TokenReporter: How to market an ICO in 2018

Eric Skiff of Tanooki Labs joins us this week with a post about our event last Monday. We’ll be holding our next event on May 23 in Manhattan. More information as we firm up the details!


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At Monday’s PitchOff event, Robert Green of the Ripple Collective joined us to talk to the audience about his experiences marketing ICOs in today’s marketing and regulatory environment. With a number of ICOs under his belt and a few running currently, he’s got a deep understanding of what it takes to move the needle, and how to get the word out in 2018 as social media sites clamp down on ICO ads.

I’ve done by best to capture the spirit of his answers to the audience Q&A below!

Does it take millions in pre-funding just to market your ICO? What’s the bare minimum you need?

It’s not just about putting up a website and publishing a whitepaper, and it’s not just the paid ad spend either. The level of communications you’re doing to the public is really important, you have to get your message out across lots many different channels in Europe and China. You should also be translating your white paper into Korean, simplified and traditional Chinese, etc.

You also should ensure that your translation are accurate by checking with native speakers.

There are experts out there who can help make sure that you’re hitting all these points and doing what you need to, and I would strongly recommend working with one.

One other thing to caution you about - if you have an idea that’s good and you think you can raise money, barnacles will grow. I used to raise money for films, and the problem was the same. The same people who used to say i’ll give you 10M, but then actually give you 5M and steal 5M are back now in this world. And I’m not speaking metaphorically about “people” these are literally the same people. Make sure you trust your investors and you know their history.

What traits do you need to do an ICO?

Anyone looking to do an ICO should be aware that this is an energy intensive exercise. You and your staff will be working 7 days a week 16 hours a day over the course of the ICO. You also need to prepare to give the ICO your entire attention. Losing product focus during that time is a major risk.

What does the ICO space look like next year?

I think the next 6 months really the trough of Disillusionment. Some ICOs will fail over next few months, and the SEC is really going to come down hard on fraud and companies that didn’t do things properly.

What does it cost to market an ICO end to end. Is it variable?

It’s not that variable. it comes down to the media buy. People do their due diligence via review and listing sites, and in today’s market, they way you get those is that you pay for them. It’s not a healthy system, but this is the way it is.

The crypto reporting sites are largely all pay to play… except for John [Biggs, of TokenReporter and TechCrunch]. I’ve really respected their reporting because it’s clear that they’re holding everyone to a high standard and not pulling punches.

Where is ad spend going with social ICO ads being banned?

Well, at the moment, it’s still running. Some of the bans haven’t come into effect yet, and we ran a TON in the past 2 months. so it’s not done yet. Run your ads in all the markets your targetting, including Australia. You’re going to want to spend at least 250k in ads.

You’re also going to want to do airdrops in telegram giving away tokens, to attract people to your telegram channel and create buzz.

Where do you see this all heading from a marketing perspective?

I think there are going to be a lot more verticals. Real Estate, Entertainment, etc. From my perspective, the marketing effort is all going to move to speak to people in their own sector.

As an example, there’s been a lot of movement in the real estate space. Co-Op living in new york is not so different from how tokenized ownership works. This is realistic, interesting, useful application of the BlockChain and a good reason for a token to exist.

I think any sensible use of tokens to leverage an asset will do well in in the coming period.