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Are NFTs Something Content Marketers Should Care About?

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Are NFTs Something Content Marketers Should Care About?

What’s your take on NFTs?

1. Yes, please.

2. Wait and see.

3. Pfft.

Brands like Gap, Coca-Cola, Adidas, Reebok, Lamborghini, and other consumer product companies would respond, “Yes, please,” as they have made splashy forays. News, sports, and entertainment brands have made moves, too.

If you haven’t gotten questions about how (or whether) your brand’s content strategy should include NFTs, it’s only a matter of time.

Before you answer the inevitable question, you should understand some NFT basics and know how they can be used.

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Content strategist and comic book author Buddy Scalera offered a helpful introduction for content marketers in a recent episode of The Creative Show, which he hosts with CMI Creative Director Joseph (JK) Kalinowski.

Like many creatives, Buddy’s interest in the topic sprang from the news in 2021 that an NFT minted by Beeple sold for more than $69 million. Buddy researched, experimented, and eventually co-wrote a comic explaining how NFTs work.

I’ve recapped his answers to several NFT questions on content marketers’ minds (and supplemented some of his answers with additional information and resources). You can watch the full discussion:

What is an NFT?

NFT stands for non-fungible token. That clears everything up, doesn’t it? (No? Not for me, either.)

Wikipedia explains an NFT as “a non-interchangeable unit of data stored on a blockchain, a form of digital ledger, that can be sold and traded. Types of NFT data units may be associated with digital files such as photos, videos, and audio.”

Buddy helpfully likens an NFT to the deed to a house. Just as a deed proves you own the house, an NFT proves you own a digital asset.

@BuddyScalera likens an #NFT to a deed to a house. It proves you own a digital asset via @KMoutsos @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Here’s where things get a little murky, though.

Owning an NFT doesn’t mean you own the copyright to the digital asset it’s associated with. It indicates you own the original digital asset. As NerdWallet explains, an NFT “essentially allows its buyer to say that they own the original copy of a digital file in the same way you might own the original copy of a piece of physical art or the master file of a music recording.”

Owning an #NFT doesn’t mean you own the copyright to the digital asset, says @KMoutsos via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The answers to what ownership rights come with an NFT purchase is evolving. Anyone considering creating, buying, or selling NFTs should study this closely (and, ideally, get good legal advice).

Can brands use NFTs for more than digital art?

NFTs for digital art, collectibles, and metaverse real estate or accessories, get plenty of public attention. But, a recent Harvard Business Review article suggests that brands focusing on using NFT collections to represent their physical products in the digital work (think NFTs for digital Nike sneakers) may miss the bigger opportunity.

Eventually, the article suggests, “​​NFTs could be the central digital touchpoint between brands and their consumers — and one that is controlled by the brand itself.” Instead of using NFTs for digital assets, brands could use them to identify unique experiences or objects in the physical world.

#NFTs could be the central digital touchpoint between brands and their consumers – one controlled by the brand, says @HarvardBiz via @KMoutsos @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

So-called “utility NFTs,” as Buddy explains, are NFTs that unlock something. Buddy points to Gary Vaynerchuk’s VeeFriends NFT project. Buying a VeeFriends NFT unlocks different functionality (e.g., a one-on-one coaching session with Gary, access to an exclusive part of his Discord community). In this case, buying the NFT is akin to purchasing a pass or ticket for some extra value.

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In a brand scenario, the company would decide what that pass in the form of an NFT would unlock. It could be for something your business would ordinarily charge, like an extended warranty or an event experience. “You get this whole experiential marketing thing,” Buddy says.

One of the most visible NFT projects, Bored Ape Yacht Club, offers both a creative asset and utility in each token. Owners of Bored Ape NFTs can access a social club with benefits like a private Discord server where members can chat with other members.

Earlier this year, a free NFT collection for the Grammy Awards offered access to a private Discord channel. And one of the NFTs unlocked a “golden ticket,” which paid travel and lodging costs for the winner and a friend to go to the awards ceremony.

Should my brand’s content strategy include NFTs?

While you are the best person to know if your brand’s content strategy should include NFTs, Buddy suggests using the 3 Cs of content marketing to make your decision – content, community, and consistency.

Again, Buddy points to Gary Vaynerchuck, who has nurtured his community with consistent free content for a decade. When he dropped an NFT collection, his community was ready for it.

But brands will struggle with NFTs if they don’t pay attention to the fundamentals, JK cautions. That means educating the audience about the value your NFT project has to them and not just jumping on the bandwagon because other brands are doing it.

