This blog is designed to provide an update on Streamr marketing to date, and present the Streamr marketing outlook in 2021 and beyond. A lot is going on at a project level, in the world of crypto and in the world at large. Now is a good time to look at where we’ve come, where we are and where we’re going.
Looking back to the first marketing blog I wrote when I joined the Streamr project, a few points stand out for their sustained relevance: we didn’t want to rely on unsubstantiated hype, token shilling and premature rollouts; we wanted to ‘show not tell’ the world about Streamr capabilities; we were avoiding pay-for-play tactics and we wanted to invite developers to build with a clear call-to-action in order to grow the Streamr ecosystem. A lot of progress has been made since then: new frameworks have launched, we have tested the Network, launched a decentralized governance model and are building out the Network decentralization, all whilst delivering against the project roadmap on schedule. Through all of that, we have maintained the aforementioned marketing principles in everything we have done to promote Streamr.
So what have we achieved?
The marketing focus of the Streamr project in the last year or so has been adoption of the Streamr stack, particularly with the launch of Data Unions, a framework that enables ethical data sharing via end-user applications. In 2020, the adoption strategy was focused on growing the ecosystem of devs building apps on the Data Union framework. So far, many of the tactics have shown some success – we have seen a growth in applicants to the Data Fund in the last couple of months since its relaunch, plus the Streamr Data Challenge, a hackathon based in India encouraging devs to build Data Unions using the framework, received hundreds of applicants, and now a Top 20 promising use cases are in production. The marketing principle of ‘show don’t tell’ was possible with regard to Data Unions because the Data Union framework is in a good position to build upon, and a great pilot application was available to ‘show’ in Swash. It was a story we were ready to tell and it is encouraging to see the growth of Swash, which has just hit 10,000 users, and the genesis of similar use cases like it.
We have made a lot of noise about Data Unions through lobbying and PR, and as such we have seen some traction in consumer/end-user, developer and legislative spaces. The EU has taken note of the issues that we have been vocal about over the last couple of years, such as data ownership and ethical data selling, and the Data Governance Act and the Digital Services Act will be instrumental in the future data economy going forward.
Data Unions have been referenced by Forbes, The Financial Times and CoinDesk – we’ve even talked Data Unions with the BBC. Beyond spreading the ethical, end user-focused message, we have been targeting developers in their spaces through focused ad campaigns, keywords and SEO. We’ve been seeing real results from these tactics, including more builders and partnerships (which we will hopefully be able to share very soon), as well as the aforementioned press. This marketing effort targeted journalists, devs, enterprises and there has been some solid traction. There will be an update blog on the specificities of Data Union ecosystem growth coming soon.
Data Unions could potentially lead to large scale adoption of both the framework itself and by extension the Streamr Network. On the tech front, we will be rolling out Data Unions 2.0 in Spring, and making sure builders are aware of the improvements this upgrade has to offer. While we continue to promote Data Unions as a call-to-action and higher-level framework to build with, much of the marketing spotlight will shift towards the heart and soul of the project, the Streamr Network.
The Streamr Network is the technical backbone of the Streamr ecosystem. While the marketing team has been showing (and will continue to show) what the applications supported by the Network – including Data Unions – can do, the dev team have been pushing the Network towards its most important milestones. Now it’s time to ‘show’ the Network, front and centre.
Spotlight on the Streamr Network
As we approach the Brubeck milestone and look ahead to Tatum, the time is coming where we can now ‘show not tell’ people about the Streamr Network capabilities. Brubeck signals a landmark time for the project – anyone in the Streamr community can run a node on the Network, easily connect applications to it, and contribute bandwidth. We’re excited to roll out a simple ‘plug-and-play’ functionality to enable them to get started. Brubeck will be released along with a Network Explorer, where anyone can see what’s going in the Network and the nodes that it consists of. The time is now right for more promotion in web3 and crypto spaces, because the Network will finally start decentralizing, and its power can be shown via real demonstrations.
Last year, we already talked about what the Network has to offer, with the in-depth Performance and Scalability whitepaper. It’s pretty exciting that the scalability and latency of the Streamr Network are on par with the best centralized services. But through more use cases and ecosystem growth, we can show the world what these developments mean for P2P networks and how Streamr fits into the wider world of decentralized tech.
What will this look like?
There are many tactics currently in development for effectively marketing the Network and the list below provides an overview of some of the main marketing aims that house them. Marketing campaigns that we’ll be running in the short term include Data Unions 2.0 and the launch of Brubeck. The tactics detailed below will factor into these campaigns and also run throughout 2021.
1. Website update
To get people talking about what Streamr brings to the table, a first point is making sure that people can understand the Network offering in a clear way. To support that, a major website upgrade is in the works. While the current website does talk about the capabilities of the Network, the new site will crystallise the project’s narrative and positioning as critical Web3 data infrastructure and a scalable, decentralized alternative to centralized cloud services. The crypto space has created its own financial systems, governance models, and disruptive technical infrastructures, and we will more strongly than ever align ourselves with this revolution.
The benefits of strong SEO and keywords are a ‘behind-the-scenes’ tactic that we have been employing for some years, that have brought the project solid marketing successes in the form of inbound enquiries from potential partners, Data Fund applicants, and newsletter signups, so we will maintain that work on the website via blogs, backlinking and site optimisation.
