An interview with Des Martin, Head of Marketing at Brave
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.
Des Martin is Head of Marketing at Brave Software, one of the fastest growing blockchain networks in the world. The privacy-focused web browser currently has over 18 million monthly active users.
Des 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 were you doing before becoming the Head of Marketing at Brave?
Des: I worked for several early stage companies as they went through rapid growth. Qualtrics which later sold to SAP for $8B. NearForm who now builds the Covid tracking app used by governments across the globe and Perkbox who featured on The Times list of top UK start-ups.
Building marketing and growth teams in high growth environments is different. There is no playbook, you need to get creative and figure it out.
Rochelle: What things do you wish you’d known before you started?
Des: I tracked Brave closely for over 18 months before I joined. In that time I got to know the product and users. Something that both impressed and challenged me when I joined was the Brave commitment to user privacy. Many companies claim privacy, but it’s a thin veneer.
“User privacy is at the forefront of all Brave decisions. But this presents challenges for digital marketers. For example, we don’t use Google Analytics on our website and we don’t track our users. This means, we have a lot less data than other companies.“
Rochelle: How is marketing of a blockchain platform different from what you were doing previously?
Des: First and foremost we want Brave to be the best browser on the market. We don’t lead with blockchain specific messaging. We emphasise the benefits, like Brave rewards. This allows our users to opt into privacy respecting ads and tip content creators across the web. These are new concepts and require considerable education.
“Explaining bleeding edge concepts to a mass market is distinctly different from previous marketing roles.”
Rochelle: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts for a public decentralized network?
Des: Helping people understand where the network is now and where the network will be in 2-3 years. When people see the big picture, their passion for the project multiplies.
Rochelle: Would you say marketing in the crypto space is unique? If so, why?
Des: I would say there are parallels with marketing early web projects in the 90s. New infrastructure is being built out at breakneck speed.
Building early users and community is really powerful. Those people become evangelists for Brave.
Rochelle: If you were to give advice to someone starting in marketing for a blockchain startup, what resources would you recommend they turn to?
Des: This space moves really fast. Marketers need to become learning machines.
Listen to podcasts like Unchained. And follow projects on Twitter and Reddit.
Rochelle: How do you market for a product that is inherently global?
Des: We have limited resources and cannot boil the ocean. We look for early adopters across the world. People that resonate with our message of faster private browsing and a new business model for the web.
Rochelle: Has your marketing strategy changed since you started?
Des: We are always testing. This leads to small incremental change over time.
Rochelle: Does the fact that Brave is a privacy browser- i.e. that its blockchain network has a specific use-case – make it different from other blockchains to market?
Des: Most blockchains have a broad range of use cases, whereas Brave and BAT have a clearly defined use. BAT allows Brave users to turn their attention into real value and spend that back with over 800k Brave creators. Over time we will introduce more utility for BAT so attention can be traded for a range of online services.
Rochelle: The Tie worked with us to analyze Brave’s growth on social. Looking at Twitter, they found that BAT’s number of mentions grew by over 260% since the beginning of 2020, from around 54 mentions a day to over 196. How important is social media in your marketing strategy and how do you think its role differs from industries?
Des: Social media plays an important role for Brave. Brave invests a lot of time in our online community. Social media gives our users a voice.
Rochelle: $BAT’s FCAS has also increased 7% since the beginning of the year, which reflects growth in Brave’s fundamental data. What do you think of crypto ratings that measure the health of assets? Do you use them to measure growth? If not, what type of metrics do you use to measure the success of certain marketing efforts?
Des: Our focus is on growing Brave’s user base and providing more utility for the BAT. Personally, I see Brave as being on a journey to 100M users. Each step of the way our ecosystem grows stronger.