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Episode 55

Web3 for Marketers: Navigating the Future of Decentralized Technology

Justin Vogel
Co-founder of Safary

Justin and Tessa start by defining Web3 and explaining the difference between Web2 and Web3. They then delve into how marketers can use Web3 to connect with more customers and create new experiences for them. You’ll also hear tips for getting started with Web3. This includes how to use low-visibility experiences to test the technology.

“The way that we think about Web3 today is it’s the use of digital assets to create new experiences either for B2B customers or for B2C customers.”

Justin Vogel

Justin and Tessa also cover topics such as marketing attribution for Web3, the data that can be gathered with this technology, and the importance of privacy in the decentralized world. They end with insights into untapped opportunities for marketers and brands. Plus, offer recommendations for where to learn more about Web3.

Overall, this episode is a must-listen for marketers looking to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly evolving world of decentralized technology.

Watch the Live Recording

Full Episode Transcripts

Tessa Burg: Hello and welcome to another episode of “Leader Generation,” brought to you by Mod Op. I’m your host Tessa Burg, and today I have Justin Vogel with me. He is the founder of Safary.Club and we are going to explore the very fast-paced and ever-expanding world of marketing and analytics and Web3. Justin, thank you so much for joining us today.

Justin Vogel: Thanks, it’s great to be here.

Tessa Burg: So, to start, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background and what brought about Safary.Club?

Justin Vogel: Definitely. So, my background is I graduated from college with a degree in Middle Eastern studies, which was where I really became fascinated with communities and different cultures and people and community marketing has a lot to do with what we see in Web3 today, but we’ll get to that in the moment.

Justin Vogel: My background, when I graduated from college, I joined a small Y Combinator startup as their first hire and was tasked with building them a technical hiring marketplace. So that’s when I learned about all things B2B, B2C, and matching the two sides together and making sure that our marketplace was balanced.

Justin Vogel: And then I went on to join a fast-growing labor marketplace startup called Wonolo. You can think about it as Uber for warehouse workers. We were serving lots of big brands, helping them with their on-demand staffing needs. And I was doing all things programmatic advertising, leading that strategy and also built out the company’s first incentive experimentation platform.

Justin Vogel: In all those different experiences, when I took the leap to become a founder, I was looking at Web3, and this was at the height of the bull market, so November, 2021, when I dove into the space. And I was looking at it from a growth perspective, being very curious, how are these companies growing? And they’re growing at a really unprecedented rate compared to anything that I’d seen in Web2 at that point in time. For example, seeing companies like ApeCoin growing their revenue to 4 billion in two months of launch, seeing other companies grow their Twitter accounts from zero to 200,000 within weeks and months of launch. And really, crazy, astounding both revenue and social growth.

Justin Vogel: And so I was trying to figure out how are these companies growing and why. And this naturally led us to form a community of Web3 growth leaders like myself. So, this was both early stage Web3 founders, and people who are heads or VPs of growth at major Web3 companies and Web2.5 companies around the world. Which earned us a lot of conviction on what the future of growth would look like and what tools we needed to build in order to solve the many problems facing Web3 companies today.

Tessa Burg: So, I think a lot of our listeners might be hearing about Web3, especially in the business space, for the first time. I know people have heard of Crypto and NFTs and a lot of the different types of communities, but you are helping businesses build and expand and grow on Web3. Can we start with a couple definitions, like what exactly is Web3 compared to Web2?

Justin Vogel: Yeah, the way that I think about Web3 for a lot of the listeners, is Web3 is for one, a convenient rebrand of crypto and for two, it is the use of digital assets, whether that means the crypto that we were talking about before, cryptocurrencies that are probably quite familiar to you, like Bitcoin or Ethereum. But it’s also the use of new types of digital assets that have become more popular in recent years, like NFTs and other forms of token and token-gated experiences. So, I would say the way that we think about Web3 today is the use of digital assets to create new experiences either for B2B customers or for B2C customers.

Tessa Burg: I love that definition, it makes it very accessible, because we can all relate to experiences, and digital experiences have been expanding for, I mean, since the dawn of the internet. So, if we think about existing companies, a lot of clients like ours in B2B and B2C, have had success in marketing and inquiry and growing using Web 2.0 tools, is there an opportunity for them to start exploring or using Web3 as another way to connect with more of their customers?

Justin Vogel: There absolutely is. I think that you described it super well there, which is it’s just a new technology to create new experiences and a lot of the experiences that have been created today are starting to go stale, which is why a lot of companies across the world are struggling. And so, I see Web3 as an opportunity for people to create new experiences for their customers and this is just one tool in your toolkit in order to do so.

