Web 3.0 is changing the world as we know it.
It’s actually been changing the world for a while now but it’s starting to reach an inflection point of public awareness and mass adoption that makes it impossible to ignore. Web 3.0 is not a passing fad or a set of eclectic technologies that will only be relevant to a small section of society. Rather, it promises to redefine society in the same way the Internet did in the late 90s.
It’s hard to overstate how disruptive Web 3.0 technology is going to be over the next few years. Doug Kessler from Velocity Partners put it succinctly when he wrote:
“That Web 3.0 will be even more disruptive and innovation-fuelling than the internet was. (Yeah, I went there).
That it will change every market and every discipline (including B2B companies and B2B marketing) while inventing whole new—and way more interesting—markets and disciplines."
Fortunately for B2B marketers, we are used to constant change, constantly needing to learn new skills, and constantly re-evaluating strategies and tactics to be successful.
It’s almost as if Web 3.0 was made just for us.
What is Web 3.0?
The term "Web3", specifically "Web 3.0", was first used by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood in 2014. It is an umbrella term for decentralized technologies that use blockchain networks to create trustless and permissionless interactions between consenting parties.
The most famous Web 3.0 technology as of today is Bitcoin.
Web 3.0 refers to a number of different technologies beyond cryptocurrency. It also includes NFTs (nonfungible tokens), smart contracts and tokens, Metaverse platforms, digital wallets, decentralized applications, decentralized autonomous organizations, and other technologies that use decentralized networks.
Why is everyone talking about Web 3.0?
People have actually been talking about Web 3.0 for a while now. In 2021, the rise of NFTs (nonfungible tokens) accelerated the conversation about other Web 3.0 technologies that had utilities beyond currency.
What is an NFT?
NFTs can be associated with reproducible digital files such as photos, videos, and audio. NFTs use a digital ledger to provide a public certificate of authenticity or proof of ownership, but do not restrict the sharing or copying of the underlying digital files. The lack of interchangeability (fungibility) distinguishes NFTs from blockchain cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin.”
High-profile projects like the Crypto Punks, the Bored Ape Yacht Club, and V-Friends have elevated the visibility of NFTs to mainstream audiences because of the incredible prices that people have paid to get one of these NFTs as well as the celebrity participants of these projects.
The NFT market is booming. Dapprader recently released a report that NFTs generated 10.67 billion dollars in trading volume in the third quarter of 2021.
What is the Metaverse?
In addition to NFTs, Facebook recently changed its name to “Meta” which is an attempt by them to get ahead of the curve by positioning themselves as the leader in Metaverse experiences. The Metaverse is the name given to the collection of 3D worlds and virtual reality environments that users can interact with.
Facebook recognizes that virtual reality is a huge emerging space of human interaction and they want to extend their Web 2.0 dominance into the Web 3.0 social space. Other communities like Sandbox and Decentraland are already leading destinations for Metaverse crowds, and virtual land in those communities is selling for many thousands of dollars.
There are other Web 3.0 constructs that may also end up being disruptors in B2B marketing like Dapps (decentralized applications) and DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations).
A Dapp is essentially a computer program (smart contract + front end user interface) that runs on a decentralized network (like Etherium). It’s pretty easy to understand how decentralized software applications could change the way business is done, compete with existing commercial applications or change what data and/or capabilities are available to marketers.
A DAO is defined as an organization represented by rules encoded as a computer program that is transparent, controlled by the organization members, and not influenced by a central government. A DAO's financial transaction record and program rules are maintained on a blockchain. Both Dapps and DAOs are complex topics that are beyond the scope of this article to explain in full. However, at a surface level, they represent additional technologies that B2B marketers must understand in order to know how Web 3.0 is impacting business and B2B marketing.
In short, people are talking about Web 3.0 because of the huge amount of money that is being injected into the space, and because technologies are changing human behavior in profound ways. Many of those changes aren’t even understood yet. In the same way that it was impossible for people in the year 2000 to understand how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube would change the world. Consider the following article that appeared in the Daily Mail in December 2000:
Web 3.0 technology has a long way to go before it matures, but the ball is rolling and the unique functionality and landscape of the Web 3.0 ecosystem will not only persevere but also become the same harbinger of change that the Internet was two decades ago.
What are the potential opportunities for B2B Marketers?
For B2B marketers, the opportunities and challenges are numerous and immediate. For example, understanding the potential value proposition of an NFT today and 3 years from now is critical. By extension, you can begin having conversations today around how to position your own company or your clients where NFTs provide real-world utility and long-term value.
