Investment opportunities + hype-free web3 strategies with Mara Chaben.

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Unlocking the Future of E-commerce: Insights from Mara, Hawke Ventures. Discover the Impact of Web3 on E-commerce, Investment Opportunities, Brand Strategies, and the Influence on Big Tech.
Unlocking the Future of E-commerce: Insights from Mara, Hawke Ventures. Discover the Impact of Web3 on E-commerce, Investment Opportunities, Brand Strategies, and the Influence on Big Tech.

We couldn’t imagine a better person to give insight on the future of e-commerce than Mara.

The Hawke Ventures investment team focuses on investing in companies where they can add an unfair advantage by utilizing Hawke Media resources- i.e. their ecosystem and specialized expertise in marketing and marketing technology.

We sat down with Mara to understand how they see the future of e-commerce and how web3 will make an impact.  In this conversation, we cover:

  • Interesting investment opportunities in web3 + commerce
  • How to build a hype-free web3 strategy as a brand
  • How big tech will be affected by web3

What are some of the most interesting things you are seeing in the martech universe related to blockchain/web 3 technology?

It's been interesting to watch Web3 and Blockchain unfold in the marketing technology space.  We're just really starting to see the beginning of how web 3 overlaps with marketing.  I would say the number one trend that we're seeing is NFT commerce infrastructure so brands having the ability to sell NFTs, whether that be through crypto or even purchase an NFT with a credit card.  We're seeing it unfold in Shopify.  They currently have a beta version of their NFT commerce infrastructure.  We're seeing a bunch of other startups just beginning to build this out.

We're also seeing a trend in the lane that Toki is in as well in- tokenization of brands. So the ability for consumers to own their favorite brand or just any brand through the use of crypto technology and Web3.

Just general trends in the marketing technology space- buzzwords that you might hear are “death to third party cookies” and “cost per clicks going way up”.  A lot of brands are turning towards lifetime value of the customer as a solution.  And so tokenization of brands is, I think, going after that solution.  I would say that the ability to really build that relationship with the brand and drive up your lifetime value and wanting to support that brand and rep your favorite brand because you own a piece of it through Web3 technology is a solution that we are seeing right now.

We are starting to see some advertising technology in the Metaverse.  I think everyone has their own opinion and outlook of how this will all unfold, but I do feel that we're still in the baby stages of this and so we have yet to really invest heavily in this space with the hopes of really understanding what will work with the average consumer and what won't work.

What do you think the future of commerce looks like, let’s say, twenty years from now?

How do you think the big tech companies will play in/be affected by the world of web 3/blockchain?

I think that every company will eventually have to think about their web3 strategy, and now is the time to probably start doing that, getting educated, and start thinking of creative ways to integrate Web3 into your product service.  I think that big tech companies will have to adopt to stay relevant. They've always had to adopt to stay relevant. So it will be interesting to see how they innovate, but they're going to have to stay on top of trends.

There has been a lot of hype around web 3 for brands, with some brand utilizing the technology in ways that are more hype-centric versus sustainable.  For example, Charmin (the toilet paper company) launched NFT’s last year.  What aspects of blockchain technology do you think will stick and have verified benefits for brands long term?

What is more interesting to you re blockchain- data ownership or decentralization?

Decentralization is interesting. I think that in theory, the concept is interesting. I think that there still needs to be people who are running and owning and pushing things forward, and that's the problem that decentralization poses owned by a lot of people rather than a few who can make big strides.  I think it's interesting, but I've yet to see a really effective solution in driving forward a brand with the use of decentralization. I've started a company.  You're putting in a sweat equity every single day to own your brand, and so you should own it more than anyone else rather than be more community owned.

What types of brands do you see implementing some of the above web 3 strategies i.e. exclusively Gen-Z, more CPG, marketplace, etc?

So one thing that we've been keeping a pulse on at the Hawke Media side is understanding if brands are asking and turning to Hawke Media, their marketing agency, for Web3 strategy.

The biggest piece of feedback that I've gotten from those on the team that are actually working with brands is that a lot of brand owners, the people who are running the brands, the top and section, don't really know yet about web3.  So I think we're seeing a lot of like, the web3 enthusiasts, and that's where you're hearing so much of the buzz and yet these brands still aren't extremely educated on Web3 and how they can integrate that technology to connect with our customers.  People are starting to think about it and educate themselves but I actually still think it's in the very early days before brand mass adoption and consumer mass adoption.

I would say there are more brands that are more towards geared towards Gen-Z because those are the ones who know the most about it and care the most about it as well.

Any parting words of wisdom for brands looking to do something totally new with their brand, community, customers, strategy, etc.

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