Tessa Burg: So, it is a wide open playing field though, like when we think about, let’s say, tomorrow I wanted to start using Web3 as a tool to connect to more brands that Mod Op could engage. How would I begin with what is the right experience?

Justin Vogel: Yeah, I think it really depends on your company. So, let’s take for example, a B2C company. I think that it is about, there are probably natural points in your funnel whether you’re a company that does collectibles of some kind or you have badging or you have some of these other native experiences that you’ve seen before and it’s about playing with it and being a little bit more experimental with your brands.

Justin Vogel: I think that when I look at Web2 brands entering the space, I think Nike.SWOOSH did a great activation around Web3 and also some of that includes, abstracting some of the Web3 elements away for end users. So, for example, instead of talking about NFTs, Nike uses the word digital collectibles to make it a lot more accessible to their audience while also providing something, a new experience for them.

Justin Vogel: And so, I think fit while the terms NFT and tokens and cryptocurrencies might feel scary to a lot of big brands today, thinking about how does this fit into our brand identity. I think that there are other new terms that can be used as well, like digital collectibles that are more easily understood, but at the same time new and novel for Web2 brands to experiment with in terms of incorporating NFTs and digital assets into their experience.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, and I could see a lot of brands, especially based on all the negative press that NFTs and crypto gets, almost wanting to stay away from it. But I love the point you brought up and it’s really simple way to get started, which is just get in and start observing what others are doing and think about your customer. And that is very similar to how we would test any new technology and it may just be the bad press that’s stopping people or the not knowing. So first start with the knowing and now we have this freedom to call it something that is meaningful to our audience just like we have done with Web 2.0 tools. I love that answer because I think it makes it easier for people like just give it a try and then just like good marketing, start with what your customer wants and needs and where they’re at.

Justin Vogel: Yeah. And if we think about marketing in general, marketers have to be early adopters, and so we’re sort of like one phase is ending and a new phase is beginning. And that can often be of course, scary for a lot of marketers, to think what does this new experience of this world of crypto mean for our brand? But it is also an opportunity to experiment as we’ve been talking about, to test the waters, to explore, and there’s honestly no better time to explore than right now when things are a lot quieter in Web3. And a lot of the hype has moved on from Web3, but will definitely come back in a couple of years. Now is a great time to launch I’d say lower visibility experiments and really experiment and understand this technology before the next bull market cycle comes around. Then when the bull market cycle comes around and more and more brands are experimenting in the space for the first time, your company really understands what they’re getting themselves into and be able to create and craft a really compelling strategy for both Web3 native and Web2 native consumers.

Tessa Burg: I like the phrase, low visibility experience, especially for brands who might feel this is risky. How do you keep the experience low visibility, especially if let’s say you’re a more well-known brand?

Justin Vogel: I mean people are experimenting. I talked about some of the most recent things. I think that it’s maybe not about doing it at the World Cup or the Super Bowl, but doing it in other smaller areas or regions too, depending on your brands, that could be useful to do it outside of the US to test things. There are actually a lot more Web3 native consumers outside the US in particular. So that could be an opportunity if your brand is global but has a certain geographic focus to do it outside of your core geographic focus too.

Tessa Burg: I didn’t know that. I think something though that I did learn when just playing around with different tools myself, is it does take effort to build an audience. So, if you are just entering in for the first time, doing a different geography, love that idea. Maybe you don’t have to do it under your brand initially, but just like when you launch a new website, it’s not like people, the whole world floods to see it, like it’s effort to build an audience and to get people seeing the new experience that you’re bringing. So, I think there is a lot of testing and learning that you can do before an audience comes, since we already know that getting an audience is marketing in itself.

Justin Vogel: Definitely.

Tessa Burg: So, Safary.Club is where you started building a community but now it is actually a tool that Web3 businesses can use. Tell us a little bit about the problem you saw and how is Safary.Club solving that problem in Web3?

Justin Vogel: Yeah, so this will be a familiar problem to most Web2 marketers out there, which is measurement. What we saw in Web3 when we first entered the space, was many teams frankly were flying blind and they were flying blind because they hadn’t created a tech stack yet because the bull market really swept them up, I would say, in a positive way, but then left them kind of hanging as the bear market started to roll in, is that in the bull market, nobody thinks about marketing because everyone in the industry is doing well and you really start to think about marketing when you’re not doing as well.

