Web3 technologies, such as blockchain and decentralized applications (dApps), represent a significant shift in the way the internet is being built and used. As such, go-to-market strategies for these technologies differ significantly from the strategies historically employed by “web2” technologies—those existing internet solutions that rely on central servers and intermediaries to facilitate interactions and transactions.
Web3 technologies have the potential to disrupt traditional business models and are already starting to change the way products and services are marketed and sold. With such potential disruption, the go-to-market strategies for web3 technologies differ from those traditionally employed by web2 technologies. For example:
- Different target audiences: Web3 technologies are often targeted at tech-savvy, early adopters who are interested in decentralized technologies and are willing to experiment with new business models. In contrast, web2 technologies are often targeted at a wider audience of mainstream consumers who are more familiar with traditional internet technologies and business models.
- Different value propositions: Web3 technologies often offer unique value propositions that are not possible with web2 technologies, such as increased security, privacy, and decentralization. These value propositions may require a different marketing approach, as they may be less familiar to mainstream consumers.
- Different distribution channels: Web3 technologies often rely on decentralized distribution channels, such as decentralized exchanges, peer-to-peer networks, and open-source communities. These distribution channels may be less familiar to mainstream consumers and may require a different marketing approach.
- Different business models: Web3 technologies often enable new business models that are not possible with web2 technologies, such as decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and token-based models. These business models may be unfamiliar to mainstream consumers and may require a different marketing approach.
- Different marketing channels: Web3 technologies often require a different mix of marketing channels, as traditional channels such as mass media may not be as effective in reaching tech-savvy, early adopters. Instead, web3 technologies may rely more on targeted marketing campaigns, social media, and influencer marketing to reach their target audience.
Overall, these go-to-market differences reflect the unique characteristics of web3 technologies, such as their decentralized nature, unique value propositions, and innovative business models.
Bigger picture, web3 solutions are much more focused on community building, then simply network building (as web2 technologies glorified Jim Collins' famous flywheel vision). Again for example:
- Web3 focuses on building decentralized ecosystems: While web2 technologies today rely on central servers and architectures, web3 technologies are designed to be decentralized and distributed. This means that go-to-market strategies for web3 technologies should focus on building networks of users, developers, and other stakeholders, rather than simply selling products or services to individual customers.
- Web3 also emphasizes community building and engagement: Growing, then leveraging strong communities of users (and developers) to drive adoption. As such, the go-to-market strategies for web3 technologies should focus on building and engaging with these communities—including tactics such as hosting ask-me-anything (AMA) meetups, participating in online forums and social media groups, and sponsoring hackathons and other community events.
- Like web2, web3 technologies often exhibit strong network effects, where the value of the technology increases as more people use it. So similar to web2 go-to-market strategies, web3 solutions should tap these network effects to drive adoption and growth. Such tactics might include offering incentives for users to invite their friends and colleagues to join the network, or providing value-added services or features to users who bring other users onto the platform, and other reward systems for sponsoring new users.
- Also like web2, web3 technologies can benefit from building partnerships and collaborations: Web3 technologies often require collaboration and cooperation between different stakeholders—such as developers, users, and businesses—and the decentralized nature of many offerings can speed growth by forming strategic partnerships with other companies or organizations, collaborating with open-source communities, and working with industry associations and trade groups.
- Finally, as with any new technology, web3 go-to-market strategies should focus on education and awareness: Many web3 technologies are unfamiliar to mainstream audiences, and there is often a steep learning curve involved in understanding and using these technologies. Readily imagine the leap from browsers to wallets, tradfi fees to crypto gas, Reddit to Discord, etc. The go-to-market strategies for web3 technologies must include educating and raising awareness about the benefits and value proposition of new technologies and new interactions. As such, producing educational content, hosting webinars and workshops, and collaborating with thought leaders and influencers is critical to early success.
Overall, go-to-market strategies for web3 technologies differ significantly from the strategies historically employed by web2 technologies, while retaining many of web2’s proven tactics. By adopting strategies of community building, network effects, partnerships and collabs, education and growing awareness, web3 startups can better drive adoption and growth of their technologies in new markets!