In a world of global communications, the Internet (as a medium) both fulfills and dispels the grandest predictions of so-called futurists. Its ability to transcend borders and instantaneously spread information is true, bypassing the most censorious channels and the most restrictive regimes. Indeed, we learn about legislative and cultural upheaval from social media; we see and read the events, in real-time, responsible for everything from the Arab Spring to the debut of the new iPhone.
But the greatest source of unity is neither political nor religious; it is, instead, economic: The rise of peer-to-peer digital currencies like bitcoins and litecoins (more about anon), which reveal the organic nature of online communities and the international impact of bottom-up change.
This issue is a personal passion of mine, which I have addressed here and here, because I have an interest in the way markets work – the guidance of the proverbial invisible hand – and the broader lessons, for all executives, contained within studying this subject. For example: Alongside the acceptance of bitcoins as a means of payment and as a substitute for greenbacks, pesos, yen, euros or the yuan, there is a corresponding “silver” to this type of “gold”: Litecoins, which networks process differently than bitcoins, with their own exclusive algorithm, establishing a separate price and amount of currency in circulation, compared to bitcoins.
The reason this topic fascinates me, and I offer these words as the Founder and President of Buzzdron Media, a digital marketing and design firm, has everything to do with “organic communications.” In other words, this phenomenon – the creation of alternative currencies, popularized and accepted by users, merchants and major financial institutions – is the result, largely, of word-of-mouth marketing. No advertising campaign can claim credit for this success, no staged event is the parent of this choice and no government is the author of this surge of behavior.
From Organic Growth to Mainstream Acceptance: Managing Rapid Change
The market for litecoins demonstrates many things, but it (like the use of bitcoins) highlights a truth about the Web and the basics of a free market: That control – the sort of distortions and volatility caused by political institutions like Congress or agencies like the Federal Reserve System – is non-existent. Mathematics, not partisanship or inside information or the application of untested theories, is the (lite)coin of the realm, so to speak.
The broader lesson about organic growth and mainstream acceptance has everything to do with credibility. Since mathematics is the ultimate discipline of pure clarity – an equation is right or wrong, period – there is more convenient and faster acceptance for the rise of alternative currencies.
The takeaway point, which is as relevant for a merchant who accepts litecoins as it is for an entrepreneur with a revolutionary product or service, is simple: When something owes its existence to a science – indeed, the language of nature is mathematics – it is easier for a concept to generate mainstream acceptance. The Internet further accelerates this event through people's ready access to email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube videos and other sources of news delivery.
My advice, as both a marketing consultant and executive, is to recognize that the Internet forever eliminates any sense of control about product messaging or the value of a specific good or opportunity. Does this, then, mean a company should abandon its marketing efforts and succumb to the forces of a global crowd? In a word: Never. An effective marketer – especially one who understands what he or she cannot control – also knows what he or she can influence.
Influence and Relevant Information: Be a Trusted Resource
This comment about influence, which is different than control (a luxury no business or marketer has had in decades), involves detail and nuance; an executive or company spokesperson adds depth to a dialogue, correcting any inaccurate assertions or clarifying a positioning concerning, say, a new policy to pay vendors with bitcoins or litecoins, or some other peer-to-peer currency.
That influence is influential – it can attract buyers, increase prices (while avoiding a financial bubble) and improve brand recognition – because it is verifiable material, not conjecture, rampant speculation or untested theory.
In the end, we conclude where we began — with an emphasis on the rapidity of change and the necessity of effective communications.
Call this summons to action a blueprint for leadership, or a master plan for success in a digital economy, but remember the core principles at the heart of this discussion: Facts, freedom, choice and word-of-mouth marketing. These elements foster trust and strengthen credibility, the catalyst behind the rise of bitcoins and litecoins.
Those same ingredients can make a business more successful and visible among consumers. With influence and information, there is no limit to this worldwide conversation.
This guest post is from Hayden Gill. He is the Founder of Buzzdron Media, an innovative digital marketing and design agency. An expert concerning the use of bitcoins for online transactions and e-commerce, Hayden can be reached at [email protected].