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Growing Your Business in a Blockchain World

There is a massive wave of change on the horizon, and most people don’t even know it yet. We are on the cusp of the age of Blockchains and Decentralized Systems, and maybe you have a small but important sensation telling you that something big is happening.

I’ve been exploring this controversial and innovative subject for a number of years now, and I can honestly tell you it’s like being in on a huge secret. Blockchain is going to recreate our world in a way that makes us more secure, more trusting, more cost-effective, and more inclusive. But in the short term we’re about to see some serious disruption take effect.

Blockchain in the Mainstream

On the latest episode of the Microsoft Partner Network podcast I talk with host, Rachel Braunstein, about how blockchain is making its way into the mainstream already.

At its most basic, blockchains are a distributed ledger that enable a peer-to-peer, immutable, highly secure method of transaction without a central intermediary. You’ve likely heard of the blockchain technology as it relates to cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. But it’s so much more than that.

As I explain in my eBook, The CMO Primer for the Blockchain World, there is a widespread and growing loss of trust in brands and institutions on a global scale. The blockchain is technology’s trust building response. Large corporations including JP Morgan Chase and even Walmart are already making investments and rolling out implementations built around this revolutionary technology. There is increasing momentum around mainstream adoption, even if it’s not obvious to the public right now, but soon your customers will all but demand the security, transparency, and privacy the blockchain allows.

How Blockchain Enables Trust

As I discuss in the podcast, blockchain is the technological response to the massive loss of consumer trust brought about by the financial crisis of 2008. That trust matters, because as customer expectations continue to skyrocket, brands are struggling to keep up. The arrival of social and mobile-empowered customers has increased the pressure on companies to deliver truly great customer experiences. Blockchain enables trust in these key ways:

  • Greater confidence in the integrity and accuracy of the data being used (for customer insights, for financial transactions, etc.)
  • Perpetual access to customer data will become more difficult to obtain
  • Identification of behavior patterns across an ecosuste will be more challenging
  • Expectatons of a frictionless experience will increase

What that means from a business perspective is that you need to actively measure CX and how it connects to revenue, costs, and risk, otherwise you’ll be missing out on important opportunities to prove your worth as a brand and as a business partner.

Rethinking Business in a Blockchain World

As I’ve said, blockchain is powerful because it enables customer trust. But at the same time, it will also give rise to a new set of competitors with vastly different business models than what works in today’s market. For partners looking to succeed in a blockchain world, you need to think strategically about how you are going to market your company as customer expectations are changing. Consider these three questions:

  1. How does blockchain as a "trust machine" offer marketers an opportunity to differentiate and gain competitive advantage?
  2. What are some of the opportunities and initial use cases for marketing in a blockchain world to drive greater ROI?
  3. What might be the long-term impact of blockchain adoption on how marketers understand ideas such as customer experience and branding?

Each of these questions are important because the implications and potential of blockchains and decentralized protocols on the depth and breadth of marketing are vast. There will be even more to explore and learn in the months and years to come.

Because at this point, no one knows all the answers about the impact of blockchains on businesses as we know them. This is only the beginning of an exploration of how these technologies will impact the market and help companies reengage with customers in the not-too-distant future.  

For more about how I see blockchain revolutionizing business, check out the first episode of the new Microsoft Partner Network podcast series, Hacking the Future. Subscribe for weekly downloads of amazing conversations with industry experts and thought leaders on the cutting edge of business and technology. Download past episodes of the Microsoft Partner Network podcast on iTunesSoundCloudiHeartRadioGoogle Play Music, and YouTube.

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How is your business getting on board with blockchain and other emerging technologies? Let us know here!