Marketing, Martech

Why You Need to Understand Blockchain

It is the dog days of summer; the proverbial lull before the storm. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking toward next year as you work on a marketing plan and a budget. But are you setting aside the time to think about the bigger issues happening in our industry and in marketing? They will soon have a big impact on what you do and deserve your attention.

A year ago I had never heard of blockchain. It was at a meeting of thought leaders at ENGAGE when it came up, and I realized that I needed to educate myself. My knowledge on the topic has grown after attending meetings where it has been a topic of conversation and reading articles on the topic.

And then I saw the commercial on national television where IBM is advertising blockchain. That led to a discussion at a recent family gathering. (Okay, in full disclosure, blockchain is hot in the mind of my husband, a chief technologist with a software company, and my son-in-law, a partner in a Real Estate Investment Trust, so I wasn’t boring people.) Blockchain is everywhere and people are talking about it. Things are moving quickly, and we all need to get onboard.

What is Blockchain?

IBM claims that “blockchain can do for business what the internet did for communication.” They even offer a Blockchain for Dummies book on their website, as well as an infographic on the topic.

If you regularly read accounting industry publications, you’ve seen how firms are accepting bitcoin, using blockchain in the audit process and even developing service offerings surrounding and using blockchain. It’s a natural fit for accounting since blockchain is about protecting transactions and limiting the opportunity for fraud.

But what does this mean for you as a marketer? You are probably even asking yourself, “Why should I care?” Simply do an online search for blockchain and marketing, and you will be amazed at the number of articles that come up.

Blockchain is Impacting Marketing

In October, AdAge wrote an article on the Twenty-Seven Ways Marketers Can Use Blockchain. They too reference the similarity to when the internet was in its infancy. It is not just about the technology, but the applications that will be created as a result of it.

These new applications will create new solutions to the challenges marketers face. Here are just a few ideas shared:

  1. Verify ad delivery, confirming the real person saw the ad for the contractually bound duration
  2. Give consumers insight into how the marketer is using the data in the aggregate
  3. Validate email delivery and track the exchange of messages between marketers and their target audiences

In the AMA article, What Marketers Need to Know About Blockchain, it says that more than half of larger companies are considering using blockchain and two-thirds of them will have it fully integrated this year. Surprised? You shouldn’t be since it can help so many businesses improve. The article goes on to highlight that marketers need to learn about it now so we don’t get left behind later, and it points to a past marketing error as an example:

“In the 1990s, marketers made a mistake by ignoring the internet until it became omnipresent. Then they spent years playing catch-up. Blockchain is too important to allow this to happen again.”

When blockchain could soon be how we buy ads, track exchanges with prospects and even build trust, we need to first educate ourselves on what this is and then figure out how to use it.

Be Ready for the Change

The information we will soon have access to because of blockchain will be powerful and will give us tools to reach our markets more reliably. It’s a lot more than financial transactions and fraud. It behooves us to learn about these technologies and understand how we can apply them to what we do. If you don’t make the time to learn about it, and take time to think about its implications to what you do, you are selling yourself short when you could be positioning yourself as a valuable asset to your firm.

As you think about the coming year, think about what you need to learn to grow as a professional and recognize that blockchain needs to be high on that list. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a storm without a clue.

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About Lauren Clemmer

Lauren Clemmer is the Executive Director for the Association for Accounting Marketing. Prior to becoming the director, Lauren was an active member, participating in the Membership Satisfaction committee and then as co-chair of Virtual Education which includes AAM High Webinars and Virtual Campfires. In her role as executive director, Lauren works with the with the board president, the executive committee and the board of directors to drive AAM’s vision and strategic plan. Her responsibilities include the general administration of all AAM business, managing vendor and partner relationships, enhancing member engagement and loyalty, and serving as the voice of membership. Lauren gives back to her community as a member of the Women’s Board for the Boy and Girls Clubs of Cleveland.

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