Web3 CMO Stories

Web3 Marketing and the Power of Community with Amanda Cassatt | S3 E34

January 16, 2024 Joeri Billast & Amanda Cassatt Season 3
Web3 CMO Stories
Web3 Marketing and the Power of Community with Amanda Cassatt | S3 E34
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Embark on a revolutionary exploration of the internet's transformation with Amanda Cassatt, founder of Serotonin and trailblazer in Web3 marketing. Our latest episode promises to equip you with a comprehensive understanding of how the digital landscape has evolved from its decentralized beginnings in Web1 to the immersive metaverse of Web3. You'll discover how these radical changes are reshaping the way we think about marketing, moving away from numbers to nurturing authentic relationships within online communities.

As we venture into the nitty-gritty of Web3 marketing, Amanda highlights the paramount importance of transparency and active stakeholder engagement. Marketing isn't just about broadcasting to an audience anymore—it's about participating with them. Get valuable insights into crafting community-driven initiatives and learning to measure success through the health and vibrancy of these groups, rather than mere statistics. Furthermore, we touch on the inventive strategies necessary when traditional advertising avenues are less accessible for crypto-related content.

Wrapping up this enlightening conversation, we delve into the ways traditional businesses can make their foray into Web3 without losing their core values. We'll discuss the role of blockchain in fostering a sense of community and recording history, and how to maintain authenticity in the wave of new technological trends. Amanda also shares her anticipation for her upcoming book "Web3 Marketing," poised to be an essential resource for navigating this uncharted territory. Join us for this thought-provoking episode that cuts through the complexities of Web3, providing clarity and direction for the future of digital engagement.

This episode was recorded through a Podcastle call on December 21, 2023. Read the blog article and show notes here: https://webdrie.net/web3-marketing-and-the-power-of-community-with-amanda-cassatt


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Amanda:

I have a very loose definition of metaverse. I think people are in the metaverse anytime their attention is focused on a digital space. So that means you and I are in the metaverse right now. It means you're on the metaverse when you look at your phone, and the amount of time that people are spending in the metaverse by that definition has seen absolute hockey stick growth over the last decade, its main competitor being sleep.

Joeri:

Hello everyone and welcome to the Web3 CMO Stories Podcast. My name is Joeri Billast and I'm your podcast host, and today I'm really excited to be joined again by Amanda, Amanda Cassatt. How are you, Amanda?

Amanda:

Doing well. Great to see you again.

Joeri:

Yeah, guys, I met Amanda one year ago at the WebS mmit, talking about Web3, of course, and in the meantime, a lot of things have happened and she has also written a book about Web3 marketing. But if you don't know, Amanda, Amanda Cassatt I hope I pronounced your name the right way still is the founder of Serotonin, and Amanda previously served as a CMO at ConsenSys from 2016 through 2019. Joining one year later after the launch of Ethereum, Amanda played a crucial role in defining, creating and growing the narrative for ConsenSys, Ethereum, and Blockchain. Overall, Amanda's joined the ConsenSys brand through its global expansion across enterprises, governments, developers, and consumers. She created and scaled the marketing team to over 50 people, serving both Consensys brand and 50 plus portfolio companies such as MetaMask, Infura, Trafalgar bitcoin, managing teams in productive marketing, growth, design, content, community events, email analytics and SEO. Amanda's contributions to some most successful product launches, token sales and fund raises landed her on the Forbes 30 under 30 in 2016. Again, congratulations for that. And Amanda is also, like I said, the author of a new book with the title Web3 Marketing a handbook for the new internet revolution. I'm always impressed when I can read bios like that, Amanda, but we will talk about your book. So it starts with the evolution of Web1 and Web2. Could you share with our listeners what key learnings from these eras you believe are critical for understanding Web3 potential?

Amanda:

Yeah, absolutely so. In the early chapters of the book I focus on the history of crypto, and actually that story starts with Web1 and the origins of the internet. The creators of the web actually intended for there to be digital native payments. They just didn't actually get around to building that layer, and so once people started coming onto the web the internet there needed to be these Web2-style business models with these separate mobilization layers in order to create value. Then Web3 is a restoration of that original intent to have a decentralized, web-native value layer. What we can learn from that is that Web3 is, in a way, a return to the original values of the creators of the web that intended for it to be as free and open and decentralized as possible, rather than a completely new philosophy about how digital spaces should work. And so it's almost a come full circle. We've succeeded in connecting so many humans online. We democratized access to information and knowledge, but we brought billions of people onto these platforms in Web2. And then, once that mass was there, we retroactively added this native value layer that can actually connect to digital objects. I think that story is really interesting for people to know that are coming into the space.

