It’s no secret that Web3 projects are not only operating in a completely new and revolutionary space, but they’re also having to innovate unique marketing strategies to match - all of which may seem a bit alien to your traditional Web2 marketeers, and thinking about it, even to most Web3 marketeers.
Those who work in Web3 are really writing the rules as they go. There is no “rule book” to follow, and as a result, most Web3 founders are left scrambling with less-than-ideal marketing tactics, results and ROI. More often than not, undefined campaigns are launched with unclear objectives and you just throw money at them, shut your eyes and hope for the best (without knowing what “best” is or even looks like).
In conjunction with this, Web3 marketing changes and evolves just as quickly as the decentralised technology it’s associated with.
More than ever before, projects need to be as agile and flexible with their marketing strategies as blockchain developers are with the latest programming languages. If you’ve been utilising the same marketing techniques and strategies for more than 3 months, they’re probably already outdated and the market has moved on.
This really is lateral thinking 101.
The nuances of Web3 marketing are only compounded by the fact that your marketing strategy must be completely different depending on market sentiment.
In a bull market, life is good, prices are rising, and investors are buying up fast and furious. There’s a lot of excitement, high trading volumes and big surges in valuations. In these market conditions, marketing strategies should focus on innovation, achievements, joint campaigns, success stories, opportunities, incentivised community participation and escalated ad spend to capitalise on sentiment.
On the other hand, bear markets are pessimistic and negative, prices are falling and investors are either cautious or selling. So, not surprisingly, your marketing strategy shouldn't be shouting about success stories and opportunities, but rather emphasising trust, credibility, authority, educational content and reputation building, all while addressing investor concerns, gathering community feedback and being very intentional with partnerships and ad spend.
This overview is great, but what about the nitty gritty details? How can you actually utilise these marketing pillars in your project? Below, in part one of this article, we will focus on practically applying four of the eight marketing pillars, including personal branding, partnerships, podcasts and key opinion leaders (KOLs). In part two, we will further cover content and SEO, email, paid ads and community.
Now let’s get to it and discover how to adjust your marketing plan based on market sentiment.
This marketing pillar is all about elevating the Twitter or LinkedIn profiles of your founders. This should be an “always on” activity, especially in an industry which has become rather synonymous with scams and pump and dumps. More than ever, people are looking to company founders for reassurance of credibility—so let’s talk about how best to assure your audience in both good times and hard times in the market.
In a bear market, when investor sentiment is low, it's crucial to establish yourself as a source of trust and authority. This is the time to emphasise your expertise through thought leadership pieces, provide valuable insights into the market by commenting on reports and trends, and showcase your resilience and long-term vision for the Web3 space. It's all about building a reputation for staying power and trustworthiness, even in the face of market downturns.
When the market turns bearish and things begin to get rocky, people aren’t as interested in new things and future possibilities—they want to know how you and your company are trustworthy and stable. For example, take Changpeng Zhao, CEO
of Binance. During the current bear market we’re in, his personal brand on Twitter has been a voice of consistency, stability, and clarity that has focused on cutting through fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) for his followers. He’s active. He’s engaged. Here are some of the topics he touches on consistently:
The importance of staying calm and focused during bear markets.
The need to support strong projects and founders.
The opportunities that exist in bear markets for long-term investors.
The importance of education and learning about the crypto space.
And some actual example tweets from CZ:
On the flip side, in a bull market, you can harness the general positive sentiment to reinforce yourself as an innovator and visionary in the space. This is the time to share success stories and highlight achievements and milestones to build a sense of anticipation and excitement. Focus on the future—not just your company’s future, but on how you see crypto’s future as a whole. During the previous bull run, CZ talked a lot about the following:
The future of crypto
The challenges facing the industry
Binance's products and services
And his tweets went a little something like this:
And no matter what the market sentiment, note that it’s important to avoid too much self-promotion and hard selling. Personal branding isn’t about you, or your Web3 project, it’s about your knowledge and market insights, what angles you have on things as a result of your experience, and your valuable input to certain topics. CZ is someone who understands this very well—no one likes a salesman, but what they do like is thoughtful and insightful content which adds value to their lives. Of course, you can mention your project along the way, but this shouldn’t be the sole focus. Elon Musk doesn’t just talk about Tesla, after all.
