RGP-000-003: Marketing Campaign and renDAO Marketing Group

Problem and Opportunity

The cross-chain transaction and asset bridging space is rapidly growing, and every month REN has new competitors. Staying visible as a service, fine tuning the pathways leading users to this service and educating as our services grow, is essential for the health of REN.

Solution

To address this problem we are looking to fund a marketing campaign, and to build out a marketing group. With this the goal is to increase visibility and help improve information pathways.

For detailed discussion around this proposal, and our broader vision for the marketing group please see RFC-41 here: RFC-000-041: Funding Marketing Working Group & Marketing Campaign While the essential details have been translated to this RIP, many additional questions around details could be answered in this previous post.

In this proposal are requests for funds for a Stipend and Advertising funds for boot up of renDAO marketing group and launch of marketing campaign.

Benefit

The REN network and its operators are the main target of benefit for this proposal. Increasing awareness, and multiplying pathways towards the use of the services of REN network will drive revenue, increasing TVT and fees generated. Building out tools and improving the sharing of information internally between node operators aids in the health of the network by building an informed and connected node operator base.

Through monthly reports, ad tracking, website tracking and network tracking we will have a good picture on the success of ad campaigns. While we might not be able to know directly when an ad click leads to a cross-chain transaction on REN, we will at least be able to track any increases in visibility and to some cases changes to traffic on our webpages that ads direct to (known as “conversions” in the ad world). To see a sample of some of the info that will be contained in reports see the section on the “presearch” keyword study below.

Risks

The biggest risk for this proposal are in the ad placement that we don’t find the right target users, or that the users we reach with ads don’t provide meaningful increases in revenue, or otherwise the ads fail to add value to REN. There is emphasis on ads testing here however, to eliminate as many unknowns here as possible. The use of several services as part of the marketing plan is to ensure that we have a wider range of audience reaching different pockets of users.

Ad space services also often work with accounts, there is some risk in placing funds into the custody of these services, if something were to happen and the service shuts down. Again the plan includes spreading funds over several services, and beyond this all we can do is stick to reputable ad services where this risk is very low.

Unintended Consequences

Sometimes advertising campaigns, especially when tied directly to the function of a service, can come back to bite you in the ass. An example of this is the BANCOR protocol, which for years has been advertising itself as single sided liquidity with no impermanent loss, a feature which in recent months was removed to prevent the protocol diving head first into a death spiral. Users here, now stuck with accounts deeply reduced in value by impermanent loss have cited this language as false advertising.

In community channels REN users have argued about whether our messaging should include a boast about REN security, the fact that it has been running smoothly without exploits for 2+ years. We would likely lean away from this in our campaigns copywriting to prevent any kind of promise which might be used against us in an unfortunate situation.

Timeline

The funding requested is for a 6 month period. If our efforts are proving to be adding value to REN we will apply to renew for more funds at the end of this period. While Cowboy is already working on a volunteer basis, if funded, full efforts behind this marketing campaign can begin on the 15th of October.

Evaluation plan

Monthly Reports

Reports designed to communicate to the DAO our progress in ad campaigns, current tasks being worked on and transparency around how the budget is implemented.

Included:

Ad, website and network metrics

Other tasks completed

Budget spent

Public Kanban board

Kanban boards are a team organization tool, but it also allows 3rd parties to view at a glance and in detail what tasks are being done, and the current status of completion of each task.

Budget and Approach

Request for funds to pay Cowboy a monthly stipend for a 6 month period for tasks related to marketing. Additional funds requested for “dry powder” for ads and marketing materials.