Joeri:

Yeah, that's always a question I get when I want to be five Web3. I compare it with Web1, Web2, and explain a bit how it all has evolved. A lot of people, when you mention Web3, they think about crypto, they think about Bitcoin and Ethereum. So, in your view, how have these technologies Bitcoin and Ethereum? How have they paved the way for Web3 marketing strategies?

Amanda:

Sure. So I spend a lot of time in the book actually defining what these things are and how they came about, because I think to be a really high quality Web3 marketer especially when you're marketing to the Web3 community it's essential to understand that audience, to understand its values and the historical circumstances that created it. And so Bitcoin was the first mega popular decentralized money system, and it meant that anyone anywhere could, in a censorship resistant, permissionless way, securely send value around a blockchain. As that technology came into being. There'd been lots of attempts at this before, but none of them reached the scale that Bitcoin did. Then there were all kinds of experiments after Bitcoin started to become popular to try to do more with it, specifically to try to make it programmable. Now there's web native currency, there's web native money, but how do you actually make sophisticated financial products or software applications with that substrate? People that were experimenting with that building things like colored coins found it difficult. It was like getting Bitcoin to walk on its hind legs. And so came out with the Ethereum white paper and had the idea of a programmable blockchain that wouldn't only offer a decentralized here censorship resistant, permissionless online value system, but also make that value programmable so you could build any kind of application. And my argument is that Ethereum and Ethereum-like blockchains that now exist today are the substrate for building a complex new financial system. That, because of that ability to create applications, means we can mimic a lot of the cool products of the traditional financial system things like borrowing and lending but also create new primitives that are only possible because of Web3, because that money is digital.

Joeri:

Yeah, I love the way when you explain it and also in the book it's really explained more the whole story behind it to make people really understand how this evolution has been possible. I also love the fact that you include also the metaverse in your book, because I have been doing that organizing events in the metaverse Since I've done a few of them and so you talk about that in your chapter four, I think. So what do you think, or what should marketers actually know about the Metaverse's role? And then think about consumer engagement, for instance.

Amanda:

So I have a very loose definition of metaverse. I think people are in the metaverse anytime their attention is focused on a digital space. So that means you and I are in the metaverse right now. It means you're on the metaverse when you look at your phone, and the amount of time that people are spending in the metaverse by that definition has seen absolute hockey stick growth over the last decade. It's main competitor being sleep and we're getting those papers, ending almost all of our time in these spaces. That's a different concept than looking at these specific Web3 enabled metaverse worlds or looking at a metaverse world created by meta. You can think of some of those like cities. They're as opposed to games. They're developing over time. Things like Decentraland are gradually people are buying property, people are developing them, people are building utilities, roads, et cetera, and so those kinds of things are coming along and there's an opportunity to create activations that reach the communities that participate there. One thing we did, for example, in 2021, 2022, when we started working with Sotheby's we created a replica of the Sotheby's Auction House in Decentraland where you could actually bid on our auctions using ETH and on NFT auctions that we were powering that Serotonin and Mojito and we actually had more people attending an auction in Decentraland than at the Sotheby's IRL Auction House, because it can only fit so many people. So we've had a lot of really gorgeous marketing moments with some of our partners and some of the Web3-nated Metaverse worlds. Then there's the kind of modern concept of what people have built since then. I think, ultimately, it's going to be the gaming companies that have this depth of experience building these sensory-rich worlds that end up bringing a lot of people into what most people define as the Metaverse, which is this much more immersive vision of how we spend our time, focused on digital spaces, and that thing is really emerging. I think it's going to feature flourishing economies that are based on eventually Web3 Rails that enable assets in those worlds to be portable, interoperably between them.

Joeri:

Yeah, I think so many evolution that will still happen. But what's important also, when I talk about the Metaverse to clients or partners or people, they need to understand why they should be there with their business or as an entrepreneur or they should. It's important to know your product and your audience and how, what they really need, and you mentioned this also in chapter six. How is it different? Understanding your customer, understanding your product? How is it different in Web3, comparing to the traditional marketing spaces?

