Here is a very simple definition of what blockchain is: a piece of digital information (the “block”) stored in a public database (the “chain”). A blockchain is responding to three principles:
1. A transaction must occur,
2. That transaction must be verified,
3. Anyone can view the content of the blockchain.
The transaction can be of a different nature. It is first and foremost a set of data. The blockchain helps with the distribution of this data among the entire network. The data can be the vehicle of a financial transaction or of an information transaction.
Starting off this paradigm, it makes sense for marketing and commerce in many ways.
It helps verify the authenticity of a product. Manufacturers of luxury goods can fight against counterfeits by certifying the authenticity or non-authenticity of a product.
It helps confirm the source of a product – Its materials and components. In Europe, product traceability is necessary by law (in the food industry) so the blockchain can give a mean to confirm where a product is coming from and provide some reinsurance to the consumer about the quality of what he is consuming. This could apply to all industries, where the components or the origin of the product matters. We could, for example, certify that a product is 100% American or the purity of a product.
It helps pay affiliates within an affiliate network, for example, as it more easily references what transaction is attached to which affiliates. Here is an example, where the blockchain is used to pay gamers while controlling IP rights.
We also can imagine the same principles applied to rewards programs. The blockchain could help incentivize consumers to return to a certain store to do their shopping. We could track customers' interactions at a particular touchpoint and store the rewards so that we provide more accuracy in the promotions we offer to the customers based on what got captured part of the loyalty program.
This should also help manage influencers. Influencers can be of much different nature and being able to track when and where they post (if they post as indicated in their contract) and pay them accordingly if their fees depend on their activity will be made easier with the blockchain.
With all the customer data that is captured, we can render ads in a much more accurate way so that the personalization is higher. Bicomo is a blockchain ad network.
Thanks to the blockchain, we can gather a lot of customer insights and understand customers' preferences across a large number of channels. The data captured is more accurate and organized for easier use of it.
Publishers will have access to a very large pool of relevant data, already vetted by their owners and proven with the chain, making ad targeting much more accurate and much less expensive.
The b-commerce (blockchain-commerce) can be a new business model where customers directly deal with customers without any intermediary at all, not even the platform. Open Bazaar is a marketplace where customers can pay with cryptocurrency and where no fees are required from any party.
There can be a blockchain Venmo-type for customers or individuals to transact with each other in all security.
What is very interesting with blockchains is that individuals have control over data. It puts the value of their data exclusively in their hands.
Users get privacy by blocking trackers from their browser with Brave. Customers get the control back on what they want and not want to see, and not have the brands decide for them. Marketing will require way more ‘’permission’’ from customers to approach them. All the value will, therefore, be put on building stronger relationships with customers more than presenting or selling them something.
It secures data for IoT. IoT data are sent to the blockchain, where they are more secure in the network. Data related to biometrics, personal health, and others are therefore not in ‘’the cloud’’ and used in ways that might be the ones the individual permitted.
Blockchain is the dawn of a radical change to how marketers are going to do their job. As I wrote earlier ‘’ All the value will, therefore, be put on building stronger relationships with customers more than presenting or selling them something’’ and this is a very important point that needs to be integrated early by organizations so that they position themselves the right way when the blockchain technology will become mainstream. They can, therefore, be ahead and will have immediate higher results.