An interview with Regine Haschka Helmer, Director of Market Strategy for IOTA
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.
Regine Haschka Helmer is the Director of Market Strategy for IOTA, a cryptocurrency and DLT set up to allow data exchange between any data recording machine (from tiny sensors on roads, to wearable electronics, mobile phones, etc.) as part of the Internet of Things. Instead of regrouping transactions into blocks like a regular blockchain, IOTA validates and stores each transaction individually across its decentralized network, a structure it termed “Tangle”.
Regine 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 IOTA?
Regine: I started my career in one of the first digital agencies in Europe. In 1999 the agency made an IPO and I became the COO of the company. I was the youngest woman on the board of a public company at that time. It was all about building outstanding innovative digital online platforms for international well-known brands like Swatch, Sony, Deutsche Telekom, Volkswagen and others. In 2008 I founded a consulting firm called Seedlab to build innovative digital products and services for corporations and match them with startups. At that time, I came across IOTA and was “IOTAnised”.
Rochelle: Do you remember the first time you learned how to market? What was it that clicked for you?
Regine: When I was 6 years old, I sold chewing gum to the children in my neighbourhood for twice the price I paid. I told them that I had bought the chewing gum from an old witch in the forest. Everyone found that very exciting. So I learned my first lesson in marketing.
“When I was 6 years old, I sold chewing gum to the children in my neighbourhood for twice the price I paid. I told them that I had bought the chewing gum from an old witch in the forest. Everyone found that very exciting. So I learned my first lesson in marketing.”
Rochelle: How is marketing in crypto different from what you were doing previously?
Regine: In the Crypto and DLT industry the marketing challenges are higher than in other industries. The target groups are very diverse: there are investors, developers, the supporter community, corporates and startups. All of them have different needs and expectations and a different level of technological knowledge. In addition, there are aggravating factors such as currency volatility, maturity of the industry and “disruptive newness” of the technology. However, no industry experiences the same extent of support and a large group of dedicated, engaged community members similar to how IOTA has. This is an incredibly valuable asset that is not found in any other industry before.
Rochelle: Has your marketing strategy changed since you started?
Regine: So far, our marketing has mainly focused on the “early adopters” in our ecosystem because of the maturity of the market. With the ongoing development of the IOTA technology and the new applications and solutions, IOTA is now receiving massive interest from various industries and companies. Therefore, we are now increasingly targeting the “early majority target group” and establishing new formats to interact with them even more.
Rochelle: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts for a public decentralized network?
Regine: In addition to market adoption tasks for the IOTA protocol, currently there are other IOTA applications and solutions that solve a lot of problems for various industries. This requires the development of specific go-to-market strategies. In this respect, we are pursuing a horizontal marketing strategy in combination with vertical marketing activities for the different challenges of the respective industries.
Rochelle: What was a failure you thought was really interesting about how this industry works?
Regine: It was a wrong assumption that the rapidly progressing success of IOTA could be directly reflected in the coin value. Other factors play a role here as well, such as a certain dependence on the performance of Bitcoin. But with further market maturity, new markets like DeFi and further development of the IOTA technology, this dependency will definitely dissolve.
Rochelle: The Tie worked with us to analyze IOTA’s growth on social media. Looking at Twitter, they found that your number of mentions grew by over 68% since the beginning of 2020, from an average of 87 mentions a day to 146. How important is social media in your marketing strategy and how do you think its role differs from other industries?
Regine: Social media marketing is an important instrument of our marketing strategy and helps to spread news and content quickly as we additionally benefit from the community and supporters as multipliers. We can directly reach our target groups through social media, as the people who are interested in the project use social media as their main source of information anyway. Therefore it is very important for us to have a close exchange and regular interaction with our community. Social media channels also help us to create interest and trust, share content and engage with our ecosystem. This works well through platforms such as Twitter. The role of social media is more important than in other industries because the target audience uses mainly social media channels to engage with the organization. But there are different channels which are used: additionally also other less commonly used channels play an important role like Telegram, Slack, or Discord. Also, the awareness of the usage of my personal data through those platforms will change the preferred platforms.
Rochelle: $MIOTA’s FCAS has also increased 9.60% since the beginning of the year, which reflects growth in IOTA’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?
Regine: Crypto ratings are an important tool to give guidance and orientation for investors, but also for us as an organisation. The increase of our rating indicates to us that we are on the right track with our activities and gives us an overview about different market factors which are relevant for us like user activities, developer behavior and market maturity.
Other KPIs we are looking at are community activities, such as meetups and webinars, patents that refer to IOTA, corporate – and startup projects, closed partnerships (We have defined parameters for the requirements of partnerships), newsletter registrations, email requests and others.
“The increase of our rating indicates to us that we are on the right track with our activities and gives us an overview about different market factors which are relevant for us like user activities, developer behavior and market maturity.”