Amanda:

So I think the marketing protocol is actually always the same and it's been the same before there was a Web. It's figure out what you're selling, what you're marketing, really understand what that product is, down to the electron level. If you can Understand who your audience is, understand what they're paying attention to and what kinds of messages resonate with them, and then get your message in front of them using those channels, then you set up a funnel and measure how that audience converts from the panel where they first discover your product, to engaging with it, beginning to use it, to continuing to use it and referring others to the top of that funnel and setting up metrics at all of the catalysts following that funnel to make sure it's working and to be able to identify spots where it's broken and fix them. That's the marketing protocol and it's the same no matter what you're doing. What's interesting with Web3 is if you are marketing to the Web3 community, and I recommend that anyone who has a product workflow that involves doing something in Web3 should market to the Web3 community, unless they already have an existing audience and can draw people for the first time in the industry. If you have the audience, that means they're going to demand more transparency from your project. They're not going to be arms length consumers of your project. They're going to want to actually participate in decision making and interact with your team, and they're going to be owners right, they're going to have skin in the game. Web3 is ultimately a substrate for building incentive-aligned communities, and that enables brands or companies to have a way more engaged audience than they would otherwise, but they don't have the privilege of getting to operate in the dark. So what I would recommend is bringing those communities in, making them part of the process, including them and making sure that you're strengthening their alignment with you and their position through what you create and communicating really fluidly with them. The other thing that means for marketing is you, as the marketer, don't have to come up with all the good ideas yourself. You can think of Web3 marketing as facilitating, as observing what a community does by itself and facilitating those things growing. So, for example, in the early Ethereum community, we noticed there were a lot of NETA organizers springing up in cities all over the world to organize their own Ethereum meetups. If we'd thought that we had to organize every single Ethereum meetup. We would have had a huge centralized marketing team. It would have been exhausting, it would have been expensive, but instead we organized the organizers. We noticed that there was this meetup culture. We argued those organizers with decks and presentations that had the right branding and language. We set up a roving set of presentations of new dApps that would go to all the different meetups to get feedback, to pick up users, so they had content. We would just offer funding for beer and pizza or the culturally relevant equivalent, depending where it was. And so, instead of thinking we had to come up with all the ideas for how we would go to market, instead of thinking we have to execute everything ourselves, we'd serve what our community was doing. We looked for the sparks and we had blue oxygen on them and facilitate it. A movement into being.

Joeri:

Yeah, community, it's really every talk of every talk I do, of conversation I have, is always there, certainly in Web 3, it makes a lot of the difference. But also questions I get is how to measure that. What are the metrics that we need to use in Web 3? Are they different from Web 2? What are your thoughts on that?

Amanda:

Yeah. So the novelty here is that usually consumers of a product whether it's a big brand or whether it's something small like my book, whether it's people that buy art from a certain artist usually they just have a one-to-one relationship with the seller, but they don't have a relationship with the other fans or the other buyers. They aren't looped together into a shared channel or have any shared spaces or have any connection to those people or village. Identify those people. That's what's different Ways to measure how well that's going. Obviously, the size, how many people are in your community, whether that's a token-gated telegram, whether it's a Discord, wherever you're gathering people. The number matters, of course, but I think quality matters more and I think that's what gets missed a lot. Some projects that are eager to beef up their numbers to look better to investors will bring people into their community through very surface-level rewards without actually getting those people to use their products, or they'll purchase bots and fake users, and most savvy investors can identify if that's the case by looking at the actual quality of the participant and you can tell about Fred. What are they talking about? Are they moonboys? Are they on your that's what we call them serotonin? Are they just on your channel. Is that a one-to-one token or are they genuinely interested in using your product and having discussions about the subject matter that you're addressing and connecting with each other so you can really look qualitatively at those users? It's way healthier to start building your community with a thousand people that really love what you do rather than 10,000 bots, and part of the reason for that is that a new high-quality community member that comes into your channels and sees that it's bots or sees that it's moonboys, is going to be put off. So you're actually harming yourself by doing that, because you're going to put off the kinds of users and community members that you actually want.

Joeri:

Yeah, about community, we can say too many things. Indeed, it's better to have a smaller community where there is real engagement, where there is value added, and not just like these discussions or just people talking about basic stuff. No, you really want questions, a value-adding conversations going on. And then, of course, it's like what do we do with those people that are not engaging, that are just there and it's yeah. So it's an interesting discussion, quality comparing to quantity. But community also makes sure that you create awareness that you mentioned in your book about the marketing for all, the discovery. I would say the discovery part of the funnel is really important, of course, and maybe you can share some insights about how this is different in Web3.

