How to strategically manage the distribution of resourcesby Sebastian Schuhl
One of the fruits of the recent crypto bear market has been the fact that individuals are far less likely to dive into a position before thoroughly vetting a token or project. On top of that, groups on the receiving end of these funds are much more careful about how they’re allocating them to keep the company afloat. Still, questions abound: Should you bite the bullet and pay for the rating’s platform listing? Should you pay in BTC, ETH, USD, or your native token? How can you measure the quality of a particular marketing service?
In the following post in our series on ICO marketing, we’ll outline some of the ways in which you can better distribute your resources to get the greatest bang for your crypto-buck.
Rating Agencies and Finding Your Niche
Getting your great idea off the ground is tricky for a number of reasons, but the advantages of a successful venture are likely why you’ve decided to get started in the first place. Right from the get-go, however, money will be short and the expenses will continue to pour in regardless. The irony of this delicate phase is that to earn investors’ attention (who will subsequently support your project), you need to spend some of those precious resources.
To make money, you need to spend money, as they say.
The ideal scenario is that the first bit of exposure you earn will snowball into something much more durable. Conversely, if you mishandle this step, redirecting course with even fewer resources will be all the more difficult. The pressure to whitewash your spending and hand the process over to large PR platforms is thus very tempting. With experience in the given field, as well as being an established brand, they should be able to look after you and your great idea, right?
Token grading sites like ICO Rating and ICObench serve this market well and have earned a huge audience by covering a ton of material. They turn over thousands of projects and even more readers. These sites also generate swaths of cash as small-name projects hope to get their banner posted next to other successful ICO launches. But, as with many things in the cryptoverse, things are rarely this straightforward.
Brave New Coin, a crypto-news site, reported a more complete picture of how these rating sites work, as well as the submarkets that have developed around them. The article outlines how projects can purchase positive reviews, with the prime example being a startup called Alethena:
“Alethena was reportedly contacted by two separate individuals who ended up selling the startup four positive ratings for around $1,500 worth of ether (ETH) that resulted in it receiving an inflated ICO rating on the site. This deceptive practice went as far as allowing the startup to write its own review under the name of a supposed blockchain 'expert'.”
This bit of investigative journalism shouldn’t stir you away from these kinds of sites altogether. After all, if exposure is all that matters in the beginning, this may be your best bet. But, with tons of different startups doing the same thing and the cost of a similar listing being so expensive, is this actually the best route to receive brand awareness and build a sustainable follower base?
Let’s explore a few alternatives first.
Using Native Token Resources
One available alternative in the token economy is to pay marketers and partners in your native tokens directly. This serves as an incentive for bag holders to spread the message of your startup at a fraction of the price. It’s not too dissimilar to early-internet era companies paying employees in equity, but less legally cumbersome. In fact, when paying an early contributor with discounted tokens, they can experience the incentive mechanisms in place following their hard work.
Buy paying interested parties in their ATH token, Alethena would incite holders to convince other individuals to purchase the token. They would work autonomously in hopes of getting more people on board, participating in the ICO, and ultimately funding a project’s continued growth. This would end in a fast-growing community participating in the conversation that is your great idea.
Yet, it’s crucial to realize that there is a fine line between architecting a pump and dump scheme, which is led by “bounty hunters” just aiming for your tokens without really caring about your vision, and gathering support around your project by a genuinely interested follower base. The former might make a few folks incredibly wealthy, but it will likely end as a brief flash in the startup scene. You want genuine support over the long-term, and bounty hunters posing as marketing experts likely won’t get you there.
These experts, most of which have fortunately been flushed out of the space, ran rampant in December 2017. In their wake, they also exposed the dark world of fake traffic and reviews mentioned above. Even those working for native tokens disappeared as soon as a project earned a listing on a top exchange. The bear market, in this regard, has served as a very helpful screen for filtering out short-sighted contractors.
Founders should also consider the following metrics for earning the best results from outside help:
Invest the time to always check proof-of-work from offered (marketing) services.
Establish commission-based deals with service providers; ideally in your native currency or a combination.
Set clear KPIs and reward based on the results of these indicators.
Develop a strategy that works for both parties and stick to it. Communication throughout the process should be consistent and goal-oriented.
To conclude this point, it’s important to establish how your team is hoping to generate as much exposure as possible for any given project. From there, pinpointing individual voices in a relevant space and developing an actionable plan with them can help keep your marketing objectives clear and measurable. Ultimately, establishing a form of accountability with all parties is critical.
In the world of digital assets, cryptocurrencies, and tokens, it’s easy to forget about a fundamental resource: Time. Budding small businesses and startups are not only short of money but are also pressed to ship their product as quickly as possible. It’s not uncommon for an idea to be overtaken by another, well-equipped team and run your project out of the game.
To avoid this, be sure that you’re focusing on essential marketing channels and remain in constant conversation with your target audience. In a previous post, we described how you can best identify who your user and investor base is. Ideally, at the point in which your recruiting community managers and social media specialists, you are already well aware of who is interested in your idea.
Framing up the identity of your community and establishing clear goals between you and your partners is likely the most difficult part of this entire process. But it’s also the most important one. Done correctly, the end project is merely the process of knocking down pins, flying past deadlines, and earning real, long-term buzz about your project.