Justin Vogel: And so as we’ve settled into this new normal, a lot more companies are thinking about their marketing strategy and their marketing tech stack for the first time in Web3. And so, what we’re essentially solving for them is a term that’s very familiar I’m sure, to many listening on this podcast is marketing attribution, but there’s no attribution system in Web3 today.

Justin Vogel: So, when I talk about marketing attribution in Web3, what that essentially means is in Web3 there’s a new user funnel and instead of your email signup, people are signing in with their crypto wallets, and so you can think about it in the same way. We can attribute signups in Web2 back to the marketing channels that they came from. But a lot of Web3 companies had this like, oh no problem, their funnel would look like this. A user comes from a marketing channel like Twitter, they land on your website, they connect their wallet, and then as soon as they connect their wallet, they’re gone. And then what we see on the blockchain is transactions made by various wallets but there’s not a link.

Justin Vogel: So, there wasn’t a bridge between the Web2 as soon as you connect your wallet to enter Web3, there’s like this wall, you don’t know what happens, and then Web3 continues at the trail. And so the way that we think about measurement and what our company does today is we’re making that link between Web2 channels and Web3 outcomes.

Tessa Burg: I love that, yeah, a lot of the people got into Web3 early, I was talking to another person in this space and they said they were pulling from R&D budgets because you can test something pretty cheaply and then the great thing is you don’t really have to be accountable, you just say it was research and development. But once it starts working then absolutely, people want to know, well what is this getting us, what are we learning from it and how do we scale?

Tessa Burg: So, one area that I was very interested in, I know attribution is critically important for that, is the anonymity. I feel like I’m not saying that word right, but a lot of people in Web3 want to be anonymous or their wallet’s anonymous. So how are you not proprietary, but from a process standpoint, like tying those dots or what kind of data can your clients see about their experience in marketing efforts in Web3?

Justin Vogel: Yeah, so in terms of what they can see, it’s quite similar. They can see the marketing channels that their wallets in this case come from. They can see how much revenue has been driven by those wallets, but they can also see all the things that those wallets have done in the past.

Justin Vogel: So, for example, this is sort of one of the unique properties of Web3 technology is that all the transactions that are made by a user are public. So, this is not just public because they’re transactions that are made in your first party product, this is all transactions that were ever made by that wallet are public, including all the NFTs that they might have purchased, all the tokens that they might have purchased, even what is in their wallet today in terms of they have $100 in cryptocurrencies. You can see a lot more nuance than you’re able to see in Web2. And the way that I would pull this back is to say Web3, yes, users want to be anonymous or pseudonymous, and I actually would argue that we’re potentially entering a new privacy paradigm with Web3.

Justin Vogel: The way that I think about Web2 customers is that our profiles are public. You are Tessa, I am Justin, marketers, although we wouldn’t like to admit it, know where we live, know our marital status, know all sorts of things about us, but marketers don’t know what Tessa buys on Amazon, for example, or all of your path to purchase history.

Justin Vogel: And so, as we enter into Web3, I feel like it’s the opposite of now we’re pseudonymous, we don’t know about Tessa’s marital status or where she lives, et cetera, but we do know about her Amazon transactions lifetime. And I think that when I think about a lot of the data harvesting and privacy that’s gone on in Web2, we’re really trying to figure out all the things about our users and customers from like a demographic standpoint, in order to predict what they might have bought in the past and might buy in the future, AKA, their transactions. And in this new paradigm, we don’t have to know those things, because we know all the things that they’ve done in the past and will do in the future in terms of their transactions.

Justin Vogel: So, I think that that’s sort of the way that I think a little bit differently about Web3 and Web2 when it comes to pseudonymity and what we’re actually learning about these users.

Tessa Burg: Yeah and I think that’s a really important point and a massive opportunity, because as Web2 marketers, for those of us who are doing lots of testing, whether it be multi-variate testing, message testing, using machine learning AI to find the right message to the right person, that is all behavioral based. So, I feel like for marketers who haven’t learned yet, that your demographic data isn’t very indicative of what you’re actually going to do, now is the time to learn that.

Tessa Burg: But for people who want to start better understanding behaviors for predictive purposes or just to build a better experience, that is the type of data that’s being exposed in Web3 because it really doesn’t matter if I am married or not married, that doesn’t really determine what I’m going to do and how I’m going to interact with your business. And I have also found that sometimes not even like geographic data is as impactful as what I have done in the last two years from a behavioral standpoint. So, I think that’s like a very exciting area for marketers to explore who are always curious and data hungry and really trying to understand who their customers are at a deeper level.