Amanda:

Sure. So when we started working on marketing for Ethereum, when we started trying to hire, I felt like the marketing skillset had become really calcified. Most people that came from marketing backgrounds had basically learned how to optimize paid campaign budgets on platforms like the various meta-business suites, twitter, etc. And at the time, those platforms had all banned crypto language, so you literally couldn't do a paid ad that had Ethereum or Bitcoin or even the word crypto or blockchain in it. And so we had to get back to the roots, the real growth hacker roots of the marketing discipline, and just think from first principles okay, these are our goals at the time. It was attract a community of developers. Where are they, what do they care about, what kinds of messages resonate with them, rather than this kind of calcified mindset of, okay, we're going to deploy some marketing budget on these channels. Also, the idea of measuring ROI, of teaching a developer about Ethereum, to consensus, to subtle, right. But what we had do is figure out what developers what do they care about. Meetup groups, hackathons, certain conferences, certain publications, certain podcasts those were the answers for us, and so we had to move outside of those marketing channels that had become traditional and web to and get back to some of the basics, like IRL events, which are so incredibly impactful on our space, like some of the long form developer tutorials and longer form written content. Twitter, an organic Twitter has been a really amazing platform for discovery. And what's so important in Web 3 is triangulation. There's so much information about each of these projects. Most people aren't going to read the full white paper. Most people aren't going to learn everything about a project before engaging with it, so it's important that they see other people they already trust that are doing that. First, principles to diligence expressing their support, expressing their trust isn't the right word, but they're and so those kinds of triangulations and how trust moves around a group of people credibly is something that we thought about a lot, and so one thing that we recommend that projects do we call this organic influencer marketing or endogenous influencer marketing? Every project has aligned parties, whether those are investors, whether those are friends, whether they're business partners, whether they're team members who have some kind of following on a channel that the target audience pays attention to, and so organizing those people into a channel, talking to those people, making sure those people are sharing and cross-samplifying messages about the project, of course, with those messages being designed to be mimetic and to resonate with the target audience. That's really important, and every project that doesn't do that is leaving money on the table because it's free. It's just about being more focused and creating this repeatedly leverageable, efficient group that's able to help you get your messages out without paying some kind of paid shill that wouldn't even naturally be a user or project to talk about it.

Joeri:

Yeah, so this cover is really important and I explained that. But also the other part keeping people engaged, keeping people looking at the long-term success of your Web 3 project, because we have seen all these hypes, this project based on hype, and then the community is dead, all these communities, Web 3 communities that by nothing happens anymore. There are so many. What are some innovative ways and I know you discussed that in Chapter 12 of your book but how to keep users engaged over the long-term in Web 3?

Amanda:

I think staying moving is really important Constantly shipping, constantly having something new, whether it's a new game, whether it's a new rewards program. I think rewards are going to get more and more sophisticated and also easy to use, and projects are going to continuously launch new kinds of programs that are narrative and fun to use or that secretly, in the background, are enabling you to do staking or are enabling you to chat. So staying moving is really important. To stay engaged. And then content creating discussions, having people that are passionate about your subject matter, even if you don't have a product launched, even if your product isn't ready yet, but you want to gather a community around it that's going to be excited about it. On launch deck, you figure out what are your values, okay. What does our project care about? Is it privacy? Is it security? What's our novel take on that subject matter? And let's create content around that subject matter beacon for people that care about that, with Sugary to come into channels and discuss it and share their own views. So content is a great way to stay engaged with everyone.

Joeri:

Yeah, also, I love creating content, like we do now with the podcast, but also being educating people, discussing with people, adding value, because a lot of people are still in Web 2, if they don't realize that they are in Web 2, they are in Web 2. And you mentioned the concept I think you even defined that the concept of Web 2.5. Can you explain a bit more how you see Web 2.5 and its significance for marketers?

Amanda:

Yeah, so Citretown and I actually coined that term years ago and most companies that we think of as web three companies are actually a web 2.5 company. So there's a sliding scale. There's a really web 2.5 or web 2 company that doesn't have any sort of crypto or any sort of web 3. Nothing is built on decentralized rails. And then you have a theoretical, completely web 3 project. Maybe it doesn't even have an entity, maybe it's completely governed by a DAO, maybe it doesn't even have a front end, and that's something that would be completely web 3. That would have no theoretically no centralized components. So it's actually pretty difficult to achieve that. But there's everything in between on a sliding scale. So Coinbase is really a web 2.5 company in a way, or maybe a web 2.75 company. It's really a gradient. We've taken companies like SutterBee, paypal and helped us share them into the web 2.5. They'll still have their web 2 business model. They don't have to change the core business model of how they work, but they can start experimenting and putting out feelers into web 3, creating community, creating the data that comes with building on chain and developing that history on chain interactions, which is great for being able to retarget those users. You want to develop that history as soon as possible as businesses gradually move more and more on chain. So we don't believe that every company needs to jarringly move their entire business model to a completely decentralized web 3 model. Decentralization is a design solution to a specific set of problems. You want to have an asset that's built on a decentralized layer 1, layer 2 foundation, if you think, depending on who you think is going to try to take it away from you, depending on who you think is going to try to censor it or hack it or manipulate it. And so we apply decentralization as a design solution where we think there's actually a product market fit there.