2. The Streamr Network in crypto spaces
Based on site analytics and market research, we have seen that external validation is essential to encourage greater awareness of Streamr in the web3 and crypto spaces, as well as the press releases and talking heads from the team (which took focus with Data Union marketing). This external validation can come in a variety of ways – social media is one of these (see the Community Growth section below), and targeting personas in crypto and web3 is another.
With a clearer message and something to ‘show not tell’ about the Network, we will be inviting thought leaders and influencers in crypto to review the Streamr project and, better yet, try the technology for themselves by running a node and connecting it to data. This method of spreading the word to relevant influencers is something we have not yet pursued in a programmatic way, since the Network was still being built. With the Network becoming more realised, there is a bigger story to tell that may capture the interest of technologists and people who are passionate about decentralization. These people can now learn about Streamr through participation, and spread the word to their audiences.
In its upcoming form, there is more opportunity for creative marketing with the Network. The Streamr project team is currently brainstorming unusual and interesting demos that show what can be achieved with a truly trustless and decentralized network. We aim to build some of these use cases in-house, not only to share and encourage sharing, but also to inspire others to become part of the ecosystem and harness the potential of the tech. To encourage innovation with the Network, we will also be running an open grants programme, inviting devs to create and share their own Network-powered, decentralized data-driven apps for rewards.
More coverage in crypto and Web 3 spaces can also be won through partnership announcements, which generate some great organic interest if the story is sufficiently compelling, as we have seen very recently. The good news is that there are more partnerships in scope for 2021, which we will definitely be making noise about when the time is right.
3. Node incentivisation
Another way we can ‘show’ the story of the Network is via clear growth. To support with scaling the Network, marketing will promote a node incentive programme that will be developed and launched by the project team this year.
This programme will include incentivized testnets, encouraging node operators to join particular streams for rewards, and participants will be able to visit dedicated spaces on Discord for tech support. The aim is to encourage everyone, at different levels of experience, to participate in the Network, and we’ll be working toward a ‘one-click’ functionality, with associated tools and materials to onboard users and give them all an opportunity to earn rewards.
4. Community growth
The Streamr community is growing every day. We have already hit close to 400 members on Discord, a community channel that has been live for only a couple of weeks, and we want to increase that momentum throughout the year. One of the metrics for marketing success is the growth of all our community and social channels. Although all marketing ties together and social media awareness is different to market awareness, there will be concerted efforts, via advertising and promotion, to build the presence of Streamr in all channels where crypto and web3 conversations thrive.
As well as that, we will be fostering space for more openness and project transparency. In the next few weeks, we will be opening up project team discussions, including updates, planning and brainstorming, to the community. Anyone who wants to see more about what we do on a biweekly basis, and get more insight into how the project runs, will be welcome to attend project discussions in a ‘Town Hall’. In this way, the community can get updates first hand and speak directly with the team about these updates in real time.
5. Events / Hackathons / Ideathons
Although still somewhat restricted due to the pandemic, events are important when it comes to the world of data and blockchain. You will still see members of the Streamr team speaking at online and virtual events that are relevant to the Streamr project.
We’ve recently announced the Top 20 projects from the India-based Streamr Data Challenge, and more hackathons could be in scope later this year, as well as ideathons about applications on the Network.
How can you support Streamr Marketing?
So what can you do, as a member of the community, to support Streamr marketing?
- Let us know where you want to see Streamr. Where do you go for your crypto news? Which voices in crypto and web 3 would you love to hear talking about Streamr? With the Network focus, now may be the time to show them what we can do, and if their platform is a good fit for the Streamr message, we will surely pitch our story to them.
- Share your memes! – The meme channel on Discord is thriving and we may even be rewarding the best memes there very soon. But this creativity need not be restricted to our community only. Share your memes on Twitter and encourage others to enter the world of Streamr.
- Spread the word! – If there is a launch or a big Streamr announcement, or even something general going on in the world that is relevant to the project, mention Streamr. Tag us. Tell your networks, tell your friends.
- Let us know what you think about running a node in the Streamr Network. We want to make sure we understand the motivations of people who might currently be ambivalent about or interested in adding a node, so that we can refine the best way to speak to them. Your input is always appreciated, so please take 5 minutes to fill in this survey, and let us know your thoughts.
- Keep up to date – Make sure you’re signed up to the monthly Packet Switch newsletter and join the Streamr Discord server. In future, we’ll share the highlights of the marketing strategy on Twitter, so we encourage you to follow Streamr there if you don’t already.
I hope you’ve found this Marketing update illuminating. It’s worth noting that Streamr must be focused on building the underlying infrastructure for the project to thrive, and marketing will promote the associated project strides and use cases that emerge along the roadmap. Without the infrastructure in place, marketing the token in isolation would be toothless because the token on its own has limited utility. Token gains, when they do happen, are a positive side-effect of effective holistic marketing. In terms of these plans, there is still some refinement taking place, but we’re happy to share the marketing direction and some tactics that we developed at the start of the year.
Next up is marketing delivery, and we’re excited to get started. Feel free to leave any questions for me in the #marketing channel on Discord. I’ll be running a Marketing AMA on Tuesday 2nd March at 3pm UTC, so I look forward to seeing you there.