Requested funds:

Cowboy 6 month stipend

$12000

Presearch ads

$10000

Ads testing (new platforms)

$5000

Ad Deployment (multi-platform)

$10000

Podcasts/Newsletter sponsorships

$10000

renDAO branding

$4000

renDAO social-media bribing

$2000

Educational materials/dune dashboard/community initiatives

$5000

Total

$58000

Budget breakdown

6 month Stipend - $2000 a month to cowboy for:

Work to implement Ads testing/research/deployment/reporting

  • Research
    There are many platforms which accept crypto as payment and work with websites/blogs with primarily an audience of crypto/blockchain users. Research target audience and best copy-writing/campaign materials to capture attention.
  • Testing
    Implement strategies, and digest results. Find the best ad platforms, and most effective strategies for our needs.
  • Deployment
    Chose best ad platforms. Actively manage keywords for target audience, current trends. Manage broad spectrum campaigns and REN news specific campaigns.
  • Reporting
    The sharing of analytics for health of the ad campaign. (see presearch testing report). Communicating work and budget of marketing group

Running Lead on renDAO marketing group

  • Meetings
    Set agenda
    Recording and publishing of meetings
  • Digest DAO suggestions into actionable items
  • Manage tasks
    Work with marketing group to delegate work
  • Implement social media farming
    Bring in discord tip bot (or some other means)
    Set educational campaigns (reply to threads about crosschain transfers, link to REN materials.)
    Tip users who engage within parameters
  • B2B engagements
    Get REN network metrics on Data Analytics platforms
    Get REN network assets listed on Wallet/Portfolio trackers

Ads Breakdown - $35,000 total for ad placement.

Attention space is where the bulk of the cost of this proposal is placed.

$5000 for testing ad platforms.

It’s important to use several ad platforms to make sure we are reaching a range of users. Ad platforms make claims on what each dollar spent will achieve. In order to discover which ad platforms will work best for us in the real world, we must test different platforms. We can measure results based on built in metrics and compare it to our own analytics the target URL (i.e. https://renproject.io/). Platforms with the best results will go to use in our larger campaigns.

$10,000 to deploy after finding preferable platforms

Through testing and available targeting we will deploy to the best platforms for our needs.

$10,000 for Podcast/Newsletter sponsorship

Podcasts and Newsletters can have extremely targeted audiences. This can allow us to be very specific with getting our ads in front of users that for certain have a level of sophistication with using crypto, and get more specific about reaching specific net-worth individuals. From another angle, finding the right outlet could help us reach a very specific audience like DAO participants, developers, etc.

$10,000 for Presearch ads

Presearch is a platform that I have tested over the last year, and over the last 4 months specifically with REN. The results tell me it’s worth deploying capital to, and if in our ad testing we are finding better results somewhere else, we can always unstake our $pre and redeploy on a different platform.

Presearch is a search engine aggregator, and they are building out their platform as a decentralized search engine. Their audience is highly crypto-educated. Below are the results of my testing of the presearch platform over the last 4 months. The first two months I tested mostly extremely targeted keywords, while the last two months I tested many types of keywords, and started implementing trend based keywords.

The thing with presearch, and part of what makes it unique is ads are paid for by “staking” $pre, the presearch token. The advantage here is if the ad platform is not performing, or if the price goes up, we can reallocate all or partial $pre funds to another platform. If it is performing, we can keep staking even beyond this 6 month time frame to further extend the value here.

See the demographics of presearch

Learn about presearch ad staking

See a third party case study here (a bit outdated, but informative)

Presearch Testing YTD

The CPM for this target audience and a text based ad is quite competitive, much better than google, the CPC is more on the average side for “industry” clicks. Overall I think these results are great, and believe we should take testing here to the next order of magnitude to see if we can match or ideally beat these results by covering a larger range of keywords, and a larger percent of the user-base of this platform.

renDAO materials breakdown:

renDAO branding - $4000

Professional logo

Brand Guide

Video bumper/motion graphic logo

renDAO social-media farming - $2000

Build active group for social media engagements in specific campaigns.

Educational materials/dune dashboard/community initiatives - $5000

Build out a full dune dashboard to cover REN ecosystem as thoroughly as is useful.

