In this episode, Stacy sits down with Mimi Slavin, the head of marketing and business development at Greenfence Consumer. The two discuss marketing and promotions on Blockchain and how this technology is enabling new ways to provide value, monetize IP’s, and secure two-way value exchange.
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Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer, marketing, and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform, for top experts to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today.Stacy Jones: 00:16
While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes of time, energy or money. Whether you are doing a DIY approach, or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Speaker 2: 00:30
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. Here is your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy Jones: 00:35
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today. I want to give a very warm welcome to Mimi Slavin, the Head of Marketing and Business development at Greenfence Consumer, where she helps bring the value of the blockchain to top entertainment IP holders, in order to create strong direct consumer relationships while still respecting today’s growing need for consumer privacy and control.Stacy Jones: 00:54
I’ve known and worked with Mimi for the last 20 odd years. She’s been the head of global marketing partnerships at DreamWorks, SVP Marketing at CBS Films, an SVP in Warner Brothers Pictures promotions and she’s just fantastic. You will definitely want to stay tuned.Stacy Jones: 01:07
Today, we’re going to talk about marketing promotions as a blockchain, and how this revolutionary new technology is enabling new ways to provide value to consumers, monetize IPs and provide a safe and trusted way to conduct a two-way value exchange. We’ll learn what’s worked from Mimi’s experience, what maybe could be avoided, and where others are missing the mark.Mimi Slavin: 01:23
[inaudible 00:01:23].Stacy Jones: 01:23
Mimi Slavin: 01:25
Hi, great to be here.
Stacy Jones: 01:27
So happy to have you here today. I would love, love, love for you to give everyone a bit of a background of, what got you to where you are today? A little bit of your history.
Mimi Slavin: 01:38
Sure. I ask myself that often. You sort of read my bio, so you know a little bit about kind of where I’ve been, but how did I get here? I spent a large part of my career in the studio system. I started in more traditional marketing, did this sort of MBA thing. Worked for Nestle for five years, and then went to the dark side, as we like to call it.
Mimi Slavin: 02:05
Started on the home entertainment side, because that was kind of the closest to consumer packaged goods and then went over to theatrical, and I’ve built my career that way. In 2016, when Comcast bought DreamWorks, and my role was already filled by somebody else and I was unable to knock them off the throne. It was time to re-evaluate what was I going to do? There were some personal stuff going on, that had me thinking about, “Okay, what does the next phase of my career or my life look like?”
Mimi Slavin: 02:46
Tech has been a very big area, and there so much discussion. I remember finding myself in some of the marketing meetings, and listening to our digital people talk about things and use words. Sometimes I suspected they were making them up, just to make sure that we all felt a little bit inferior and we had some job security. Other times I was very intrigued by what they were talking about, and I thought it would probably be a really good idea for me, after so many years in the studio system, to look at expanding and broadening my experience a little bit. I happened to have a very close friend, [inaudible 00:03:26] name Jonas Hudson who is the co-founder at Greenfence. I used to babysit him, not anytime recently, but when we were kids. When we were little kids, I was five years older than he and at the time that was a big difference, it’s not now. I used to babysit him and his brother. Then I hired him at Warner Brothers many years later, and we stayed in touch all those years.
Mimi Slavin: 03:51
Then I knew he was doing blockchain. I called him up, and I said, “You got to explain this to me.” It took him about four hours to get me to really understand it. Then once I did, it was like a light bulb went on. I was like, “Oh, I totally get that. I completely see where this fits in with entertainment. I have an idea. Let me make a couple phone calls.” Really, honestly, within three weeks we put together our first deal, which was with Atom Tickets and Deadpool 2. We created digital collectibles that Atom Tickets gave to fans who had seen the movie. It was kind of a surprise and delight campaign, and they were very pleased with the results. They got better open rate than they had seen on a lot of their free movie ticket offers, so they were excited about it. We were really excited. It was kind of like off to the races from then. I sort of became the non-technical person working with Greenfence to help bring the blockchain to the entertainment community. That’s kind of how I ended up here. That’s how I ended up at Greenfence.
Stacy Jones: 04:56
Now you’re in a super somewhat technical role.
Mimi Slavin: 04:59
Well, so I’m in a super-technical industry. My role as we like to call it is, sort of the block fence for dummies representative. I actually understand a lot more of the technical part of it than I’m able to really explain to people in a way that they’d understand.
Mimi Slavin: 05:22
What my role has evolved into is that, I sort of give people the sort of general overview, what they really need to understand in order to be able to sort of grasp the concept, and how it can work for them. I really try to get people to focus on not so much worrying about the actual technical, how does it actually work, and really look at what does it actually deliver?
