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Are They Really Worth The Hype?

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Are They Really Worth The Hype?

According to Hubspot Blog Research on content and media planning, 14% of media planners currently leverage non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Conversations surrounding NFTs and Web3 have risen in the past year and continue to pique marketers’ interest. In this article, we’ll cover what NFTs are, how brands are using it, and if it’s worth the investment.

So, how exactly do they work? Well, when an NFT is created, also known as “minted,” it can represent tangible items like art and clothing and non-tangibles like music, videos, and images.

For instance, Twitter’s founder, Jack Dorsey sold his first tweet for $2.9 million in 2021. Who determines the value of the item in question? The community. Unlike real-world or cryptocurrency, an NFT’s value is speculative.

What makes NFTs so popular is that they represent the decentralization of power from the few to the many. This is particularly valuable for creators who have historically relied on third-party platforms like Spotify, YouTube, and Instagram to share their content and gain from it.

NFTs put the power back in the hands of the community by letting them decide what’s popular and incentivizing them to support what they like.

They’re so popular in fact that Open Sea’s Alex Atallah, the cofounder of the largest NFT marketplace, recently shared on Twitter that there are more NFTs on the platform than there were internet pages in 2010.

For context, the platform houses over 250 million searchable NFTs. In 2010, there were roughly 200 million websites.

Let’s see what this means from a marketing perspective.

How Brands Use NFTs for Marketing [+ Examples]

Lomit Patel, senior vice president of growth at Together Labs, recently shared on LinkedIn that he believes NFTs are doing today what social media did in 2010 – drastically improve their potential for brand awareness and audience reach.

NFTs are disrupting the current marketing landscape and prompting brands to find innovative ways to incentivize their audience to engage.

“We’re moving to a market-based society where everything is going to be ownable, priceable, traceable — everything — and NFTs is just a fancy way to do that and create the marketplace around it,” said HubSpot’s CMO Kipp Bodnar on an episode of the Marketing Against the Grain podcast.

Because it’s so new, it’s a way to build buzz around your brand.

Let’s look at one brand that’s already doing this: Norwegian Cruise Line.

To celebrate the launch of Norwegian Prima Class, a new class of vessels, the brand collaborated with an artist to create six NFT art pieces. Each piece has been put up for auction, with the first starting at $2,500 and the proceeds will be donated to Teach For America.

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NFT created by norwegian cruise line

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In a press release, the brand shared that they chose to celebrate the launch using NFTs because it’s cutting-edge technology, which reflects how they approach their products and services.

By doing this, Norwegian leveraged the buzz surrounding NFTs (basically newsjacking) to create buzz surrounding its launch.

NFTs also allow brands to better incentivize their audience through exclusive content and shift the focus to community building.

In March 2022, beverage company Anheuser-Busch hosted an #NFTBeerFest event at its flagship brewery reserved for holders of specific NFTs from Budweiser, its child company.

Those who bought either a Budweiser Heritage Can NFT or Royalty Collection NFT reportedly enjoyed free beer, tours, giveaways, and performances at the event.

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Having access to exclusive content is exactly the sort of incentive that marketers can leverage. They already do so through gated, premium offers, this is just another version of it.

“In the future, really understanding incentives is going to be a marketer’s core skillset to acquire customers,” said HubSpot’s SVP of Marketing Kieran Flanagan on an episode of the Marketing Against the Grain podcast.

(Check out this roundup for a detailed list of how brands have leveraged NFTs.)

Cons of Using NFTs

The biggest drawback of minting and using NFTs is the environmental impact.

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You may be thinking, “It’s a digital asset, how does that affect the environment?” Well, the creation of an NFT consumes a great deal of energy (electricity) – depending on how complex it is – and can emit devastating amounts of greenhouse gas emissions.

Some creators are finding more sustainably conscious and less energy-intensive ways of minting NFTs. However, there is still limited data to validate these efforts.

Another con of using NFTs is that there’s still so much we don’t know. Similar to cryptocurrency, it’s subject to a lot of volatility as it is not regulated by any particular entity.

In addition, they don’t hold specific value, leaving you at risk to lose your entire investment.

From a marketing perspective, many consumers are still confused and skeptical about it, making it difficult to entice them. This is usually what happens with any new technology – early adopters face the brunt of the impact while late adopters learn from their predecessors’ mistakes.

Are NFTs Worth Your Marketing Investment?

NFTs can be a difficult sell to brands because they’re risky. It’s unclear what the future holds and it’s a bit too early to judge their impact on a large scale.