For example, most conference tickets and tickets, in general, will be NFTs in the not too distant future. Using NFT technologies for tickets helps to reduce fraud and ensure transparency of ownership. It also allows tickets to be resold after events on the secondary market thereby conferring long term benefits to new owners and providing additional revenue to the event creators (secondary NFT sales usually result in the original creator of the NFT getting a 5% to 20% cut of all future sales).
A great example of some of these kinds of utilities and road maps is the Veefriends project from Gary Vaynerchuk. The floor price for Gary’s Veefriends NFTs at the time this article was written was around 38K. Ownership of a Veefriend NFT grants a number of real-world utilities including exclusive admission to VeeCon:
Owning an NFT gives you three years of access to this conference. Additionally and perhaps just as importantly, it creates additional value around the conference and the project due to the exclusive nature of the membership. It’s important for B2B marketers to understand the roadmaps for high-profile projects like Veefriends so they can start to understand how they might be able to creatively position themselves and their clients to map to similar best practices and emerging trends for their own projects.
In addition to NFT strategies, B2B marketers must understand where Web 3.0 audiences are migrating to. Twitter is an existing Web 2.0 platform that currently hosts a lot of Web 3.0 discussions, especially in Twitter spaces, as does the Clubhouse app and Discord.
As a matter of fact, Collab.land allows users to authenticate into hidden Discord channels based on owning an NFT, which opens up new possibilities for NFT utility but also for using NFTs to create effective direct communication with audiences that have already “opted in” based on their NFT ownership. Leveraging Web 3.0 to create more conversations with customers is an important aspect of the value proposition of Web 3.0.
One of the biggest changes coming from Web 3.0 is from immersive Metaverse experiences where users will be interacting with virtual and augmented reality platforms. As this shift in user behavior accelerates, understanding advertising and marketing opportunities in popular and niche Metaverse platforms will be critical to keeping pace with competitors.
That acceleration is already happening. For example, Meta announced in November 2021 that they had shipped over 10 million Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets and that number is expected to rise substantially. It is only a matter of time before owning a VR headset is the equivalent of owning a cell phone.
Consider for a moment the current price of land in Decentraland and Sandbox. According to Fortune.com, as of December 2021, “The minimum price for land in Decentraland, as of Wednesday, was about 3.087 Ether, or the equivalent of $13,675, according to OpenSea. It seems absurd until you think about the long-term advertising potential of that real estate. I have no doubt if we revisit these prices a year from now, they will look like bargains based on the current market prices.
All of this underscores the real challenges that B2B marketers face with Web 3.0. Understanding how customer behaviors are going to change and what technologies/solutions are available to market to those people in the Web 3.0 ecosystem.
Why are we (BusinessOnline) interested in Web 3.0?
BusinessOnline recognizes that Web 3.0 has the power to change customer behavior and cause severe disruption to a large number of industries. We also recognize that this new paradigm shift will create unprecedented opportunities for those who are at the forefront of that change. As a leading B2B marketing agency, we have an obligation on behalf of our clients to be knowledgeable and capable of deploying effective strategies that give our clients a competitive advantage as they navigate this new world.
Specifically, some of the most important questions for B2B marketers that we are asking ourselves and exploring answers to are:
- Where are people going to be spending their time and attention as Web 3.0 adoption continues to accelerate?
- How will people be interacting with each other and what expectations will they have for those interactions in these new spaces?
- How will those new expectations color existing strategies in the Web 2.0 landscape?
- What best practices will be useful in leveraging Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 in a synergistic way that produces better outcomes for businesses and their customers?
- What tools, technologies, and solutions will businesses need and/or want to help them be more effective in their go-to-market strategies around Web 3.0 technologies?
- What effect will NFTs, DAOs, Dapps, and other Web 3.0 technology have on B2B marketing best practices?
- What new advertising and marketing opportunities will be available to B2B marketers as adoption increases?
- How will these new opportunities be tracked and integrated into existing CRM platforms?
- What utility will these new opportunities provide to Account-Based Marketing programs?
These are just some of the questions that are top of mind as we explore Web 3.0 and what it means for B2B marketing. The exciting part is that Web 3.0 is still in its infancy and the amount of change and evolution that is likely to occur over the next three years is nothing short of revolutionary.
It's time for B2B Marketers to think about leveraging the Web 3.0 revolution.
The wave of change that Web 3.0 is going to usher in is already on top of us. If you follow the money and look at the sheer investment that is pouring into the space, you can easily see that a lot of folks are very invested in ensuring that Web 3.0 lives up to its value propositions.
Now is the time for B2B marketers to get ahead of the curve and start to become familiar with this new landscape as well as the events, technologies, and projects that are shaping the space and creating new opportunities for growth and customer engagement.