In October we interviewed: Emily from ShapeShift, a cryptocurrency exchange. Emily has been running marketing at ShapeShift for the past three years and was kind enough to sit down to discuss marketing for blockchain projects.
Transcript of Interview with Emily from ShapeShift
Today we have Emily, the Chief Marketing Officer from ShapeShift, a digital asset exchange for assets like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, et cetera, et cetera. ShapeShift is unique because they don’t require you to sign up for account to use them. Emily has been with ShapeShift since December of 2014, and we’re excited to welcome her onto the show.
Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
What’s your opinion on the current state of marketing for blockchain projects? How are projects being marketed to users? That can include marketing in general, as well as this big of ICO or token offerings that we’ve seen in 2017.
When I first started with ShapeShift a few years back, marketing wasn’t prioritized terribly much by a lot of companies. Marketers were being brought in from a development standpoint. You needed to make sure someone really understood that background and a lot of ‘marketing’ was in the form of forum discussions; people getting on Reddit and Bitcointalk to talk out new projects they had.
This market has grown very drastically in the last six months and ‘marketing’ has started to change.
I think that’s been a good start for a lot of these different ICOs and companies in general is to make sure they’re able to talk to their customer base and stay engaged with them.
And as things have started to evolve, especially in the token/ICO market in the last six months, 2017 has really been that boom. I’ve noticed all of a sudden you’re seeing a lot more PR efforts, doing a lot of pitching. Who is a thought leader that we can start making sure the media has access to?
For us it’s nice because people reach out to wanting feedback from our CEO Erik Voorhees pretty regularly. I make sure between Erik and myself one of us is always available so that people are getting the right information.
I turn on the news almost every morning when I wake up and it’s rare to go through the news cycle where Bitcoin or Crypto is not being mentioned.
This PR component is incredibly important for us to position ourselves as an industry as legitimate and we’re starting to become more professional and business-minded versus just being on that very kind of more tech-heavy side of things.
SEO is becoming another thing. Creating more content that is focusing on educating users, not just about our product. How we educate users to understand how Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies work in general has become really important because customers need to understand the basics before they can utilize a lot of crypto or blockchain products.
You mentioned PR being huge, SEO and content coming into play. In your opinion, what are some of the biggest gaps today, in 2017, that are missing from a marketing standpoint for blockchain products?
You dovetailed perfectly into the final question. And you were talking about opportunities from a marketing standpoint.
Reciting a few…
Who do you think will fill those gaps? Do you think it’ll be outsourced firms? Do you think that projects will hire that? They’re gonna want have that in-house internally, it’s that important to them? Do you have any kind of opinion there, whether it’ll be an outsource partner or whether projects will invest in that?
As ShapeShift has grow the growth was so fast there is the issue of scale. Scaling is number one issue that we have to kind of grapple with, and you don’t wanna over-hire and create an entire internal marketing department as we are still very much a startup. We’ve gone both routes. I think that there are so many companies that are starting to understand, “hey listen, if we actually pivot at least some of our resources into learning more about blockchain, we can really have a very lucrative base that can utilize us and outsource to us.”
Cryptoland PR is a really good example of that. Katie Oliver, who’s the owner there, has a lot of background in PR and decided to focus on crypto as an industry. And she’s amazing. I don’t have to hold her hand. I know that she can do that stuff, that can take that entire piece of every campaign we have off my plate. There’s the design firm we used. Same thing. They’re very, very knowledgeable. Their client base is the full gamut of blockchain companies, from people just wanting to do token sales to just general website maintenance and creation and mobile apps things like that.
So, I would say that starting out in the next year or so as everything is really starting to grow, outsourcing is going to be the way to go.
Awesome. Our final question here is asking for one prediction: what way will blockchain projects be marketed in 2018? Is there a big change that you see coming? Or something that you’ve been watching this year that you think is gonna explode next year?
On the content side education is going to be big.
The PR side needs to focus on educating these traditional news outlets to make sure that we’re not waking up to people talking about the dark web or scams.
And I think really instead of just focusing on the community management side, being able to really engage with a lot of different types of strategies to make … The SEO component I think is going to start becoming a bigger part of overall strategy as well for many of the companies.
Emily, thank you for taking the time with us today. I’m sure the listeners will have some comments. We post this on the blog and as well as on SoundCloud.
Thanks so much for having me.