weekly newsletter. Instead of targeting massive lists of target users, blockchain gives users the chance to respond with a price the marketer will have to pay them for their personal information.
While it may still be several years before these changes are in full effect, it is wise for digital marketers to be aware of these impending changes and prepare for certain adaptations to occur in the near future.