Go-To-Market Tactics in Web3. How to launch a Web3 project in 2024? Part 2.
Sep 22, 2023
In the first part of the article about the product strategy of the Web3 projects, I explained the classic GTM model and its features in Web3. In this part, I want to share some of the main tactics used in product launches. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an understanding of the techniques that can be combined and extended with your ideas.
Let’s dive deep into the world of Web3 together!
The Power of a Token
Tokens are the digital assets that make up the blockchain ecosystem. Essentially, they are the modern-day equivalent of currency and are used as a medium of exchange within the crypto economy. In simple terms, tokens are units of value transferred from one party to another over time per specific rules defined by their creators.
Tokens can come in different forms: security tokens represent an ownership stake in an underlying investment asset; utility tokens provide access to some services or products their issuing company offers.
The picture shows the state of market, 22/01/2024:
Rather than spending funds on traditional marketing to entice and acquire potential customers, core developer teams can use tokens to bring in early users, who can then be rewarded for their early contributions when network effects weren’t yet obvious or started (read about Airdrops and Retrodrops below).
Not only are those early users evangelists who bring more people into the network (who would like to similarly be rewarded for their contributions), but this essentially makes early users in Web3 more powerful than the traditional business development or salespeople in Web2.
In Web2, the primary GTM stakeholder is the customer, typically acquired via sales and marketing efforts. In Web3, an organization’s GTM stakeholders include not just their customers/users, but also developers, investors, and partners. Many Web3 companies find community roles more critical than sales and marketing roles.
Build your Web3 community, and community will build your reputation and visibility
Web2 can be called the period of birth and development of social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, YouTube and many others have turned the forums of the Web1 era into interactive content Disneyland, where each user not only consumes but also creates content, becoming an independent media.
Attention and time spent interacting with the platform and creators became the main currency.
Social networks gave marketers the tools of targeted advertising, which became a game-changing feature at one time. People enthusiastically filled out their profiles, showing the algorithms detailed information about their careers, interests, hobbies, relationships, and lovely foods. Algorithms allow marketers to target advertising messages to specific audiences.
With the implementation of the GDPR policy, targeted advertising has become less effective and can no longer clearly distinguish audiences by gender or age criteria.
Targeted advertising is replaced by account-based marketing. Account-based marketing, often known as ABM, is a strategy for targeted business expansion in which the marketing and sales departments work together to provide individualized purchasing environments for a predetermined group of high-value clients. ABM is more used in the B2B direction, where the contract and extremely important warm contacts can be discussed for a long time.
However, Web3 has a slightly different approach to social networks. Social networks that are friendly to blockchain projects are Twitter, Discord, Telegram, and Reddit. Also, decentralized social networks on the blockchain are actively developing, for example, Bluesky Social, Amino, CounterSocial, Steemit or Mastodon.
The question of social networks smoothly leads us to community building. And it’s necessary to mention that connecting directly with your audience does NOT turn that audience into a community.
When brands highlight their biggest fans with additional attention, utility, perks, and benefits, it's a one-way, one-to-many interaction. So, if people don't interact with each other, it's not a community.
The community appears only when you create conditions for members to interact with each other and create new social connections or even projects.
To create a community around your project, you must talk with your community members in the same language and create a unique inner culture based on common values. A cult-like identity that expresses itself through memes, specialized lingos like WAGMI, odd-looking profile pictures like the BAYC, and a deep longing for “moon” trips. Those elements constitute the unique Web3 culture.
From my perspective, to boost your chances of getting accepted, you can assist them in carrying out in-depth research about your project by:
Consistently engaging them with updates on behind-the-scenes activities.
Announcement of project development progress.
Getting the community involved in the decision-making about key features or events.
Give rewards (tokens, branded merchandise, invitations) for minting NFT or launching your testnet.
Make content about your team members.
Leaving no questions unanswered and respectfully entertaining feedback.
Set clear goals and objectives from the beginning and be upfront in fulfilling them.
Painstakingly explain via long-form articles, interviews, or videos when any critical or unexpected decision is taken.
Memes as a part of Web3 Community Building
The blockchain community loves to create and laugh at memes. Viral images with text overlays are another GTM tactic for Web3 organizations. Given the complexity and breadth of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the short attention spans of social media users, memes allow information to be rapidly conveyed.
To promote your project, you should create yourself and encourage your followers to create thematic memes for your project.
They can be specific and not understood by everyone outside the community, but inside it should be the social glue. Memes can also signal belonging, community, goodwill, and more in a highly information-dense way.
Work with Developer Relations (DevRel)
Developer Relations (DevRel) is the technique used to ensure that one’s company, products, and developers establish deep, continuous relationships with external developers through mutual communication. According to Statista, the global developer population is expected to reach 28.7 million people by 2024, an increase of 3.2 million from the number seen in 2020.
Developing a blockchain product is impossible without building relationships with developers who will implement the technology and make other products based on it.
For developers to create products based on the technology, the company must establish a warm relationship with them and encourage them. To do this, DevRel Engineers or Managers hold meetups and hackathons, educational and entertaining webinars, prepare user-friendly technical documentation, give away merchandise, and much more.
A DevRel program may comprise a framework built around some or all of the following aspects:
Developer Marketing: Outreach and engagement activities to create awareness and convert developers to use a product.
Developer Education: Product documentation and education resources to aid learning and build affinity with a product and community.
Developer Experience (DX): Resources like a developer portal, product, and documentation to activate the developer with the least friction.