Partnerships are really synonymous with Web3 itself. In no other industry can two direct competitors find it perfectly fine to hop on a Twitter Space together to discuss trends and insights for their communities to enjoy. As mentioned previously, we really do operate in a completely new and revolutionary space—and that unfamiliar landscape and intrepid, explorer spirit is what results in that camaraderie.
Some key advantages of partnerships can include: collaboration and shared experience, network expansion, interoperability and synergy, shared resources and infrastructure, community building and user engagement, risk mitigation and diversification—as well as market expansion and access. And while partnerships should always be at the heart of your marketing strategy, their angle, or purpose, will be different depending on the type of market you’re in.
Bear markets are a time to seek partnerships with other projects to collectively address market challenges, share resources, and pool skills. Partnering with projects that provide stability, risk mitigation, or complementary services can help you navigate the downturn more efficiently and offer value to your audience even within a challenging market climate—which also sets you up for success when things flip bullish.
For example, in 2022 (during the current bear market), Coinbase and Google Cloud partnered to build more powerful exchange and data services and enable some of Google’s users to pay for cloud services with crypto. The collaboration also let Coinbase use Google Cloud’s compute platform to process blockchain data and utilise Google’s fibre optic network for better global reach and connectivity. See the theme? These are practical benefits. Real utility for both parties, immediately—and both companies benefited from the solid reputation of the other. Coinbase is one of the biggest names in crypto, and Google Cloud is a huge player in the cloud computing industry.
On the other hand, during a bull market, the goal of partnerships should be to leverage the heightened interest and excitement in the space in general. Joint campaigns, collaborations, and cross-promotions with other high-profile Web3 projects (high follower counts and lots of surrounding hype) can significantly amplify your reach and attract more attention from potential investors or users.
Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) partnered with Adidas, Arizona Iced Tea, Gucci, Puma, Rolling Stone, Universal Music Group, Timbaland, Animoca Brands, and 10KTF. Quite the resume. None of these partnerships mitigated risk or provided complementary services for the companies involved or for their audiences—but they generated hype and made a way for these companies to get their brands out there in an even louder and more striking way than they could on their own.
No matter what the market sentiment, it’s important to think of partnerships in relation to your overall business strategy and objectives, too. Are you looking to drive adoption, increase your value proposition, pool computing resources, spread your risk between multiple platforms or integrate with another protocol for users to seamlessly transfer assets? As long as your partnerships “make sense” and are well thought out, then you’ll be adding value to your community, whether it’s through new practical features or through generating excitement.
And one final thought—do not forget to properly amplify your partnerships for maximum impact through AMAs, Twitter Spaces, PR and Podcasting. Otherwise, you’ll find yourselves falling a bit flat in terms of community impact.
Podcasts are a great way to reach a niche audience while providing Web3 projects with a valuable avenue to communicate their vision, connect with the community and gain recognition in the rapidly evolving Web3 ecosystem. Your company can either create and run its own podcast, send a representative to be a guest on another prominent podcast, become a sponsor for other successful Web3 podcasts—or any combination of those options. The possibilities are endless, and with how easy it is to repurpose content from podcasts into articles, Twitter threads, LinkedIn posts and more, you really should at least consider the option of podcasts for your company. That being said, what are the main differences in how to use this pillar in a bear vs. a bull market?
During a bear market, you should focus on delivering educational and informative content, discussing market trends, risk management strategies, and providing insights that help investors navigate the stormy market seas. Many podcasts often feature industry experts, and participating in such discussions can lead to networking opportunities and potential partnerships with other players in the Web3 space down the line. These types of appearances also help to act as an audio-based form of thought leadership.
By sharing their perspectives and expertise on podcasts, project representatives can establish themselves as thought leaders, which can lead to invitations for speaking engagements, panel discussions, and other industry events. All of these efforts ultimately enhance credibility and authority, which are essential in bear markets. The Bankless podcast is a stellar example here—they offer incredible, consistent value every week, and while they do host prominent guests and talk about current crypto events, they always bring a level-headed, value-forward perspective.
