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How Important is Blockchain to the Future of Marketing?

 

Consumer choice has never been greater. The popularity of online shopping has created a 24/7 global marketplace that is putting exponential pressure on bricks and mortar businesses to adapt or be left behind.

Such competition is driving brands in new directions with their marketing. Businesses who manufacture goods in the Western Hemisphere know that they can’t compete in price with those in the Far East. One area where they do believe they still hold the upper hand, however, is ethics.

Research has continually pointed to the fact that Millennials want to buy products that are ethically sourced; they want to be able to relate to the brand they’re buying into.

Businesses are aware of this, with buzzwords such as “organic”, “cruelty-free” and “ethical” becoming commonplace on product packaging. The problem is that many of these claims aren’t based on verifiable evidence. The oversaturation of these terms has led to a consumer confusion. Who or what are they supposed to believe?

This is where blockchain comes into play. The technology provides a visible chain of command that allows consumers to find out where the product they’re buying is sourced from. It’s comparable to being able to track the whereabouts of a parcel online.

Open transparency will help to give companies a greater sense of authenticity; a trait that 91% of shoppers said they would reward either through custom or recommendation in a recent survey by public relations firm Cohn & Wolfe.

The potential benefits of blockchain marketing to businesses isn’t just restricted to consumer confidence. Ad fraud, such as bots and auto refresh ads, cost the advertising industry some $16 billion per year. With blockchain technology, the journey of an online advertisement to the consumer can be tracked in an online ledger – restricting the ability of fraudulent activity and cutting out the middleman completely.

It can also help in transforming traditional supply chains into something that is based purely on demand. Retailers, for example, will no longer need to base orders off projections or last year’s data.

This drive to a circular and more efficient and transparent economy won’t just benefit businesses and consumers. Workers could also see an upside to their working conditions as human resource managers strive to match the ethical stance of the brands they represent.

Digital marketing expenditure is tipped to cross over $120 billion a year mark by the turn of the next decade. With blockchain, this expenditure will no longer be a case of “ifs” and “buts”. Instead, brands will be able to reach customers and track their responses like never before.

The technology is ready to go and is already being used by well-known corporations such as Walmart and IBM. There is, however, one remaining stumbling block that backers of blockchain technology are yet to overcome - how to explain the technology in a way that the public will be able to understand.

A recent report by the banking giant HSBC suggests that while consumers have heard of blockchain technology, they still don’t understand what it’s, and perhaps more importantly, how it can benefit them.

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