Developer Success: Activities to nurture and retain developers as they build and scale with a product.
Community: Nourishes a community to maintain a sustainable program.
Developer grants are grants made from a protocol’s treasury to individuals or teams who contribute to improving the protocol. This can serve as an effective GTM mechanism for DAOs, since developer activity is such an integral part of a protocol’s success. Examples of projects and protocols with developer grants include Celo, Chainlink, Compound, Ethereum, and Uniswap.
For example, the Uniswap Grants Program (UGP) was established by Uniswap to help fund ecosystem development through targeted grants from the Uniswap Community Treasury. Since UGP’s launch, it has deployed ~$7M in $UNI to 122 grantees. Grants have focused on five key areas: sponsorships, community, tooling, usability, and governance.
So, DevRel is a long-time game, and the interaction process is similar to the marketing of B2B projects. That’s why if you want to make your product interesting for developers’ teams, you must sell it by demonstrating technological and business advantages.
I have a video with a step-by-step explanation of DevRel in the Web3 companies.
Partnerships and Web3 Ecosystem Collaboration
Collaborate with other projects and stakeholders within the Web3 ecosystem. This can include collaborating with decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols, NFT platforms, or other dApps that complement your project.
Marketers of Web2 and Web3 projects love partnerships because this is an excellent opportunity to increase your audience at the expense of another company and show your product from a new angle. However, partnerships in Web3 are built not only on ideological compatibility but also on technological compatibility, and this, in turn, can be the beginning of building an ecosystem.
Airdrops and Retrodrops
These types of activities are possible only in token-based projects:
Airdrop - a blockchain-based project that uses an airdrop as part of a larger marketing campaign is known as a project that uses cryptocurrency. These coins or tokens are directly deposited into the user’s cryptocurrency wallet.
Retrodrop is when a crypto project (blockchain or DApps) distributes its tokens to users for free. The tokens are given out for early activity in the project. In simple terms, if you tested or used the project before it launched its token, you might be among the lucky ones who received the airdrop.
In November 2021, the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) protocol distributed 25 million ENS DAO tokens via an airdrop. Similarly, a popular decentralized exchange, Uniswap, conducted a retroactive airdrop for its users in late 2020. The list continues with Trust Wallet Token (TWT), Basic Attention Token (BAT), and more.
In October 2022, the Aptos team thanked the supporters who launched the testnet or minted an NFT. The user could receive 300 or 150 APT tokens for each action. At the time of launch, the token cost was $8.55.
In 2023, Celestia launched a retrodrop. This project was one of a few dropping their tokens.
Such projects as Arbitrum, Blur and others made hype around their brands using airdrops and retro drops in their GTM. As of this writing, the most anticipated token drops are possible from zkSync and LayerZero.
The platform named Coinlist posts the verified projects launching their airdrops. If you plan to release your own, it’s a good idea to be released on Coinlist.
Despite the popularity of using drops among Web3 projects, you should be careful with this tool. Users like to receive tokens for free or for testing the network, but after the drop, you need to understand what to do with the audience. For example, create a DAO whose members will be holders of your tokens.
DAO as the Next Stage of the Community Development
The abbreviation DAO stands for Decentralized Autonomous Organization, and it's a digital organization run by a set of rules encoded on a blockchain. These rules are enforced by smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with the terms of the agreement directly written into code.
A DAO is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by any single entity but rather by a group of stakeholders who can make decisions about the organization's activities and development. These stakeholders are usually token holders with a specific cryptocurrency associated with the DAO.
The success of DAOs in the crypto community results from innovations in blockchain technology, such as smart contracts, on-chain governance, empowered community members redefining how decisions are made, and new organizational and legal structures without a central authority. But not all DAOs are equal.
According to Vitalik Buterin, there are three types of situations where decentralization is essential:
Decentralization for making better decisions in concave environments, where pluralism and even naive forms of compromise are, on average, likely to outperform the kinds of coherency and focus that come from centralization.
Decentralization for censorship resistance: applications that must continue functioning while resisting attacks from powerful external actors.
Decentralization as credible fairness: applications where DAOs are taking on nation-state-like functions like basic infrastructure provision, and so traits like predictability, robustness and neutrality are valued above efficiency.
All types of DAOs are described in my video. You can watch it to learn more about this instrument of community development:
Metrics and Data Analysis
Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the success of your go-to-market strategies. Use data analysis to continuously refine your marketing approach. Analytics platforms like Etherscan, Messari, CoinGecko, DappRadar, Token Terminal, Dune Analytics, and L2Beat provide real-time and retrospective data, helping to analyze the current state and predict Web3 market trends.
Such platforms and tools help founders, product managers and marketers create data-driven strategic visions and execute tactics. I shared about my favorite data providers in my vlog. So, you can learn more about the tools to use if you need to analyze and interpret information from Web3 sources:
Instead of optimizing for headcount growth or revenue and profitability, founders might be optimizing for protocol usage and the quality of the community. Web3 is a venture, and the main task of such projects is to interest people and form the idea of a new reality. The bottom line is this: focus on creating value for the community first, and the money will come.
Founders must adapt to environments in which no hierarchical power structures exist and where they are one of many actors championing the success of a given project.
The Web3 space is dynamic, and what works today might need adjustments in the future. Always be open to learning, adapting, and embracing the fast-paced nature of the decentralized web.
Good luck with discovering and implementing your ideas in the Web3 space! I'm always ready to help you; just drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org