An interview with Matt Taylor, Formerly Marketing at 0x (now Marketing Lead at Solana)
Blockchain marketers face a very unique challenge. Not only do they have to compete with thousands of other platforms to attract a limited set of developers, but they also have to raise awareness about nascent (but powerful!) technology that the mainstream still associates with hackers and criminal activity. To top it off, they have to grow this product globally from the get-go, to keep the network decentralized. All that, without any playbook of course.
Matt Taylor was leading all marketing initiatives at 0x, a decentralized exchange (DEX) built on the Ethereum blockchain. It provides a means of exchanging a variety of tokenized assets and seeks to promote interoperability between decentralized applications.
Matt made the list of the best marketers in Blockchain for 2020 – a list of 35 individuals whose organizations were measured by the lift in FCAS Rating, which indicates user and developer activity as well as overall market risk, and growth in Twitter mentions as measured by The Tie.
Rochelle: What got you into marketing for a blockchain?
Matt: I’ve been interested in crypto for quite a while, specifically Bitcoin. I really got into it in college when I wrote my thesis about Bitcoin economics, and I’ve been obsessed ever since. When I graduated from school there weren’t that many good crypto companies out there and there wasn’t much more than just Bitcoin itself.
I worked in marketing at Square for several years, and then in 2017 the space kind of took off to a level I wasn’t expecting so quickly, so I decided that I should follow my passion and jump in.
Rochelle: What is 0x’s mission?
Matt: To create a world where all value can flow freely is the mission. The world today has a fragmented financial system. Depending on where you live or how much money you have there are some barriers to entry to gain first-world financial infrastructure. This whole notion of decentralized exchange is trying to break down those barriers and allow people – no matter where they live, no matter how much money they have – to tap into this advanced exchange network.
I’m a big believer in that and it’s very much needed. It’s very much the ethos in crypto. It doesn’t make very much sense to me that you have to go to Binance or Coinbase which is basically like a centralized bank to trade and get access to these assets.
Rochelle: Do you remember the first time you learned how to market?
Matt: The first time I formally learned how to do marketing, I had an internship at Google on their marketing team in college and that was my introduction into tech and marketing and this whole world. That was the first time and I learned a whole lot through that experience.
Rochelle: Was it very KPI and data driven? Do you feel like you can apply that to the crypto space?
Matt: There’s definitely a quantitative part of marketing and there’s a qualitative. Growing up, and I think that most people have this perception too, I thought marketing was people sitting in a boardroom coming up with creative ad ideas like in Mad Men. But most of marketing is actually about data. It’s about coming up with some sort of hypothesis to test and quantify by looking at the data to understand what your customers want.
What’s really interesting about crypto, for me, coming from a more traditional tech marketing background was: what can I bring from that world that works for these consumer tech products or these startups and what can I bring into this blockchain world?
“I think that most people have this perception that marketing is people sitting in a boardroom coming up with creative ad ideas, sort of like Mad Men. But most of marketing is actually about data.”
Rochelle: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting marketing in crypto?
Matt: I think in marketing there’s a lot of trial and error. You try something and it doesn’t work out. There’s a bunch of things we’ve tried at 0x that haven’t worked out and I wish I would’ve known that beforehand or figured that out. One of the things we tried to do was bring in people that didn’t really know about Bitcoin or Ethereum. That turned out to be a very difficult task. It’s actually quite a bit of work to get people from knowing zero to knowing how to build on 0x. That’s something I wish we wouldn’t have spent so much time on.
Rochelle: How has your marketing strategy changed over time?
Matt: For the past couple of years we focused on targeting developers, and now we are focusing more on traders who are already exchanging on centralized exchanges, to get them to start trading on DEXes. That’s been, by far, the biggest change. That’s a very different group and they have different needs.
Rochelle: What do you look at to see if that’s working? What type of KPIs are you tracking right now?
Matt: The whole team tracks a variety of things: daily volume, total volume, total number of trades, total number of unique addresses on a daily, weekly and monthly cadence. In marketing we use this tool called Mixpanel, and we create funnels and try to understand where people are dropping off. Just understanding what’s wrong and how to improve that conversion is super valuable.
“I just think blockchain has, by far, the biggest potential to change how the global economy works, and it’s what I’m passionate about. This is what I think about 99% of the day.”
Rochelle: Would you ever leave the crypto space to do marketing in another sector?
Matt: No, absolutely not. I just think blockchain has, by far, the biggest potential to change how the global economy works, and it’s what I’m passionate about. This is what I think about 99% of the day. I want to do my part and see if I can help accelerate that adoption, and I’m super excited to see what’s going to happen over the next few years and months even
Rochelle: Do you look at sentiment data for marketing in crypto? Do you think that’s useful?
Matt: Yeah, a little bit. It’s really tough because a lot of these projects have a token involved and whether the token price goes up or down skews that data a lot. I don’t necessarily think the best projects always have the best price action. It’s tough to look at sentiment because the sentiment is very much dependent on what the price of your token is and that skews all sorts of things on Twitter. It’s something I look into occasionally but it’s more something that I pay attention to year over year growth level rather than a day or a month over month.