An interview with Matt Law, Head of Marketing at Fetch.ai
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 Law is the Head of Marketing at Fetch.ai, a project which delivers a self-organizing digital world where AI software devices can interact autonomously and transact with each other, while making decisions for the benefit of humans.
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 were you doing before going into marketing for Fetch.ai?
Matt: I was in advertising and digital marketing for the first part of my career, then got into decentralized tech late 2016, and moved over to work at a VC called Outlier Ventures. Having worked there, first on marketing, then on developing the firm’s advisory offering, and ultimately as COO, I wanted to move back into operating, so earlier this year I started working with one of our portfolio companies, who had listed a token with Binance in 2019, and here I am at Fetch.ai
Rochelle: Do you remember the first time you learned how to market? What was it that clicked for you?
Matt: I grew up in the shadows of some giants in the advertising industry, first at the global ad network DDB, then at some independent UK shops. Having worked in digital since 1999, I quickly learned the importance of creating campaigns that have a strong ‘earned media’ element, which of course is nothing new (“word of mouth is the best medium of all” – Bill Bernbach), but is especially true and visible on the internet.
I was lucky enough to work on a number of campaigns early in my career with brands that are hugely loved and elicit strong emotional reactions – Marmite in the UK, the Guardian newspaper, the BBC, Volkswagen Cars. It made me realise that to stand out, you need to stand for something and to make people feel something strongly (“there is no learning without emotion”- Plato)
“to stand out, you need to stand for something and to make people feel something strongly”
Rochelle: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts in the blockchain space?
Matt: With much of the emerging tech space, you often have highly technical teams with a passion for some fundamental research and a mission to achieve some change in the world. This is hugely powerful and important, and drives progress in tech focused fields, and for society as a whole.
However, often experts struggle to understand the perspective of non-experts, and to empathise with the world view / needs of people who don’t necessarily share that focus. It’s the role of communications and marketing to see the story in what they are doing and translate that into something that is understandable, inspiring and motivating to action of the stakeholders of the project.
“often experts struggle to understand the perspective of non-experts, and to empathise with the world view / needs of people who don’t necessarily share that focus”
Rochelle: Has your marketing strategy changed since you started?
Matt: At Fetch.ai we are much more focused on earned media than we were before I started, and having a strong internal ‘content engine’ has been critical to our success.
Rochelle: What was a failure you thought was really interesting about how this industry works?
Matt: We ran a promotional campaign this summer with Bitfinex, around a listing that we were doing with the exchange, and we incorporated a discounted promotional sale of FET tokens as part of as part of the listing campaign. The market absolutely hated it and thought it was a huge problem for existing token holders as it was dilutionary to existing holders.
The total amount of new supply was less than a fraction of a percent, less than we would spend on many of our ecosystem activities, but there was this huge visceral reaction to it. It made me realize that the market is fundamentally inefficient right now, in a way that I hadn’t previously and that the shadow of 2017 still looms large over people’s minds. It has made me much more thoughtful about the campaigns we create and the content we produce.
Rochelle: Fetch.ai is just as much about artificial intelligence as it is about blockchain technology. Do you feel like that creates two distinct communities to market to?
Matt: We have four principal audiences that indeed do spread across crypto and non-crypto. With a decentralized network proposition, the key to success I believe is seeding and then cultivating all the network participants to create value over time. Much as web 2.0 networks were essentially 2-sided marketplaces where both had to be drawn together (albeit with a proprietary platform in the middle), web 3.0 networks are multi-sided economies that need to be stimulated.
Our key audiences are token holders – enthusiasts and early adopters who are keen to use our technology, or who wish to learn about emerging technologies, network maintainers who perform important network functions like validation as well as independent developers, large corporates. It’s this last two groups that crossover with non-crypto, and where we are creating products that bridge into our other main expertise area of AI, for instance via our decentralized AI product Collective Learning.
Rochelle: The Tie worked with us to analyze Fetch.ai’s growth on social media. Looking at Twitter, they found that your number of mentions grew by over 491% since the beginning of 2020, from 33 mentions a day to 197. What would you attribute to such growth?
Matt: We achieved this through a focus on best practice principles in content marketing- creating engaging and shareable stories, publishing content in the formats best suited for our main channels, of which Twitter is key one, and posting with a tempo and regularity that each channel demands.
Twitter in particular is a channel with very short half-life, so moving from a “one and done” approach, to slicing and dicing each campaign into a number of angles and areas, and then streaming that out over a number of days whas key to engaging with our audiences, reaching more people with content that works for them.
Rochelle: $FET’s FCAS has also increased 13.33% since the beginning of the year, which reflects growth in Fetch.ai’s fundamental data. What do you think of crypto ratings that measure the health of assets? Do you use them to measure growth? What type of KPIs do you look at otherwise?
Matt: The lack of effective fundamental health metrics has been a big problem, and drives much of the herd mentality of speculation that plagues the industry. I am a big believer that measuring what matters will help the industry mature, and enable stakeholders to see where success is being made.
We look at a number of measures related to core token health (number and distribution of holders, FET used in network operations, exchange vs in wallet), network health (nodes, validators, transactions, stakers), developer activity (contributors, app development, engagement) and reach of our messages across our channels.