When the market sentiment is bullish, your podcast strategy can revolve more around talking about what the market is doing and covering current events, telling listeners about your own project announcements and promotions for launches. In such markets, stronger CTAs are more suitable and more well received. You can drive more traffic, drive more actions, and create more hype.
A podcaster who does a great job of all this in Web3 is Anthony Pompliano. With video podcast titles like “Will Clemente: The Bitcoin Bull Run Never Stopped” and “Will Bitcoin Reach 100k This Year?” in the previous bull market, he was grabbing people’s attention and gaining listeners. Once they become part of his audience, he can lead them to his SubStack—where he has over 200k subscribers, many of whom pay him monthly for exclusive access to his articles.
Also, it’s worth considering being more aggressive with your sponsorships of other podcasts at this time—taking advantage of those podcasts’ audience growth is also a part of capitalising well on bull market hype.
No matter what the market sentiment, it's essential for projects to choose relevant and reputable podcasts to appear on—or to create their own podcasts—that align with their target audience to maximise the impact of their appearance, whether it’s a thought leadership angle or a promotional one.
In the world of Web3, KOLs hold significant influence. They can assist with building credibility and trust, give you a wider reach by tapping into their established audience, provide education and awareness on complex topics, encourage user acquisition and community building, and influence interest, engagement and adoption. KOLs are also great to have participate in your events, webinars and conferences to elevate the credibility of your project. But there’s a whole spectrum of KOLs to choose from, so who should you leverage and when?
During a bear market, partnering with KOLs who are known for providing objective insights and have a strong reputation in the industry can be a game-changer. Perhaps they’re a bit more high-brow than your average NFT promoter, possibly with reputable backgrounds in finance. Their endorsements and support can build trust and credibility for your brand in a market that is often rife with scepticism. Marketing campaigns with KOLs in a bear market should focus on educational content, whether this be live demos of your platform, hosting tutorial walkthroughs, or something else entirely. This nurturing phase will pay off when the bull market hits and users are primed and ready to go.
Raoul Pal is one such example of this type of KOL. He’s been in the financial markets for 27 years, and started his financial career teaching traders about technical analysis before working with a British investment bank that got him in the world of derivatives markets. After this, he started writing macroeconomic investment research for the world’s biggest hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, government organisations, and high-net-worth family offices. Pal had an insider’s view of the financial world before the devastating 2008 crash and was dissatisfied by both the financial institutions and the mainstream media’s coverage of monetary issues. Hence, he’s sought to democratise both financial and crypto information through his Real Vision and Real Vision Crypto platforms. In bear markets, Pal and similar thought leaders are a sound choice to make, due to their good reputation for reliability.
On the other hand, in a bull market, partnering with KOLs who have a large following and whose values align with your project can help generate hype and FOMO among potential users and investors. This tactic can help you ride the wave of a bullish market, propelling your project's visibility and reach. You can focus more on promotional content with strong CTAs, such as airdrops, whitelists and NFT sales. This type of high energy content is perfect for bull markets, and the right KOLs are the perfect vehicles to deliver that content with.
Take Wendy O for example—she’s widely known, has a reputation for bringing value while generating hype, and she collaborates with companies on the regular to draw new users and generate excitement about their projects. Does she have the informative reputation and history of a Pal? Maybe not, but that’s not what we’re looking for in a bear market.
No matter what the market conditions, it’s important to make sure the KOLs you partner with are suited to your project and its values. It’s important to do some due diligence into KOLs experience and past campaigns with other projects to ensure they’re the right fit for your needs and expectations.
After thoroughly examining these four marketing pillars and exploring practical examples, it becomes evident that certain commonalities guide the adaptation of your strategy based on market sentiment. In bear markets, prioritise emphasising the trustworthiness and reliability of your project, while in bull markets, direct your efforts towards showcasing new opportunities and riding the wave of hype.
As with most complex topics, the best solutions are often surprisingly simple—so much so that you wonder why you didn't think of them earlier.
In the upcoming Part 2 of this article, we will delve further into this topic by exploring the remaining four marketing pillars: content and SEO, email marketing, paid ads, and community engagement. By understanding how each pillar aligns with market sentiment, you'll be better equipped to create a marketing strategy that aligns with the ever-changing dynamics of the Web3 space.
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