Budget for educational graphics or videos to be used and shared by the community.

Funds to pay for efforts such as writing articles and other community initiatives

KPI for 6 months

Build implement three sub-ad campaigns

  1. Broad spectrum branding
    Strategy:
    Build up impressions for brand familiarity and product awareness,
    Use existing copy-write/branding for REN
    set click nets targeted for the moment of cross-chain transaction.
    Place one podcast/newsletter sponsorship here.
    Twitter farming to place educational materials.
  2. Singular or group asset focus (I.E Bitcoin users specifically. Or if we have liquidity pools for STABLECOINS).
    Strategy:
    Target asset community websites
    Copy-write to indicate our service for their asset
    Place one podcast/newsletter sponsorship here.
    Twitter farming to place educational materials specific to this asset.
  3. renDAO
    Purpose: To drive traffic to community outreach channels 9Community medium, ren Digest, etc)
    Strategy:
    Build out branding and communication channels
    Target existing REN users and DAO/BUIDL communities
    Ads link to renDAO points of interest (Twitter account, community medium, ren Digest, etc)
    Twitter farming to place educational materials.
    Place one podcast/newsletter sponsorship here.

Marketing funds allocation between strategies:

About Cowboy

I got my start with a creative background and work professionally in video marketing. Over the last decade I’ve created marketing content and worked on campaigns for large non-profits, educational institutions, small businesses and international corporations. Having spent a similar amount of time in the crypto world, I began putting these skills to work in the blockchain space over this last bull run. REN is a top quality project, and I’ve been excited to work with renDAO in a volunteer capacity over the last 5-6 months, and looking forward to implementing this proposal should it pass.

What is needed to implement the proposal.

Payment in two rounds:

Round 1- $35k (12k stipend + 23k marketing funds)

Round 2 - $23k after 3months (marketing funds)

The two rounds are to reduce risk for the DAO, to ensure funds are being allocated towards the ends outlined in this proposed marketing campaign.

Vote (yes/no):

  1. Approve Funding
  2. Reject Proposal
3 Likes

this is exactly how i want to see the dao funds being spent

3 Likes

Thanks for the proposal, @cowboy.

I haven’t participated in any marketing initiatives but would be interested in seeing some more marketing specifics in place before broadly committing funds. For instance, is this campaign related more to RenBridge and/or Ren 2.0? Should it include Catalog? How technical in nature is the campaign? Is the target audience end users or developers? Do you have ideas or samples of content for that audience? Would it be worth consulting Labs on Ren 2.0’s tech specs or their preferred timing for such a campaign?

Can you elaborate on why you think an ad campaign for the DAO itself is needed? Do you think it would help to have members that need to be marketed to to participate?

As a formality, the DAO should be “RenDAO” instead of “renDAO”, as the DAO is of the Ren protocol whereas the lowercase “ren” convention is only used when referring to wrapped tokens.

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Hey David, The primary part of the campaign is focused on branding, so this would follow and amplify the focus of branding that is contemporary with branding/marketing materials that renlabs is producing. The target audience is end users, those that are using a REN based service. The content of the ads will mostly be focused on the REN brand and to highlight the services that are currently live on the network. There could be room for helping with a blast such as the launch of Catalog or other third party dAPPs, but the main focus in the REN brand, to make sure that it is on the tip of the tongue in considering bridging an asset . Throughout this process of building this proposal i’ve been in contact with renMAX to make sure we can be as effective as possible with this campaign, so i’m sure i’ll continue to be in touch with renlabs through out the coming months.

As far as samples of content I touched on this on comment #6 on the RFC:
RFC-000-041: Funding Marketing Working Group & Marketing Campaign - #7 by cowboy but I will repaste here

Took this tweet and turned it into the text ad below.


In my volunteer ad testing so far, these are the types of ads i’ve been running. These are the types of materials that we can get going immediately with little effort. Running banner ads can be similarly simple. Video ads, ads for newsletters or podcasts would take more effort to research design and build.

