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Just a few short months ago, brand marketers were feeling the heat to bring their companies into Web3 with lightning speed.

Today, cooled by the “crypto winter,” some may be thinking it’s time to put those plans into a deep freeze.

That would be a mistake: The current detour on the path to a mainstreamed Web3 in general, and metaverse in particular, presents an outstanding opportunity. Here’s why.

While others are pronouncing the demise of crypto, those who honor the history of transformative technologies know it’s early and detours are to be expected.

In 2000, Amazon shares lost 80% of their value. Headlines like “ How the internet’s biggest success story turned sour” littered newspapers and the scarred Internet.

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, was undaunted. “Ouch. It’s been a brutal year,” he wrote to shareholders. And after a slew of data points defending the health and promise of the business, concluded: “As the famed investor Benjamin Graham said, ‘In the short term, the stock market is a voting machine; in the long term, it’s a weighing machine.’ Clearly there was a lot of voting going on in the boom year of ‘99 – and much less weighing. We’re a company that wants to be weighed, and over time, we will be.”

The rest, of course, is history.

As we now know, the presumed death of the Internet (the “ bubble”) turned out to actually be what is referred to in technology adoption as “the chasm” – or that murky period during the transition between early adoption and mass adoption.

Today, it’s not hard to view the current state of Web3 in similar terms. While there are headlines aplenty around the imminent demise of crypto and jabs from late-night comedians, there’s also an extraordinary amount of smart money behind blockchain technologies … an incredibly passionate community of entrepreneurs, developers and investors … and the foundation is in place for an explosive wave of innovation.

Make no mistake about it: while crypto may be a speculative investment asset, blockchain is a proven, transformative technology that’s here to stay. So backing off now is no more than a surrender of critical time.

While others are “in hibernation,” brands can now be thoughtfully creating their use cases, strategic plan, and testing roadmap.

As is often heard on Wall Street, be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. So while sentiment may have shifted for the time-being, thus tempering the urgency to do something, savvy Web2 brands are leveraging the fear-driven pause to get smarter on Web3, build their business cases and strategies, and develop a testing roadmap to validate (or not) their hypotheses.

Key starting point for that, of course, is to have insightful AI data. For example: how are prospects and current customers currently engaging in Web3? What are their expectations for your brand? Where can you drive incremental revenue … and exponential growth?

One way to get that data is with a an on-chain analytics company like Chainalysis or Coin Metrics. Likewise, Absolute Labs, a “Wallet Relationship Management (WRM), can provide insights, identify actionable segments, and build communication flows to test their viability and gain critical learnings.

It’s not just about being first. It’s about being better.

While some Web2 companies are looking to shoehorn Web3 into their existing go-to-market strategies, innovative marketers can create new ways to entice, engage and enrich their prospects and customers.

For example:

Spirits brands, which have long marketed on-premise (bars and clubs) and off-premise (retail), now have an entirely new “playground” – in the metaverse, or “in-verse,” if you will.

Sports marketers, which have long engaged their fans with heavy doses of passion can now literally make them tokenized owners of their clubs and franchises – thus, quite literally, deepening their sense of investment and loyalty.

Apparel marketers, which have long leveraged iconic personalities to elevate their brands in the minds of their consumers can now “outfit” those consumers directly and make them iconic personalities in their own right.

Automobile marketers, which have long been dependent on TV and web video to create lust for their latest model-year offerings, can now airdrop invitations to enticing videos, vintage collectibles, and virtual test drives.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Incredible opportunities like these are “generational” and, of course, take time to plan and execute.

So, yes, the time to build your Web3 presence is now. It’s estimated that there are 100 million crypto wallets today, about 1% of which own NFTs. Similar estimates point to 1 billion wallets by 2031.

Chances are good that, five years from now, we’ll look back at the 2022 crypto winter as a pothole on the road to marketing transformation. Brands that get ahead of the curve now will most certainly go faster and get farther than their competition.

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