Mimi Slavin: 05:46
The way I liken it is, if you remember back in the days, this is going to date me a little bit, just a little bit. But if you remember when AOL made a big push to get everyone on email, right? Everybody was getting those disks, and it was very exciting. You would put in the disk. You would download the software, and do some magic on your computer. Then you would hear that or those magic words, “You’ve got mail,” and it was usually an introduction from whoever. You’d set up your email account, and you would start emailing everyone, “Hey, I have email, do you have email?”
Mimi Slavin: 06:19
It was just very exciting and nobody stopped and said, “Well, how does this get into my computer? Is there a little person in there doing something that I need to know about? What’s this going to mean? People were just so excited to have email. I sort of liken it to that. What the blockchain enables, it’s really basically a decentralized ledger. It allows for us to take assets on like a JPEG, that would normally be able to be very easily copied and have no intrinsic value. By putting a decentralized ledger behind it with individual blocks, so that there is a unique code, you are able to mint. You can take the same creative, mint it 500 times and even if it looks exactly the same, you have 500 unique assets. That’s really what the blockchain enables. Yes, there’s a lot that goes into it, in terms of what does minting mean and how is that done, but the reality is, if you’re doing this for marketing purposes or for collecting purposes, or promotional purposes, you don’t really need to understand all of the mechanics that go behind it.
Mimi Slavin: 07:38
When people are building websites, they didn’t need to understand every single technical aspect of it. They needed to understand just enough, so that they could work collaboratively with whoever was building the website, and give them the assets they needed in the correct format. That’s kind of the way I look at it.
Stacy Jones: 07:58
Okay, so you said it’s basically… it’s encoded blocks that are being assigned to each item, that is going to live in this digital universe. Where in real life can we see an application? Where is it that… You and I talked offline earlier about coupons. We talked about different things, along the lines of something that might need to have a unique identifying code of some sort. Is that where it would be living in or around [crosstalk 00:08:30]-
Mimi Slavin: 08:31
For us, it’s collectibles and coupons and rebates. The coupons and rebates are… It’s sort of the not-sexy part. Right now, most coupons and rebates are not on the blockchain, so they’re subject to fraud. If you think about it, if I’m Nestle and I want to produce a thousand coupons digitally, I have to start production at a thousand coupons, because that’s all I’m budgeted for. Maybe I’m going to be a little bit more… Take a little bit more risk, and I’ll produce 2000 with the assumption that I’m going to get a 100% redemption. With the blockchain, if they’re individually minted, once it redeems, it’s basically dead and you can track it. You know exactly who… When I say, you know exactly who has used it, you know a hash of who has used it. You don’t have any personal identifiable information. You’re not invading anyone’s privacy, but you’re able to control the amount of cash basically that you’re putting at risk.
Mimi Slavin: 09:43
Instead of putting the coupon out there and hoping for a 98% failure rate, so that you get the redemption that you can afford, you can put it out there and really work toward 100% success because you’re only putting out there what you can afford to redeem.
Stacy Jones: 09:59
Mimi Slavin: 10:00
[crosstalk 00:10:00] fraud.
Stacy Jones: 10:01
Would this be similar to, so we were doing a partnership at Hollywood Branded with a talk show. We had a digital micro-site running where the client had a coupon. Everyone was super excited, because the paper goods product was now not just sold at Walmart, it’s now going to be sold everywhere. Someone picked up that coupon code, and they posted it online. Literally before the contest even started the sweepstakes, they ran the code down. It was like you could basically get 18 rolls of toilet paper. It wasn’t that, but something like, for $2. It was amazing. It was a fantastic deal. Is something like that blockchain, would that be able to keep that type of thing from happening?
Mimi Slavin: 10:41
Oh yeah, that wouldn’t have happened if it had been on the blockchain.
Stacy Jones: 10:47
Okay, so that’s something where marketers and advertisers really could benefit, because literally I mean, we defunded the people who with the coupon code, that put it out there on all of these different sites. [crosstalk 00:10:58]
Mimi Slavin: 10:58
[inaudible 00:10:58] Yeah. What happens is, it increases the liability to the company, because you’ve got all these coupons out there. That’s why blockchain is so valuable. You would not have had that happen with the blockchain. For one thing they can’t reproduce them.
Stacy Jones: 11:14
Mimi Slavin: 11:15
And there’s a cost for them to reproduce them. That’s the other thing. Right now, it’s free to just make a bunch of copies of a JPEG of something. When you mint a coupon on the blockchain, it doesn’t cost a lot, but it costs something. Actually, it’s really interesting that with the… and I don’t remember the guy’s name, but the guy who was one of the early inventors of the internet, not Al Gore but the real guys, who said that he wished he had done it differently. One of the things that he wished he had done was attached some type of just small transaction fee to emails, because it would have basically eliminated spam.
Mimi Slavin: 11:53
Think about it, if it costs you… even if it costs you 0.02 cents to spam people. The whole reason spam works is because they’re doing it in these massive quantities, right? Well, that adds up real quick. Same kind of thing that the blockchain is fantastic for managing budgets, for eliminating fraud and you can track and trace back to any bad actors that are trying to do something like what happened there in your situation.