In this example i’ve linked to renbridge, but when placing ad for impressions we would more likely be focused on the main branding initiatives like REN 2.0 as it becomes a reality, and linking to renbridge in much more targeted ways when trying to catch someone as they are attempting a crosschain transaction.

This main AD campaign is not of a highly technical nature. It is a simple focus on branding to build familiarity, this is about building an emotional trust. While some of the ad pathways we setup here will lead towards gateways of technical information, like https://renproject.io/, the actual messages on the ads themselves will be simple and easy to absorb at a glance. Where we might have space for a bit more technical nuance and logical trust building in this main campaign would be in rented ad space with a larger “surface area” if you will. This would be ad placement in newsletters or in audio-form on a podcast where ads can be larger and have room for more content.

A logical trust of a more technical nature should continue to be built in parallel, but this would fall more under our RenDAO branding/campaign as well as the education materials. This sub-campaign is targeted to developers and our existing/potential DAO members. The focus of this part of the campaign is about access to information, building better pathways to/between our existing technical tools and materials. I see this part of the campaign as a kind of fertilizer, to help support and grow a strong base of developers and node operators for the REN network. Ad space rented here would be highly targeted.

Another aspect to having a focus on a RenDAO marketing is encouraging more users to get involved with outreach. For example we have https://rencommunity.medium.com/ which right now has 50 followers, we’d like to drive more traffic here so that when community contributors want to add value, they see they have an outlet to have their voice be heard. I believe there is a feedback loop here which is valuable to building a strong community.

I have to run at the moment but happy to get into more nuance a bit later.

First of all thank you again for putting this together @cowboy! Very much appreciate all the work you have put in to this, drafting the proposal, soliciting feedback, setting up calls, and doing marketing campaign research out of your own pocket! :clap:

All that being said, I do like to echo some of the concerns that others have raised (as well as maybe bring some of my own) around the timing, scope and goal of the campaign(s). Many of which you already addressed in the RFC where I think you mention its good to start early with building brand awareness, and learn through experimentation which strategies work for our demographic (paraphrasing from memory so feel free to correct and clarify!).

However, I still feel this proposal might be a bit too broad, so much so that its a bit hard for me to keep track. I think I count the following sub-goals/categories:

  • Marketing campaign; divided in three spectra:
    • traffic/brand
    • renAsset focus
    • renDAO
  • Sponsorships (newsletters/podcasts)
  • Social media farming
  • B2B engagement
  • Dune dashboards
  • RenDAO branding

The proposal is very detailed in that it covers a lot of things, but the detail in the individual components is kind of lacking in my view. For example, what is renDAO social media farming? What exactly does “Educational materials/dune dashboard/community initiatives” entail? etc.
If I’m reading the room correctly, this is also where a lot of the questions are coming from that I’ve seen pop up in different places. One could make the argument that each category should be a proposal on their own, especially at these early stages.

Another thing I’d like to point out is that we should keep our CEF income in mind, how much we have currently and what our “runway” is. After funding RenBase there is about ~$150k left. If we fund this proposal there is ~$90k left. Going by the last 4 epochs the CEF receives ~$28k per epoch, or ~$364k per annum. A marketing budget of $58k every 6 months comes down to ~1/3 of the total inflow. If we want to continue the marketing budget at a similar rate after the initial six months, or maybe even higher rate when Ren 2.0 is released, this does not leave a lot of room to fund further proposals.

How would you feel about a more targeted focus, for example, only focusing on the marketing campaign to drive brand awareness and traffic to the Ren bridge and renAssets?