Joeri:

Yeah, I think that's really important. You say product market fit and not just doing Web 3 for the sake of Web 3, but seeing how can it help. And I really like the concept of 2.5. And we also need to see this as something positive and not all. We are not there yet because there will be a time to go really to division of Web 3.

Amanda:

But the flip side of that is that a lot of this market is so cyclic and every couple of years people think we're geniuses and every couple of years people think we're idiots. And in the moments where it's a bull cycle and everyone gets into web 3 and excited about it, in those moments all kinds of different projects call themselves web 3 or even call themselves web 2.5. And one thing we're so careful about in our practice at Serotonin is we don't consider it a real web 3 onboarding If you aren't offering your users at least a path to choose self-solver and root ownership of their assets. It's simply not. And so we're pretty rigorous in making sure that the projects we build in web 3, we're even web 2.5 companies that have a web 3 component that's real web 3, as opposed to just using that term for hype.

Joeri:

Yeah, is there something to end this podcast episode with that you are, at this moment, the most excited about, Amanda? It is in your business or your evolution that you see on the market.

Amanda:

Yeah. So two big things are happening for us at Serotonin that I think are really reflective of the moment that we're in. We recently started working with PayPal and Robinhood and a little bit of Alpha. We're talking to a number of the leading, or what we think will be the leading, etf providers. I think in this next crypto market cycle, we're going to see a lot of the web to financial institutions and fintech players entering the space. We're already seeing this with the ETF applications and with entities like PayPal issuing their own stablecoins. I think that trend is really impactful and I'm excited about it. Just imagine all of the financial managers emailing their clients to sell ETFs about the merits of Bitcoin or Ethereum or baskets of various DeFi assets. That's going to be a really impactful force in the space that, I think, is going to promote a lot of growth. Another thing we've been seeing is a lot of volume coming from Asia and the APEC region in general. We're actually opening a Serotonin office in Hong Kong. We are developing networks in some of the developer heavy cities of Asia, like Bangkok, kuala Lumpur, ho Chi Minh City, jakarta, manila and a whole number of cities in India, in order to help grow developer communities there. Basically, we're helping a lot of Eastern-originated projects access a global market in an English first way, and also helping Western-originated projects get into those various markets, each of which is so incredibly different. We're finding that there's a more accessible activation threshold for users to try out new technologies and new projects. We're finding thriving developer communities and a lot of government support for crypto and blockchain there. We think that region is going to really help drive the next bullsite home.

Joeri:

I feel that too. Actually, I spoke a few days ago on a conference. It was an online summit, but with Asians for the Asian time zones. I was moderated the panel. Actually, it was really interesting to see how things are evolving there, comparing to other parts of the world. Now, Amanda, we are the end of this podcast episode. If people they want to buy your book or they want to be in touch with you, where would you like to send them?

Amanda:

You can buy the book Web3 Marketing on Amazon or wherever books are sold in your country. It's actually coming out next year in Mandarin, where you will do a little Chinese book tour around it. It's going to be in some more different languages soon. It's serotonin. Check out serotoninco. I'm on Twitter or X @amandac assatt, 2 S's, 2 T's or amanda. e th.

Joeri:

Great. Thank you, Amanda. Thank you again for being on the show.

Amanda:

Thanks for having me. Great to see you again.

Joeri:

Guys, really insightful talk conversation with Amanda today about her book, our book, the Rigs. To Buy this Book will be in the show notes. There will be a blog article like always, really insightful. So I can really encourage you to buy her book and if you are not yet subscribed to our podcast, this is also a really good moment to do this. Also, be sure to share this podcast episode with people around you that can benefit from it. And, yeah, I would love to see you back next time, take care, bye.

What key lessons from the evolution of Web1 and Web2 do you consider crucial for grasping the potential of Web3?
How have Bitcoin and Ethereum influenced Web3 marketing strategies in your opinion?
What do marketers need to understand about the Metaverse's role, particularly in terms of consumer engagement?
How does the process of understanding your customer and product differ in Web3 compared to traditional marketing spaces?
In the realm of community in Web3, it's a recurring theme. How do we measure it, and what metrics should be employed? Are these metrics distinct from those in Web2?
How does community impact the discovery phase of the marketing funnel in Web3, and what insights can you share?
How, as outlined in Chapter 12 of your book, can users be effectively engaged over the long term in innovative ways within the Web3 context?
What's your perspective on Web2.5 and its relevance for marketers?
What's currently the most exciting development for you—whether in your business or within the evolving market landscape?