Justin Vogel: Definitely, we’ve always been using who you are to figure out what you do and now we just know what you do and as a result we probably don’t care who you are.

Tessa Burg: Right, yeah, I love that it’s a little freeing.

Justin Vogel: t’s freeing for the consumer on the privacy standpoint and I feel like for marketers it’s actually what we were really looking for in the first place, is trying to know what you do. And now we can do it in a privacy preserving way by not knowing who you are.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, I agree. And you can still have that level of comfort and give like your personas a name, but the behaviors will just be richer rather than having to be boxed into only the data that we had access to, really, and could see. So we have covered a lot of ground. Let’s take a step back and hopefully we have listeners’ interests piqued. Are there any good trainings or anywhere where someone can sort of get a lay of the land on what are the components of Web3 and what are some of the best practices or even examples that could inspire their own efforts?

Justin Vogel: That is a great question. One of my favorite writers on this topic, his name is Thomas Pan. He writes a lot about the experiences of Web2 brands entering the space, whether it’s been Starbucks’s Odyssey program or Nike’s .SWOOSH or many of these Web2 into Web3 activations. So, I would definitely check Thomas out. He is a very prolific writer. I don’t know how he creates so much great detailed research content. I feel like he probably puts out four to five articles a week. So, he’s definitely, yeah, he’s somebody to follow creating this high quality content about how Web2 brands are entering Web3. So, he would be one.

Justin Vogel: And then the second place where I would spend a lot of people listening here would be the JUMP Community. So, JUMP is a community of brand marketers and digital agencies who are making the transition into Web3 and they have amassed, I would say, probably thousands of members. There are a ton of them and they’re very, very savvy about thinking about how they can use digital assets and this new technology to create new experiences. And they’re led by Jeff Kaufman, is the founder of JUMP, he is also one of the most prolific community builders I’ve seen and inspires a lot of what we’ve done in the Safary community on the growth side as well.

Tessa Burg: That’s awesome. So, you’ve been in these communities, you’re building a Web3 business to help with measurement, that we know is critically important in marketing. Do you feel like there are any untapped opportunities, either this is where a Web3 business is needed, or for brands, like a lot of brands are playing in this space but they really haven’t penetrated X?

Justin Vogel: That’s a great question, I think that for the most part, brands haven’t fully tapped Web3 and digital collectible experiences. I think that it’s still extremely early and so now is a great time to explore whatever that might mean, whether it’s token-gated commerce, so all of our consumers need to have a certain asset in order to access new experiences. And then you can also layer on more experiences on top of that in whatever way that means.

Justin Vogel: I think that we’re moving in two different directions from a marketing standpoint that is actively being experimented upon in Web3, but is also accessible to Web2 marketers is two twofold. One, it’s really about people are looking to connect with others, and that’s why I believe that community-led growth has become very popular in Web3, but also is not an unknown concept to Web2 marketers, But I feel like it will shape marketing moving forward, all the experiments that these Web3 companies, both B2C and B2B, are using community experiences to drive their brands forward. And my sort of belief is that it’ll replace what we think of as lifecycle marketing today, this community-led growth and it’s largely being experimented with by Web3 companies.

Justin Vogel: And the second side is token-gated commerce. I think that this is also not a fully unknown concept to Web2 brands, but the case of doing certain things and having a certain experience that unlocks other new experiences. So not being able to access all experiences by a brand just from the get-go. So just sort of gamify experiential marketing and these types of digital experiences in one, to access new, whether it’s to access new products, like you need to do this thing, buy this product, in order to enter into a new group where you can buy the products that you actually want to buy, so have these like waterfall up experiences.

Justin Vogel: I think that these two trends, people are experimenting with digital collectibles in these types of ways. But also, you can experiment with these types of experience without digital collectibles too. So, I think that marketing is shifting along with our society in these two directions of wanting both more consumer to consumer contact facilitated by brands, but also more exclusive experiences as a result of being more dedicated to a brand.

Tessa Burg: Just taking notes, that was a very rich answer. I think one area that people may not realize that you highlighted is that this can replace lifecycle marketing. When we look at how we’ve used social and built strong communities on Instagram or even on Twitter, I think some marketers will put that into the awareness bucket, some use it for client service or to retain, but what your answer is telling us and what your observations are telling us is we can actually do the entire lifecycle marketing within Web3. And another thing I find interesting is that you reference Web2 tools. So, and correct me if I’m wrong, but this isn’t move away from Web2, start doing Web3, it’s Web2 and Web3 work together and you are going to find more success in Web3 when you look at the role it can play across the entire customer journey.