“We as brand stewards or consultants need to be honest and transparent with our brands,” Buddy explains. That means doing the hard work that goes into evaluating any content marketing initiative. Most of that work happens before you even start thinking about what kind of content (NFT or not) to create.

Buddy suggests asking these questions before delving into NFTs:

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  • How will an NFT project align with our business strategy?
  • How will it align with our brand goals?
  • Does it make sense for your customers or audience?

I’d add one more question: Does it align with what your brand stands for?

Patagonia probably won’t offer NFTs (or find success with them if they do) because of their commitment to environmental causes. The environmental impact of minting (i.e., creating) a typical NFT (and other blockchain assets) equals 500 miles of driving in a gasoline-powered car.

Salesforce learned the hard way about NFT alignment with brand values. A sustainably committed company, Salesforce found hundreds of its employees protesting its plans to create an “NFT cloud” where creators could mint and sell the tokens. The employees thought the environmental impact of NFTs conflicted with the company’s commitment to sustainability, which it had recently touted in an ad that ran during the Super Bowl.

What should I do about NFTs today?

What you should do today about NFTs really depends on your analysis of how (or whether) NFTs make sense for your audience and your brand. It’s the same advice you’ve heard about entering any trendy new initiatives.

If your audience consists of gamers, art collectors or enthusiasts, and people receptive to interacting with blockchain-related elements or hanging out in the metaverse, you might decide to move faster than someone whose audience feels less connected to those circles.

Use these early days to talk with stakeholders about how NFTs might fit with your brand strategy, positioning, and values. Talk with your audience and customers to gauge their level of interest in and openness to NFTs. If NFTs seem promising after those discussions, study up to decide your best way forward.

Bookmark these resources to help you on your way:

I’d love to hear what you think about NFTs. Are they a fit for your audience? Do you want to read more about brands using NFTs? What other NFT questions can we help you answer? Let me know in the comments.

Want to learn how to balance, manage, and scale great content experiences across all your essential platforms and channels? Join us at ContentTECH Summit (May 31-June 2) in San Diego. Browse the schedule or register today. Use the code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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MARKETING

B2B buyers are much more concerned about a company’s values than the general public

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B2B buyers are much more concerned about a company's values than the general public

B2B marketers take note: 72% of your buyers say they are more likely to buy from socially responsible businesses, according to a recent survey. That’s 17 points higher than the general public. 

Additionally, 48% of B2B buyers say they’re “much more likely to” buy from these firms, compared to 29% of consumers. There’s a big gender gap on this among the B2B population, but not the one you might expect: 57% of men are in the “much more likely” group, compared to  35% of women, according to the American Marketing Association-New York “Future of Marketing” study. 

Read next: What are diversity, equity and inclusion, and why do marketers need them?

These folks are more than willing to put the company’s money behind this: 73% say they don’t mind if it costs them more. We’re not talking just a slight increase, either. Some 38% would pay prices more than 10% higher and 17% would be OK with an additional 25% or more. This is a considerable difference from the general public where the numbers are 23% and 10% respectively.

Furthermore, the bigger the purchase, the more buyers who respond strongly to brand purpose. Only 35% of those whose last purchase was under $10,000, are in the more likely to buy group. That group expands to 54% of those who spent between $10,000 and $100,000, and 62% of those whose last buy was over $100,000.

Most important issues

The most important issues for buyers:

  • Being a good employer (34%).
  • Corporate citizenship (27%).
  • Sustainability and environmental protection (24%).
  • Racial equality (23%).
  • Workplace diversity (23%).
  • Protecting voting and democracy (22%).
  • Women’s rights (15%).
  • Criminal justice reform (13%).
  • LGBTQ+ issues (10%).

Workplace diversity is considerably more important to B2B buyers than the general public (23% to 15%). 

While the current group of B2B buyers looks like it usually has, that’s very likely to change. Right now the average corporate buyer is mostly under 40 (65%) and male (60%). However, women make up 53% of the under-30s (as well as 56% of the over-50s). They’re also in the majority at companies with fewer than 50 workers (59%) and those with more than 5,000 (54%). 

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Why we care. The title of the study is “The new B2B: Omni-channel, tech-friendly and woke.” However one cares to define that last word, it is not one usually associated with B2B. That’s very important for focusing marketing and for the world at large. For marketers it means making sales and the C-suite understand that all of the business’s actions have an impact on the bottom line. For the rest of us it means there’s a powerful market force pushing for greater corporate responsibility.


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About The Author

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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