An interview with João Gomes, Head of Growth at Utrust
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.
João Gomes is leading all growth and marketing initiatives at Utrust, a leading cryptocurrency payment solution that offers instant transactions, buyer protection and immediate crypto-to-cash settlements.
João 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 Utrust?
João: While in college, I quickly became passionate about marketing and growth. I started consulting several companies, and then founded my own consulting firm. Utrust was one of the first clients, and then we agreed for me to join them full time last year.
Rochelle: Has your marketing strategy changed since you started?
João: Yes of course. Marketing to me is just one of the tools I use to be a successful growth hacker. So I need to constantly fine tune and rethink it based on the metrics that I see. In 2019, we defined personas, messaging and positioning. And 6 months later we already knew we needed to change some stuff on that because that’s the nature of this industry and the world we live in. We need to adapt fast.
In fact with my team we always tag our marketing strategies as “drafts”. Because we know that they are going to change over time.
Rochelle: What would you say is the most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts for a public decentralized network?
“The most challenging aspect of leading marketing efforts in this industry is ensuring that you are the signal and not the noise. Because in the end, the signal is the one that sticks. “
Rochelle: Do you remember the first time you learned how to market?
João: I was in college and I was involved in building a satellite as a side project and we were going to present to some conferences in the US and we needed a proper brand. I really wanted to work with a designer on the brand. A great designer from India reached out and said she’d love to do it with me. I negotiated the logo with her and built a whole brand and story for the conference. We built social profiles and a website in a week, and it’s something that taught me that you don’t need to make everything perfect, but you need to know how to do it well enough. Often, as a manager, when you ask people for help, you first need to know how much time it’s likely to take – so you can know how to prioritize. It’s important for me to know how to build a website, create a social campaign and do some design in that sense.
Rochelle: The Tie worked with us to analyze Utrust’s growth on social. Looking at Twitter, they found that UTK’s number of mentions grew by over 2500% since the beginning of 2020, from around 3 mentions a day to over 80. What would you attribute to such growth?
João: We didn’t have the product ready until 2019. And for almost a year we only worked with chosen partners. We wanted to understand the needs of our customers before really pushing Utrust on social and other channels. Now we opened our platform for any merchant who wants to sign up and the results have been great so far!
Rochelle: $UTK’s FCAS has also increased 76.83% since the beginning of the year, which reflects growth in Utrust’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?
João: I think ratings like FCAS provide a broader sense of how our company is doing, and a way to avoid the hype you see in other projects. It’s important to have a rating of blockchain projects based on the true value of their ecosystem and not only focusing on price.
The metrics I use to measure growth are the number of merchants that sign up to use Utrust as a method of payment, and the volume of transactions on our platform – which are in fact the number of payments executed by merchants.
“I think ratings like FCAS provide a broader sense of how our company is doing, and a way to avoid the hype you see in other projects.”