Justin Vogel: Yep, exactly. And I’m also saying that there are ways that people are experimenting in Web3 using digital assets in these new types of experiences, but you also can not use them. I that those, I’ve been really fortunate, I feel like I’ve met the best growth leaders and marketers in my career in Web3. I don’t think that’s necessarily because of the Web3 technology, but it’s because the people who are here are highly experimental and thinking about things and trying to push the envelope of what marketing means in a way that’s very different than those that are currently using the same strategies that are starting to saturate. So I think that this is also a good time for early adopter marketers to learn what could be the future of marketing over the next five, 10 years by experimenting and learning from those who doing so in the space today.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, I agree. Well, this has been a very powerful and rich conversation for marketers who are interested in starting to learn, being constantly curious about what’s next. Where can they reach you, Justin?

Justin Vogel: The two best places to reach me are on LinkedIn, so you can reach me on LinkedIn, the slash after is Justin, J-U-S-T-I-N, dash Vogel, V-O-G-E-L And on Twitter, my @ is JKEY_ETH. I actually began my Web3 journey as a pseudonymous identity, which also can be a great opportunity for people who are listening, who want to create either a personal brand or experiment with their businesses’ brand without sort of the brand risk of really exposing yourself as a a Web3 person. So that’s a great thing to do as well . And you can find more about Safary on @Safary, S-A-F-A-R-Y, that’s a Y instead of an I, .club.

Tessa Burg: So Justin, I took your advice and I started my Web3 without using my personal identity and I love it. Like it does feel like such a big barrier when you’re putting your name out there into something you don’t know. And yet for me, I’m later in my career, I’ve spent a ton of time in marketing tech and marketing 2.0 and having that pseudo-anonymity, really gives you the freedom to just have conversations and talk and learn. So yeah, I love that piece of advice because it took down the barriers. Like when I first started Twitter, and I still have my personal name and identity on there, and I don’t use Twitter actively, I use it very passively. I follow people, I follow mostly English Premier League soccer, but I was too afraid to interact. So, I highly, highly recommend that people take that advice so that you can learn and interact, because it truly is with the testing where the growth comes from and I just had never thought of that before. And I might just go back to Twitter and use the same handle.

Justin Vogel: Yeah, and I think it’s great too for those that want to start writing about their observations in the space under a pseudonymous identity too. That’s largely what I did and how I started is that I had actually like written a lot of things before I started in Web3 about things that I was a subject matter expert on, but I was never able to press send and publish. And so I had just like recycled and it was so hard for me to let go of some of those challenges that I was having. And so, becoming a pseudonymous identity, it was much more freeing of it’s like, okay, this doesn’t feel as personal when I publish this content, and it’s like, what are people going to think about me? And so as a result, that made me a much more prolific writer than I’ve ever been. And I’m a little sad now that I’m not pseudonymous anymore, now that I’ve revealed myself, because it’s much harder for me to write even though I had that great experience of seven to eight, nine months of writing my thoughts every couple days. Now it’s harder to put them out there.

Tessa Burg: Yeah, no, I’m exactly the same and I’m going to stay pseudonym for a very long time because I have a lot to learn but I’ve really been enjoying just the feedback and not having to worry about how it’s affecting me personally or my image or anything. I mean just doing this podcast sometimes really pulls me outta my comfort zone. Well thank you so much for all the great information. If the listeners would like to hear more “Leader Generation” episodes, you can find us on LinkedIn as well. Just search the “Leader Generation Podcast” or you can connect with Mod Op, M-O-D-O-P, and we at modop.com. Until next time, Justin, thank you so much for being our guest and we will certainly be following Safary.Club’s growth and future.

Justin Vogel: Thank you, this was great.

Justin Vogel

Co-founder of Safary

Justin Vogel is the Co-founder of Safary, a community-first company rebuilding the marketing stack in Web3 starting with attribution. Web3 teams use the Safary platform to understand their customer acquisition cost (CAC), channel return on investment (ROI) and customer lifetime value (LTV). The community consists of the top web3 growth leaders who exchange insights and work together to reverse-engineer Web3 growth tactics seen in the wild.

Resources from This Episode:

Influencer: Thomas Pan

Newsletter: Web3 with TPan

Community: JUMP News