How Blockchain Will Influence Marketing
Updated: Nov 1
A new IJRM initiative explores how Blockchain Technology meets Marketing
What comes to your mind when you hear the term blockchain? People usually think of a financial platform where you trade cryptocurrency. However, blockchain technology is much more than that, and can be used to trade anything you can imagine.
Blockchain, Cryptographic currencies, NFTs, and Bitcoin, are trending concepts these days, with everybody talking about them, but many feel they do not really understand their true meaning. The forthcoming IJRM editorial, by Renana Peres, Martin Schreier, David Schweidel, and Alina Sorescu, followed by 5 notes from top marketing scholars, maps the basic concepts, opportunities, threats, and avenues for future research on Blockchain and Marketing.
I have met with David Schweidel, IJRM Senior Editor, and Anatoli Colicev, the author of the research note on blockchain and branding, to discuss the initiative and to provide a first peek into the exciting world of blockchain.
Blockchain – a way to store data in a secure and distributed way
The editorial defines blockchain as a
“..chain of blocks that contains an ever-growing digital list of data records without the need for a central server (decentralized) and in a way that cannot be altered or changed.
Blockchain is used for the secure logging of transactions that can be related to money, property, information, and authorization rights without requiring a third-party intermediary such as a bank or a government.
People usually think of blockchain as a financial platform where you trade cryptocurrency. However, blockchain technology is much more and can be used to trade anything you can imagine. Blockchain can be used to better monitor marketing communication, distribution channels, and new product development processes. It can be used to quantify brand equity and customer equity and solve many privacy issues.
Why is blockchain interesting for marketing research?
Blockchain can create many research opportunities. The new ways to store data from different sources can enhance the datasets we use as researchers and allow us to revisit basic marketing problems. Also, living in a blockchain-enabled world raises many interesting questions. Do consumers spend more when buying with crypto? As they might feel less attached – it is easier to let go? Will blockchain create an intermediary-free world? How do brand perceptions change when there are also brand NFTs?
The triple action – Editorial & Expert notes, conference, and a special issue
“Our goal in IJRM is to lead innovative research... We wanted to provide the community with the tools to start thinking about blockchain-related topics.” - David Schweidel
The initiative's three main components:
The editorial and 5 expert notes
A conference at Columbia University in December 2022
A special issue at the IJRM whose deadline is June 2023
The editorial is the gate to this initiative. It provides a brief 101 introduction to the basic terminology and list questions for research.
The editorial is accompanied by five research notes, written by leading scholars, which explore applications of blockchain to the following marketing topics: Advertising (Joo et al. 2022), Branding (Colicev 2022), Creative Industries (Malik et al. 2022), Pricing (Zhang 2022), and Privacy (Marthews and Tucker 2022).
The conference will take place on Dec 5-6 2022, at Columbia University (the submission deadline is Sep 15th). This conference, arranged by Reto Hofstetter and Bernd Schmitt, will be our opportunity to discuss research ideas and bring together practitioners and researchers.
The special issue will curate these research efforts, and the deadline for submission is June 30th, 2023.
How can I get started with Crypto and NFT? Before you jump to research, Colicev suggests practicing and using blockchain and developing a better understanding of how it works. Important to know before getting started is that you create a password and a seed (recovery) phrase which you can write down on a physical piece of paper but never save digitally. It cannot be retrieved if you lose it. This will change in the future, as companies will create bank-like organizations to help provide these services.
- Create a crypto “wallet” using one of the many available apps. These wallets can be loaded with physical as well as crypto-currency.
- Go to a website you want to buy something from --> connect your wallet to the website.
- You can now buy the physical or virtual product. Try using it for buying your first NFT.
The big privacy questions
I asked Schweidel whether, in his opinion, blockchain will solve the trust and privacy issues marketers are dealing with. “Privacy exchange will create a better experience – consumers are not told/do not understand what their data is being used for. Blockchain will create more consumer control” he explains. However, he warns, in some respect, privacy issues might become more concerning in a blockchain environment. Blockchain is public information where the individual is not fully anonymous but pseudonymous. You will always be able to find the character of an individual and perhaps even the individual if they ever buy anything physical and gets it sent to an address. This is why we should be even more afraid of the dark web or cybercrime in the use of blockchain and NFTs. If anything, it might be easier to track the individual through the chain.
Meet David and Anatoli
Chair (Full Professor) in Marketing, Strategy, and Analytics
at the University of Liverpool Management School
David A. Schweidel
Rebecca Cheney McGreevy Endowed Chair and Professor of Marketing
This article was written by
Christina Spetzler Gregersen,
PhD candidate at Deakin University, Australia