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An Exclusive Interview With The CMO Of DIBBS – Ben Plomion

Today we have the CMO of Dibbs, Mr. Ben Plomion, to tell us more about his journey and what inspires him to work on such a type of project. Start diving into the question and answer session…

Could you tell us about your background and experience in the tech industry, especially in web3 and decentralization?

I have over two decades of experience in marketing and sales. Before joining Dibbs, I was the Chief Growth Officer at GumGum, a contextual advertising company, where I led the North American sales, customer success, and operations teams. I successfully launched GumGum’s In-Gaming division as well as a suite of Connected TV and social media products. Before GumGum, I held a variety of marketing leadership positions at Magnite (formerly Rubicon Project) and General Electric, where I helmed the company’s global digital media practice. I am a regular marketing contributor for Forbes as well as a thought leader and enthusiast of all things related to NFTs and Web3.

What role does the CMO play in a web3 project, and how should marketing and communication strategy be approached?

Increasing adoption for Web3 is going to be similar to what we experienced 15 or so years ago with the emergence of Web2, which is the need to overcome the uncertainty that comes with anything new. CMOs are now tasked with bridging the gap between Web2 and Web3. We see NFTs as a gateway to Web3, and developing an NFT strategy is easier than it looks. My best advice for brands is to look at their physical collectibles as a first step to see if those can be converted into an NFT for fans to gain digital access to. For instance: Gucci managed to see a $3,000 Gucci bag in Roblox for more than the cost of the IRL bag. At Dibbs, we are very bullish on the opportunity brands have to reach and connect with their digital-first consumers through NFTs. Progressive marketers are striving to create hyper-engagement with their users, and NFTs are the perfect example of that.

In what ways do you foresee the adoption of web3 technologies evolving in the next 5-10 years, and how is your project positioning itself to capitalize on these trends?

NFTs are widely seen as the fuel (or currency) that will bring Web3 communities together. At Dibbs, we provide brands with a simple way to dip their toes into Web3 by tapping into something they are already familiar with: their collectibles. Large IP holders can convert their physical objects of cultural value into enhanced digital twins (NFTs) in an easy and safe manner. Their users can then trade these NFTs on various marketplaces and social media platforms and at any point, the physical item can be shipped to them. These IP holders and brands can then create Web3 communities of users who share a passion, which are usually token-gated, meaning users must have an NFT to access them. The benefit to brands is that they can explore Web3 without the reputational risks, and creating NFT-backed collectibles is a powerful way to explore the capabilities of Web3. 

With Web3, I’m excited about the opportunity for users to take back control of their privacy while being empowered to interact directly with other users in the absence of a middleman. Web3 brought two important characteristics into practice via blockchain technology. First, blockchain is trustless; because transactions are automated, there’s no need to trust a third party. Secondly, blockchain is permissionless, so transactions happen without the approval of a governing authority. This empowers us to build new digital capabilities that are designed with the interest of users in mind and without the complexities that come with third parties and governing bodies.  As a marketer, I can’t wait for the day we can build a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) of users who help our company make better decisions for our clients based on radically transparent input from our clients. 

Do you have any insight into the unique marketing challenges that come along with web3 projects, and how you deal with them?

Web3 presents both challenges and opportunities for brands today. For those unfamiliar with the technology, the challenges today are not dissimilar to the ones we faced with the emergence of Web2, which was that it was scary for brands to give up control and allow users to freely post comments on social media about their experience. Web3 brings similar levels of uncertainty, however the opportunities are vast. Building trust between brands and consumers is the key to being successful with Web3, therefore brands need to leverage existing affinity to create greater stickiness within their communities. 

How do you prioritize the needs and wants of different stakeholders, including developers, users, and investors, in your marketing efforts?

I subscribe to the idea that clients come first and that once the needs of our clients have been met, everyone benefits from it. We are in the process of collecting extensive client feedback and their insights will inform how the new evolution of our product would look and how we would go about marketing it. This in turn will determine how we must prioritize our engineering and commercial efforts. 

What makes your web3 projects successful, and what kind of marketing campaigns have you successfully implemented?

Dibbs has gained unparalleled experience in the Web3 ecosystem via our real-time, blockchain-enabled marketplace for collectors. Our marketplace originated with sports collectibles and has since expanded to include pokemon cards, comic books, and more. Over the past few years, we’ve gained valuable insight into NFT ownership and how consumer sentiment has developed – and evolved – around the technology. For instance: we discovered that 84% of NFT adopters would purchase NFTs if they were redeemable for physical items and that 60% want to collect NFTs to be used in future digital innovations like the metaverse, video games, etc. We also analyzed OpenSea’s top 100 collections data and discovered there’s a growing interest in NFT utility types beyond PFPs, particularly content, events, and rewards distribution. Web3 and decentralized technologies are evolving everyday but we are using our resources to understand it as much as we can.

How do you keep up with the fast-paced and constantly evolving landscape of web3 and decentralized technologies, and how do you ensure that your marketing strategies stay relevant?

Since joining Dibbs less than a year ago, I have run a NFT marketplace, read dozens of books, and listened to more than 100 podcasts just to get up to speed on blockchain. I’ve also talked with other brands and companies in the Web3 space in order to understand what consumers are looking for, or shying away from, in the fast-paced Web3 community. 

Dibbs’ research, the NFT Sentiment Report, also gave us valuable insight into how consumers want to engage with NFTs today and in the future. It’s important to note that the NFT industry is largely pseudonymous where NFT holders can be hard to reach, therefore this data was extremely valuable to understanding consumer sentiment around NFTs today and where the industry is headed into the future. In addition to the majority of respondents being interested in NFTs that were redeemable for physical items, the data also uncovered that 60% of respondents would purchase an NFT from a brand they love and that nearly half feel NFTs and cryptocurrency should be regulated similarly to financial services to protect consumers. This is particularly important data to note as we engage with brands and marketers that want to capitalize on the rise of digital assets but also seek a secure end-to-end tokenization platform.

How do you approach community building and engagement within the web3 space, and what strategies have you found to be effective in fostering a strong and active community around your project?

The concept of digital communities emerged in Web2 with social media. As we observed back then, there were clear winners and losers as brands that didn’t engage with users, or took too long to develop their community management practices, were disadvantaged. Web3 is an acceleration of that trend. With COVID, consumers all over the world took refuge in online communities, and the desire to bond with people who have similar interests has never been stronger. What’s different with Web3 is that users are demanding a piece of the action. Consumers who purchase NFTs to access token-gated communities are looking for more than connections. They are looking for ownership in the community and sometimes in the brand that powers them.

For example, I belong to the ‘Adidas Into The Metaverse’ community and like my fellow members, I have the ability to share my opinions about the community in Discord. I’m even able to vote on the choice of colors for the next swag drop. Some brands take this to another level and enable their users to make decisions when it comes to a brand narrative or even creative process. For example, members of the ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ community can directly influence the script for the next show. With Web3, brands that engage with users in an authentic and genuine way will win on several fronts: creating long term bonds with fans, translating real-time insights into the product roadmap, and delivering specific offers and promotions that users actually want.

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