An interview with Maryam Mahjoub, Global Marketing Manager at Cardano
Blockchain marketers face a very unique challenge. Not only do they have to compete with other platforms to attract a limited set of developers, but they also have to raise awareness about nascent (but powerful!) technology that the mainstream doesn’t understand, or, still associates with hackers and sometimes even 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.
Maryam Mahjoub is a Global Marketing Manager at Cardano, a leading smart contract platform.
Maryam 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 going into marketing for Cardano?
Maryam: I’ve been doing marketing for about 17 years, and having quite a lot of marketing experience definitely helped. The biggest thing with blockchain is that it’s so new, you are literally building a marketing playbook for an evolving technology from the ground up.
Rochelle: How is marketing in crypto different from what you were doing previously?
Maryam: It’s a mix of audiences. From the one developer who is obsessed with blockchain to the large banks – how do you speak to each of them without alienating the other? How do you make sure you are addressing their needs? Those would be the two main challenges.
Another difference is how technical it is. You have to be super technical with devs to not lose credibility. But you also need to be able to describe something that is incredibly complex in a non-technical way to others. You must split that messaging from day one and know who you are speaking to.
Rochelle: Has your marketing strategy changed since you started?
Maryam: Your audience is so widespread on the crypto side – like my mom vs. bankers vs. companies. Such a mismatch. So we’ve been working really hard to segment our audience and figure out their independent needs. We even segment our messaging on our landing pages. We do polls all the time on Twitter, and ask why individuals are attending at the beginning of events. We also color code a lot of our material on our social and mailing materials. The goal is to create content that is relevant to the audience and not waste their time with the other stuff.
“Your audience is so widespread on the crypto side – like my mom vs. bankers vs. companies. Such a mismatch”
Rochelle: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts in the blockchain space?
Maryam: The newness of the technology is one. The fact that every new feature we put out is a complex concept that only developers understand, but at the same time also the key to what makes the Cardano blockchain different and unique.
And while you can introduce so many concepts, you also realize that the use cases for blockchain technology are endless – but what marketer is an expert in every industry?
“The use cases for blockchain technology are endless, but what marketer is an expert in every industry?”
Rochelle: What was a marketing failure that taught you something interesting about how this industry works?
Maryam: My biggest hurdle coming into the space was 1. The protocol layer, which is what I’ve always worked on. It’s the foundation, yet so few people really focus on it. How do you get the community hyped about something that most don’t really care about?
Rochelle: What do you focus on to differentiate Cardano from other blockchain networks?
Maryam: Everything we build is built of peer-reviewed research. We’re much slower than many of our peers to get to market and some of our features are slower to come out but we build it so that scalability (connectivity, gas prices, integration with real life systems) is being taken into consideration. How do you highlight that at a level that is relevant to C-suite individuals, without getting into the technical bits, but also differentiate yourself because it is the technical bits that are interesting?
Two things that I constantly try is one, if I have to ask a dev for help, it’s too complex. Two, making sure I’m asking the devs the right questions: “what can someone do with this feature? How will this help them”, not just “what is this feature?”.
Rochelle: The Tie worked with us to analyze Cardano’s growth on social media. Looking at Twitter, they found that your number of mentions grew by over 154% since the beginning of 2020, from an average of 436 mentions a day to 1109. What would you attribute to such growth?
Maryam: The Shelley launch was a huge one. It meant people could actually begin staking on Cardano.
We also hired a social media specialist and copywriters in the blockchain space. We wanted strategic ideas on how to engage better, how to write content that people are receptive to, how to maintain the right audience. We wanted to hone in our message to a specific audience while also letting people engage with content that is specific to them and addresses their needs.
Rochelle: $ADA’s FCAS has also increased 10.33% since the beginning of the year, which reflects growth in Cardano’s fundamental data. What do you think of crypto ratings that measure the health of networks? Do you use them to measure growth? What type of KPIs do you look at otherwise?
Maryam: I don’t think they can be your go-to but I do look at crypto ratings. But of course when the market dips and every coin is dropping, that’s just a reflection of the market. We look at things such as community growth, how much is being staked, and delegation. Ultimately, we want to be a truly decentralized platform accessible to everyone.