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MARKETING AND BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY

A Kenyan entrepreneur recently made headlines for what many considered an unorthodox payment option recently introduced in her restaurant. Beatrice Wanjiru Wambugu, the owner of Betty’s restaurant in Nyeri is a cryptocurrency enthusiast who is not afraid of experimenting with new innovations and embracing technology. Get this… she is now accepting Bitcoins as a payment option… you heard right!! 🙂 Aside from exposing her restaurant and getting free publicity which is quite a clever gimmick you could say, her story brought about a lot of public debate about- just what is cryptocurrency and what is it’s role?

The first type of cryptocurrency to be invented through blockchain technology was the Bitcoin back in 2009. Over the years there have been numerous cryptocurrencies that have emerged and their use as a mode of payment is slowly but surely taking root in many countries across the world and Kenya is not one to be left behind!

Beatrice Wanjiru Wambugu, proprietor of Betty’s Place- A Restaurant in Nyeri that is accepting Bitcoins (Photo C/O Business Daily)

 

Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain is a digital ledger that provides a secure way of making and recording transactions, agreements and contracts. However, rather than being kept in one place like is the case with the traditional ledger book, this database is shared across a decentralized network of computers that can encompass a handful of users to, hundreds or thousands of people. This network of decentralized network of multiple devices verifies every transaction conducted meaning that transaction records are copied and stored on a large number of random devices each time a transaction occurs.

The most popular transactions currently being facilitated through blockchain technology are cryptocurrencies. A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency designed to work as a medium of exchange, created through the use of encryption software. It uses blockchain technology to secure and verify transactions as well as control the creation of new units of a particular cryptocurrency.

What Does Their Use Mean For Digital Marketing

 There is a big likelihood that that blockchain & cryptocurrencies can or will disrupt our world on many fronts in the coming years. Though the role of cryptocurrency in the future of marketing is still uncertain, their growing popularity and use could potentially cause a noticeable shift in the industry.

The Challenge                                          

From a marketing perspective, cryptocurrencies pose a big challenge because they have given consumers transaction privacy; a transaction which takes place through blockchain exists only between two parties, this means that data is anonymously shared and only the two who share the blockchain know it took place. Because marketers rely heavily on marketing analytics derived from publicly available data that’s gathered from social media applications, search engines & other platforms used by consumers when making their purchase decisions- access to such data will no longer be possible. This will in turn make it difficult for them to refine their targets, identify audience segments & key demographics or even predict consumer behavior.

As secure online exchanges and other platforms make it increasingly easy to purchase cryptocurrencies, marketers need to prepare for the potential rise in transactions that can’t be analyzed with current tools and look for different methods/ models of collecting consumer data that can assist them learn more about their customers when crypto usage becomes a common thing.

The opportunities

With it’s digital ledger system that allows for tamper-proof transparency of every product’s move through the supply chain, buyers can easily check where a product has come from, who has handled it and if it’s genuine or fraudulent, whether they are making a purchase online or from a physical store. This puts tremendous power into the hands of the customer- enhancing their customer experience. Because blockchain is transparent, encrypted and customer profiles verified, companies can easily determine if the people viewing their ads are their actual target audience and not bots or hired “clickers” who artificially pump up ad statistics so that advertisers can charge exorbitant rates. On the other hand advertisers will have the ability to build a customer profile directly from the customer—gaining all the information the customer is willing to share in one swoop giving them greater ability to understand and market to the customers’ needs and spend their advertising shillings only on customers who are most likely to buy their product.

Blockchain technology could change how online ads are purchased, delivered, measured & valued and lead to better returns & value for Ad spend for brands. It can also help to significantly improve customer experience. This is a win-win for both brands & consumers.