It has become impossible to walk through any virtual space without tripping over an instance of blockchain chat. Many of us have become experts at walking by and continuing on our mission, but it may very well be time to take notice and factor this change into our strategic plan. As probably the most misunderstood shift in technology, we have to discipline ourselves to stop thinking of blockchain and cryptocurrency as one and the same. While we may wonder if our enterprise is not interested in anything cryptocurrency, what is the relevance of planning an investment in blockchain technology? The reality is that the enablement of blockchain technology is about much more than cryptocurrency and this could be a huge advantage to the enterprise and the bottom line. We need to think bigger picture. This means thinking about the impact of blockchain on social media and to stop thinking about social media as personal space. Welcome to the age of the segmentation of social media.
What does the segmentation of social media mean?
Dubbed the segmentation of social media, the enablement of blockchain technology will allow accurate tracking of user interactions with specific content. This means a couple of things. First, for social media contributors, it will become very clear who the influencers are and where compensation should be applied. Second, for the enterprise environment, we can target specific individuals or groups who are real and who are interested in our product or service. Today, we have no assurances that anyone, or anything, is what it or they appear to be on the Internet. We make assumptions, we cross our fingers, we give unwarranted trust. The reality is that today we can never be 100 percent sure that the individual or corporation we communicate with or do business with on the web is an actual entity, a bot, or a manifestation of evil and this means that the market segmentation we are targeting may not be as it seems. Thanks to blockchain, the technology now exists to ensure that those who access certain layers of the web are indeed whom they proclaim to be, and this could greatly influence the direction of marketing.
As a teenager, I had a part-time job as a telephone solicitor for a company that sold vacuum cleaners. We were given a phonebook and assigned a letter of the alphabet. We would start at the top of that letter and would call each number, one after the other. We would recite the canned speech we had been given in an effort to get the person on the other end of the phone line to allow one of many salespeople into their home. We were yelled at, sworn at, hung up on, and threatened. But once every so often, someone would agree to a visit. In 1975, this was considered targeted marketing.
We need to target our market to our actual customers
With the advent of social media and more specifically, analytics, our ability to market to a target audience has improved dramatically. We can maximize our search engine optimization (SEO) so that our website shows up in more searches. We can target social media users with advertising based on keywords that they use or sites that they visit. But there are flaws in the current methodologies. Human beings are random variables and trust has left the building. Imagine the possibilities if our marketing dollars are able to specifically target potential customers who are actual entities and who are absolutely interested in our product?
Add to the latest list of challenges the removal of net neutrality. We have given more control over to our service providers thereby allowing them to charge a premium for the access we have grown to expect. Government and regulatory agencies alike may very well impose unwanted changes upon us. But fear not. The reality is that as consumers we will demand more in response and this response is called the decentralized web. As Angela Karl reports, the decentralized web is a movement to “counteract these large, powerful companies from taking the freedom away from the web.” Think of an area of the decentralized web that is powered by blockchain and populated by social media sites that are legitimately engaged by actual human beings with an actual history attached to them.
Think about truly authenticated users
Blockchain is basically an authenticated database. Today we rely on authentication by one authority. Perhaps the potential client we target once purchased a different item from us or maybe they once visited our website. Maybe it was a bot that was out scraping data. There is no way of authenticating that they are in fact a human being and that they are a human being who is interested in our product or service. With blockchain, each block is comprised of a record or a collection of records and all of these blocks are then chained together. This chain consists of verified and traceable data that we can use to locate our target audience and laser-focus our marketing dollars in their direction.
To those of you who prefer pseudonyms or anonymity, don’t despair. With the segmentation of social media, there will always be places for this. We are, after all, human. The distinction is that it will be understood that those who share this space are most definitely not who they say they are. In effect, a fantasy world where it is understood and accepted as opposed to a surprise.
Recruitment is a great example. Because everyone looks for a job at one time or another, it became low-hanging fruit for unscrupulous marketing. What a fabulous way to obtain resume data by scraping and targeting certain categories based on keywords for advertising purposes. It was actually kind of brilliant. Except that it changed and degraded the entire recruitment industry that was really quite guiltless in the entire exploit. The fallout of which is that the best resources available no longer respond to online recruiting advertisements. Imagine a decentralized area of the web that is dedicated to high-tech and powered by blockchain technology. The ability returns to once again attract the best resources and to also have the ability to know with 100 percent accuracy that the individuals who claim certain education and experience are who they claim to be. The technical resources can also feel confident that advertised positions are legitimate and not the actions of fake recruiters.
Time to update the strat plan
Blockchain technology is here and it means both traceable and factual data. It is more than cryptocurrency and the enterprise can leverage this technology along with the segmentation of social media to focus on specific and proven target markets. In the interim, we will be somewhat at the mercy of our service providers, but the decentralized web is on its way and the combination of these three new technologies will mean the movement to something much greater that is no longer controlled by fake news, bots, and unscrupulous marketing practices. Now is the time to factor this change into your strategic plan.
Featured image: Shutterstock