MarTech Interview with Reeve Collins, Co-Founder at SmartMedia Technologies (SMT)

Reeve Collins, Co-Founder at SmartMedia Technologies (SMT) chats about the growing power of NFTs and Web3 in today’s digital ecosystem:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Reeve, tell us about yourself and more about the SmartMedia Technologies platform, how has it evolved over the years?

When I look back on my career, I realize that I’ve always been on the very forefront of new technologies. I started my career at the start of the internet boom in ‘97 at the first online advertising agency, Avenue A, which went public during the Dot Com boom for $6.6 Billion dollars. After that, I started a number of other companies in the space until I came upon Bitcoin in 2013. I realized that this technology would have as large of an impact on the world as the internet did.

I dove in and started my first blockchain company, Tether, in 2014 – the first ever stablecoin and the world’s most used cryptocurrency. From there, I co-founded BlockV where we created the first ever NFT platform, and now I’m a co-founder of SmartMedia Technologies, an enterprise grade Web3 platform that fuses adtech with blockchain technology to create market leading consumer activations for top global brands and agencies including Accenture, PepsiCo and Verizon, that supercharge first-party data acquisition, user engagement and loyalty for digital and mobile-first audiences.

How are you seeing the growth and demand for NFTs impact brands and the online world today. Can you talk about some of the ways you’re seeing leading brands use NFTs to drive online impact?

First of all, it is amazing to see all of the brands finally leaning into this space. I’ve been evangelizing it since 2016 and it’s nice to see the world take notice. I think Nike is putting on a real masterclass in Web3 that all brands should be taking notes on. To date, they’ve generated over $1.2 billion in revenue by using their NFT activations to drive secondary sales – people are going looking online for Nike’s NFTs and walking away with hoodies, hats and shoes.

Revenue generated from NFTs doesn’t stop at selling NFTs – that is just the starting point. This technology offers brands a wealth of new ways to drive online impact. Fjallraven is a perfect example of this – they’ve been using our NFT technology under the hood since 2017 to power gamified interactive ad campaigns that have on-boarded over 750,000 customers to their Web3 wallet. Fjallraven now uses this wallet to send consumers sweepstakes, outfit builders and even sell products directly through the wallet – netting them over $3.5m in attributable revenue to date.

How do you feel the future of this space is set to shape up to look like in the near-term?

Now that the initial hype of JPEG NFTs has quieted significantly, I think we’re going to see a big change in the makeup of the space. With speculation dampening, the next big movers are going to be true believers in the utility of the tech – people delivering business solutions that everyone will stand up and take notice of. NFTs will be the foundation of our digital lives and we are just scratching the surface on the use cases to come.

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As elements like the metaverse pick up pace, how do you feel marketers/brands should capitalize on this trend at an early stage?

My feeling is that marketers should be zeroing in on Web3 wallets right now – they’re a powerful new means of driving deeper consumer engagement and 1st party data acquisition that enables brands to instantly measure and reward customer’s loyalty, attention and interest in new product offerings.

As 3rd party cookies are sun-setted, these wallets offer us the ability to not only better understand consumers but build deeper and more meaningful connections with them. Getting in now is key to gaining first mover advantage in this growing market. Brands also need to lean into Metaverse 1.0… which could be a simple upgrade to their site. Customers can click a button to enter into an immersive experience where they can shop with a friend, talk to a salesperson and experience the merchandise in ways never possible before.

What are the five top of mind thoughts/tips you’d share with B2B marketers as they try to navigate complex/crowded marketing environments in today’s time – with regards to how web3 / NFTs / metaverse can help them differentiate themselves?

In today’s world, attention is fragmented and distracted- proliferation of channels, devices and technologies means it’s harder than ever to capture and keep the attention of consumers.  We’ve found that interactive gamified campaigns deliver immersive experiences and subsequent interaction. Businesses that can offer their clients these powerful new methods of engagement are going to stand well above the crowd.

The phasing out of 3rd party cookies is at the forefront of marketer’s minds right now – Web3 wallets, such as those used by Fjallraven, make retargeting and converting potential consumers into purchasers as simple as sending an offer tailored to their preferences straight to consumer’s email inbox. It’s a new silo for retargeting you can offer clients that uses 1st party data acquired through the wallet to incentive interested consumers into performing desired behavior in an equitable manner.

The unstoppable rise of user-generated content, fueled by apps like TikTok and Instagram, has shown us that right now consumer engagement is being driven by entertainment. Businesses like Roblox are using the novelty of metaverse spaces to attract brands to market themselves through entertaining collabs that grab headlines and attention for brands. There’s lots of creative freedom for B2B marketers to come up with unique ideas that differentiate themselves.

Web3 powered loyalty schemes are picking up a lot of traction at the moment, with everyone from airlines to Starbucks launching NFT integrated loyalty schemes as a new way to enhance consumer’s experience when interacting with their brand. With younger audiences placing high value on unique experiences, I’d advise B2B marketers to explore how they can use NFTs to tokengate access to interactive experiences as a new means of driving awareness and interaction for businesses.

Some last thoughts on the future of martech and B2B marketing?

With new technology, comes new opportunities for B2B marketers – I think the explosion in popularity of ‘experiential’ tech over the last couple of years – including Augmented and Virtual Reality, metaverse spaces and NFT technology is an exciting new advancement that’s going to change the way not just marketers, but the entire human race interacts with the digital world. I’m confident that in the future we’ll see a big shift away from screens towards ‘physically’ engaging with advertising, especially if you look at how quickly companies like Meta’s hand tracking and eye-tracking tech are advancing.

From a Martech perspective, imagine a DOOH display in front of a coffee shop that provides you a fun gamified experience where you end up with personalized digital discount vouchers when you interact with it, such as ‘picking up’ AR objects that you’re viewing through your mixed reality glasses.

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Reeve Collins is a long-standing pioneer in both digital marketing and the Bitcoin / Blockchain space. At his first blockchain venture he invented the stable coin as the Co-founder and CEO of Tether, the most used crypto currency in the world. Following this Reeve co-founded BLOCKv, raising $22 million in an ICO to deliver the first ever platform for the creation of NFTs.

Before the Blockchain, Collins founded several successful ventures, with a series of firsts in the online advertising space including being one of the initial employees at Avenue A which went public at the peak of the Internet bubble for $6.6 Billion dollars. Reeve has raised and exited many exciting companies, including Pala Interactive which he raised $70 Million to launch.

Additionally, Reeve is a sought after international speaker and TV and digital broadcaster for  his expertise in the Blockchain world.

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