What we do know is that many of those who do use it have seen a lot of success.

In fact, 39% of those who use NFTs say they have the best ROI of any channel in their media mix, according to HubSpot Blog Research.

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For many marketers, it’s still an undiscovered territory, with 16% surveyed saying they plan to use NFTs for the first time in 2022.

“How you think about acquiring customers and the cost of doing that is greatly changed when you’re using different incentives through tokens to build your business,” said Flanagan.

He adds that through Web3 and NFTs, brands get more trackable incentives. So, whether this holds value will depend on the brand and goals.

However, one thing is for sure: It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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MARKETING

B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

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B2B customer journeys that begin at review sites are significantly shorter

The B2B customer journey can be a long one, especially when the purchase of expensive software subscriptions is under consideration.

“The average B2B customer journey takes 192 days from anonymous first touch to won,” according to Dreamdata in their 2022 B2B Go-to-Market Benchmarks — a statistic described by co-founder and CMO Steffen Hedebrandt as “alarming.”

But the report also indicates that this journey can be significantly sped up — by as much as 63% — if accounts begin their research at software review sites, gathering information and opinions from their peers. Journeys that originate at a review site often lead to deals of higher value too.

Fragmented data on the customer journey. Dreamdata is a B2B go-to-market platform. In any B2B company, explained Hedebrandt, there are typically 10 or even 20 data silos that contain fragments of the customer journey. Website visits, white paper downloads, social media interactions, webinar or meeting attendance, demos, and of course intent data from review site visits — this data doesn’t typically sit in one place within an organization.

“We built an account-based data model because we believe that there’s such a thing as an account journey and not an individual journey,” said Hedebrandt. “So if there are two, three or five people representing an account, which is typically what you see in B2B, all of these touches get mapped into the same timeline.”

Among those many touches is the intent data sourced from software review site G2. Dreamdata has an integration with G2 and a G2 dashboard allowing visualization of G2-generated intent data. This includes filtering prospects who are early in their journey, who have not yet discovered the customer’s product, or who have discovered it but are still searching. This creates a basis for attributing pipelines, conversions and revenue to the activity.

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“Strategically, our ideal customer profile is a B2B software-as-a-service company,” said Hedenbrandt. “B2B SaaS companies are particularly ripe for understanding this digital customer journey; their main investment is in digital marketing, they have a salesforce that use software tools to do this inside sales model; and they also deliver their product digitally as well.” What’s more, it takes twice as long to close SaaS deal as it does to close deals with B2B commercial and professional services companies.

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Read next: A look at the tech review space

The Benchmarks findings. The conclusions of the 2022 Benchmarks report is based on aggregated, anonymized data from more than 400 Dreamdata user accounts. Focusing on first-touch attribution (from their multi-touch model), Dreamdata found that customer journeys where a review site is the first touch are 63% shorter than the average. In contrast, where the first touch channel is social, the journey is much longer than average (217%); it’s the same when paid media is the first touch (155%).

As the Benchmarks report suggests, this may well mean that social is targeting prospects that are just not in-market. It makes sense that activity on a review site is a better predictor of intent.

Hedenbrandt underlines the importance of treating the specific figures with caution. “It’s not complete science what we’ve done,” he admits, “but it’s real data from 400 accounts, so it’s not going to be completely off. You can only spend your time once, and at least from what we can see here it’s better to spend your time collecting reviews than writing another Facebook update.”

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While Dreamdata highlights use of G2, Hedenbrandt readily concedes that competitor software review sites might reasonably be expected to show similar effects. “Definitely I would expect it to be similar.”

Why we care. It’s not news that B2B buyers researching software purchases use review sites and that those sites gather and trade in the intent data generated. Software vendors encourage users to post reviews. There has been a general assumption that a large number of hopefully positive reviews is a good thing to have.


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What Dreamdata’s findings indicate is that the effect of review sites on the buyer journey — especially as the first-touch channel — can be quantified and a value placed on it. “None of us questioned the value of reviews, but during this process you can actually map it into a customer journey where you can see the journey started from G2, then flowed into sales meetings, website visits, ads, etc. Then we can also join the deal value to the intent that started from G2.”

Likely, this is also another example of B2B learning from B2C. People looking at high consideration B2C purchases are now accustomed to seeking advice both from friends and from online reviews. The same goes for SaaS purchases, Hedenbrandt suggests: “More people are turning to sites like G2 to understand whether this is a trustworthy vendor or not. The more expensive it is, the more validation you want to see.”


About The Author

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Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

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He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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