In my view this would have a couple of benefits:

  • More limited scope will be easier to define, set goals and KPIs, and report on
  • More targeted proposal is easier to digest and contribute to for the community
  • Will require a smaller budget that is easier to justify and measure the benefits of
  • A leaner base is easier to build out in the right direction once we have some measure of success
  • Leaves more room to fund other grants/proposals/working groups/marketing down the line

This post is already getting quite long; last thing I’ll mention is that from what I’ve been able to observe I don’t think it has been easy for you to get feedback and setup the proposal in collaboration with the community. Apologies if I’m perpetuating that, or maybe I’m just misreading the room and there is overwhelming consensus in favor of supporting this proposal in its current form…:slight_smile: Maybe we can consider using soft signaling in the form of a forum poll to shape the direction of proposals where useful, I’ve seen other DAOs use this quite effectively.

1 Like

Hey Thomm, thanks for your message.

In my experience it’s just the nature of marketing that it needs to be multifaceted. In this proposal we basically have funds for 3 things.

  • Ad space rental
  • Funds to develop marketing materials
  • stipend for sweat equity

I understand your concern here, it makes sense that it comes off as many moving parts that are hard to keep track of. There has definitely been some challenge here to push through and work with REN as a DAO when there are have been very few standards in place, or precedent for what I’m trying to do here, I’ve had to pave my own way. I’ve tried to be very transparent in this process over the last few months and in writing out this proposal, if anything I think I have gone into too much detail here, if I’m to be honest. There is a lot of information to digest and as you say only more questions behind each bit of detail. Many marketing proposals are kept very simple and would not likely break down the budget in the level of detail that I’ve done. I’ve made it transparent because I am doing this as a community initiative, the range of items on the task list have been built up over many months of digesting ideas from the community and building up ideas through group calls.

As far as the CEF yes we have a tight budget here, I wouldn’t expect a continual ongoing budget of 1/3rd of the annual budget to be spent on marketing but honestly i don’t think that spending 1/3 of what’s left of the CEF at this time on marketing is outlandish at all. I don’t expect our CEF to stagnate at these levels, and a well executed marketing campaign should in it’s nature help ensure that it doesn’t. As an annual budget it would be normal for a sales based company (we are selling a service) to spend 25% of their budget on marketing. However also keep in mind that a good chunk of the budget is going towards reusable items such as the marketing materials, the dune dashboard, the presearch ads (in how funds are staked rather than spent), these are items where the value of them can last long beyond 6 months. This proposal shouldn’t be evaluated on how it might be renewed in the future, but rather how a budget spent this way can shine a light on REN, drive users to REN and strengthen the darknode community to be better connected with each other, educated on the workings of the protocol and informed of current happenings of the DAO. If anything with the recent depletion of the CEF with just one proposal I think it’s even more important to secure funding for marketing. I’m laying out an outline here to be executed on and would like to work with other community members where ever possible.

To your point something like the DUNE dashboard could totally be it’s own proposal. The reason I would ask for funding in a larger proposal made up of many smaller items like this is the process of writing out a proposal for each one of these items is just not efficient at this stage in my opinion, writing these proposals and dealing with all the feedback and voting process, these things take a lot of time. It’s clear there is demand for better metrics in the form of something like the dune dashboard, I recognize it as something that is an important, I know this is a project that i can manage and make happen, i’ve got people I have experience working with that I can hire, and/or I’m happy to work with someone from the community if we can make that happen in an efficient effective way. If you start breaking down all of these items into little pieces then you will end up wasting a lot of time and energy not just for the person proposing the idea, but also the DAO itself which has it’s own limited processing capacity. I briefly touch on the importance of this concept in my RFC, and i think it’s essential we come to understand this as a DAO sooner rather than later, how to build sub-groups for more efficient processing and decision making.

I’m writing this proposal solo, but it comes out of group discussions, and we do already have a group of active DAO members giving feedback, contributing ideas, helping to make contacts and connections. I don’t think that this should be considered that the passing of this proposal as if I’m receiving these funds solo, but that i’m being hired to execute and make these ideas a reality, while keeping in mind there is a group supporting the decision making process, helping to guide and give feedback as fellow DN operators and developers of the REN ecosystem.

