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Drop the Web3 Buzzwords. Keep the Experiences

Brands continue to experiment with Web3, NFTs, and metaverse experiences but they don’t use those words to describe them anymore. Robert Rose takes a look through marketers’ tech obsessions of the past and emerges with a Web3 investment approach for the future.

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Aired: January 13, 2023

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Hello there, and welcome. Happy New Year – and the first Friday the 13th of 2023. (There will be a second in October, so you’ve got time.) Remember Web3? NFTs? The metaverse? Yeah, what happened with all of that? And how is Web3 going to affect your 2023 marketing planning? Are you ready for the news you need to lead in content marketing? Let’s roll.

Hello everybody. Robert Rose here with the news. It’s what’s new, but – more importantly –what’s important in the world of content marketing. And for the best in best practices – you can always go to

Do you remember 2004? 2005? 2006? We were all trying to figure out this brand-new thing called Twitter, Facebook just opened up to more than just college kids, and, well, we were all going a little … crazy.

It was also the last time we saw a full-version number increase to the web – from 1.0 to 2.0. I’m still not sure why we feel like that’s the way any of this works, but I digress.

Related: Should Content Marketers View Web3 as More Than the Internet’s Next Version?

The tech hype we were all wondering about was this new thing called “web services” that seamlessly connected data and applications across the internet.

Microsoft branded it “.NET.” Magazines, journals, and entire startups were built around it. And, for some reason, it became fashionable for all the startups to start “dis-emvoweling” (Sorry. I couldn’t resist): Flickr, Tumblr, Grindr, Scribd, and Twttr (later known as Twitter).

Here we are in 2023, and it feels so familiar.

At this point just last year, Facebook had rebranded itself as Meta and promised to make the metaverse a thing. NFTs (non-fungible tokens) attracted headlines and eye-popping sales figures. And everyone was trying to understand what it would all mean to their marketing strategy.

Related: Are NFTs Something Marketers Should Care About?  

Back then, I discussed how Web3 technologies like NFTs and the metaverse were ultimately content plays. I suggested marketing departments would be most likely to explore these new developments.

Today, the active experiments are alive and well. But the most interesting part? Well, it might be just how few Web3 buzzwords they use:

  • Starbucks recently launched its Starbucks Odyssey program, a loyalty program that lets customers accumulate rewards and exclusive offers through NFTs. But the NFT acronym appears only once on the learn-more page. Instead, the content focuses on how “digital collectibles” unlock access to “experiential rewards” and “artwork” that can’t be found anywhere else.
  • Nike’s .Swoosh promotes itself as the “home for Nike’s virtual creations.” Members of the digital community can build a collection of digital art, converse with other members, and compete in challenges to “co-create next-gen Nike virtual creations.” .Swoosh is made possible by Nike’s acquisition of Rtfkt (pronounced “artifact.” Where did those pesky vowels go?), a metaverse and NFT design studio. But there’s no mention of NFTs in the copy.
  • During the 2022 holidays, Bloomingdales created a virtual department store for premium brands such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Nespresso, as well as a spa (yes, really) and party room. But nowhere did it use the word “metaverse.” It simply designated it as “immersive shopping.”

So, what’s our take here at CMI? Well – over the last year, I’ve advised more and more of our clients to experiment with content and technologies around Web3. I’ve encouraged them to think of Web3 – without the buzzwords – as a way to provide a functional utility that drives value for the audience. In other words, look beyond speculative investments in collectibles or offering virtual places to visit.

In 2023, the most interesting marketing investments will use NFTs and the metaverse as a content-driven vehicle to deliver something valuable rather than as the valuable thing itself.

Marketers should invest in Web3 technologies as a content-driven vehicle to deliver something valuable, not as the valuable thing itself, says @Robert_Rose Share on X

As we sing a little Gnarls Barkley, we can also remember the old saying attributed to Mark Twain, which goes, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

In 2007, we summed up all this – social media, web services, and lack of vowels – in three words that would sum up our marketing strategies: content, commerce, and community.

Interestingly, the chatter around Web3 is again focusing on those three elements. The difference is who creates the content, what people buy, and where the community exists.

For a little more on this, check out my Rose-Colored Glasses column this week on Content Marketing Institute. You’ll get links to all those examples I talked about and, of course, all the other goodness that CMI has to offer.

For now, that’s 5 minutes of the news you can use to lead your marketing strategy. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, as always, it’s your story to tell – tell it well.

I’ll see you next week.

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