Hope that sheds some light on my process and why I’ve arranged the grant proposal this way.

1 Like

I’ve received a few questions here and on the discord to go into a bit more detail on a few of the items on the budget. Over the course of the next two weeks I hope to elaborate a bit more to answer these types of questions.

Question:

could you elaborate a bit on “social media mining”?

The goal with social media mining would be two things:
Build an active group within the community that does outreach on social media (incentivize some community social media engagement)… While spreading some of the “educational content”, the point here would not be to shill REN, but offer our solution with our services when the question comes up.

For example we would set up strict parameters to find threads on twitter where users ask the question “how do I get x-asset onto y-chain?” And to reply with a quick video, or graphic showing how to use renbridge for this transfer.

Essentially we would setup a tipbot in discord and users can share posts where they’ve met our criteria. In return they receive a tip.

there are examples from other projects doing similar things to learn from here.


Question from @DavidPerkins above

Do you have ideas or samples of content for that audience?

I just wanted to expand on my answer here a bit more. I gave an example of how we can stay cohesive with existing branding and messaging to amplify it, above I posted how this might happen with a search based text ad. Building up impressions through visual ads is really important in building brand familiarity (although this ad space is much more expensive per impression). We can use brand guidelines from RenLabs to build ads that fit into their existing branding. A recent blog post hinted at some evolution in the REN branding with the launch of 2.0 so I wanted to highlight that here


This is a simple banner focused on branding. While these graphics aren’t all a part of the current REN brand guidelines, I grabbed and modified graphics from a recent blog post to build this mock-up. In particular something like this is a teaser, meant to build intrigue and excite a viewer emotionally (which ties those emotions to the brand). A banner like this must be simple to be effective as most users it will just sit in the periphery, as they scroll by, it must be able to be absorbed despite this.

Ads like this are focused on impressions and click through rates are usually low. This is one tool to prime potential customers, to get it into the minds of crypto users so that when we present them with a pathway to using our service, targeted to the moment a user is making a cross-chain transaction, that they already have an emotional connection to our brand, resistance from uncertainty is reduced and they can feel comfortable trying our service as a protocol they now have some familiarity with.

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Thank you for the detailed response. This does clarify a lot, especially the part on how many of these costs are one-off and we will be able to re-use this in to the future clears up many questions or concerns. You have my vote :wink:

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On the latest community call, Starting at 16:00m Max and I have a discussion about marketing, this marketing proposal, and additional questions from the community.

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@cowboy, I’m very impressed with the detail laid out in your proposal, from where it started to what it has developed into.

I share some of the same concerns as @DavidPerkins & @Thomm have laid out, particularly with regard to the timing (i.e. we are in the process of transitioning from Ren 1.0 to 2.0 and without H2H enabled for BTC which is our main use case) and what overall we are trying to achieve with the targeted Marketing Campaign (understand that it is mainly around brand awareness).

With that said, you’ve done an excellent job addressing these points in your responses in this RGP and I am on board with your proposal. I would much rather see the community funds be used to fund a grassroots attempt at marketing (something our project has lacked since inception) by a trusted community member than incentivise some ponzinomics-esc liquidity pool (much better to form partnerships with others and have them use our tech).

As you have said, some of these costs will be one-offs, and like you, I fully expect the community fund to grow and not remain stagnant.

I’m excited to see the further development & execution of this marketing campaign, you clearly have the skills and vision to be able to execute such a proposal.

2 Likes

Here is a link to the snapshot vote:

https://snapshot.org/#/ren-project.eth/proposal/0x3465ae164cd5c8994423437e2c746e18814a8854c2765823cbd51d42037c7e80

The proposal was accepted, and the first payout transaction has been sent, which can be found here: Yield ops call #009 - 18 October 2022

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For verification purposes, and any inquiries, my E-mail is:

ren.dao.cowboy@proton.me