Stacy Jones: 12:26
Right, and I mean that was just a bummer for the client, because they are all excited about launching it and-
Mimi Slavin: 12:32
No, and you wanted to get into the hands of the people who are really going to become customers, right?
Stacy Jones: 12:38
Mimi Slavin: 12:40
That’s part of the great power of the blockchain.
Stacy Jones: 12:41
Okay, so blockchain, if you paint us this picture. We know that it lives in the digital universe. Do you interact with it just like a website? Is that kind of the front page of it?
Mimi Slavin: 12:55
Yes, it goes into what’s called a wallet. For lack of a better term, we refer to it as a wallet. And so similar to if you go on any app for any of, say you shop a lot at Target, you have a Target app, you have a Kroger app or whatever, that it can be housed in something like that or it can be created when you accept a digital asset. If someone sent you… So if I sent you a digital asset, hey Stacy, Mimi just sent you a Deadpool card and you said, “Great, I’m going to take that.” When you accept it, it actually creates a wallet for you that lives in the cloud really doesn’t take up any space on your phone and it just sort of houses that asset for you, and it can’t be hacked because it’s got too many… You’d have to hack about half the world’s computers at the exact same time in order to break the block chain. It’s super simple and our solution, but Greenfence’s solution in particular, is extremely consumer friendly.
Mimi Slavin: 14:05
Which is maybe a good time just to mention that the first 11 people that when they listen to this podcast, if they email me at Greenfence, and my Greenfence email is Mimi, M-I-M-I, .Slavin, S as in Sam, L-A-V-I-N @greenfence.com, I will send them… I’m going to send out 10 Trailers From Hell block-chain collectibles and one Deadpool card.
Mimi Slavin: 14:35
Right now the Trailers From Hell collectibles have been selling for about 15 or $20 a piece. We have right now, there’s an auction on a Deadpool card, I think it’s up to $2,600 and a bunch of the cards have sold for three and $400. There’s a definite market out there and right now there is very limited numbers of IP that’s actually out there.
Stacy Jones: 15:02
That’s awesome. That is very kind of you. So listeners, make sure that you actually reach into your phone right now and send her an email for this. Let me ask you… So, okay, it is literally, and I’m not a collectible person, I’m not someone who goes out and-
Mimi Slavin: 15:18
I’m not either.
Stacy Jones: 15:19
Yes, I don’t have a comic book collection. I don’t have a wall of cat bobble heads. I don’t have all of those types of-
Mimi Slavin: 15:25
I’m actually comforted to know that.
Stacy Jones: 15:26
Yes, right. Isn’t that great? I have other things that I do I’m sure but that’s okay. I don’t have that collectible thing. Usually when you think of collectibles, when you think of something tangible that you can touch, that you can pull, that you can feel. This is opening up a whole other world where these are digital collectibles, right.
Mimi Slavin: 15:45
[inaudible 00:15:45] Well, there’s a couple things. One, it’s much easier to authenticate a digital collectible than a physical collectable, believe it or not, because for the physical collectibles you need someone who’s truly an expert and you have to actually be able to trust that expert after you are able to find that expert.
Stacy Jones: 16:04
Right. Like all of my husband’s… He is a collectible and I enforce this. He has a wall of sports stuff and on the back of the sports stuff there’s codes and there’s registered by here, registered by there and who knows if it’s really registered because when I buy it, I don’t really know.
Mimi Slavin: 16:19
Right. So there’s that and we’re also talking about a whole new generation of people who live and die on their phones. Everything they do on their phones. Even if you think about the way the music business was revolutionized with iPod, it wasn’t even just, hey. I want to be able to walk around with my music, right? It was, I want to be able to walk around with my music and I want to be able to show you how cool I am by showing you what my playlist is, right. Kids aren’t like, and especially now, like my kid, he just graduated eighth grade and I’m not kidding, this is the first year and when I say in the last three months, it’s the first time he’s had kids over to the house because they get on their video games and they’d get on their headsets and they think that they’re having like a play-date or whatever they call it because they’re playing video games together. They’re in completely different cities, completely different houses. They’re not used to like, “Hey, come over. I’m going to show you my wall of whatever.” Then it’s all about, “Oh yeah, check out what I’ve got on my phone. I’ve got this game. I’ve got this collection. I’ve got…”
Mimi Slavin: 17:30
So I think that we have a world that’s very, very mobile centric. I think it’s sort of an inflection point in terms of people being much more interested in whatever they can port with them and the reality is, there is a world where the physical collectibles are going to be married up to… There’s going to come a point where if you don’t have the actual sort of digital collectible version that goes with your physical whatever it is, you’re going to have a very hard time verifying. What you’re going to start seeing I think, in the not terribly distant future, is when you get the bobble head it’s going to come with, here’s the digital code for the digital collectible that marries up to this that says you are the owner of the actual item.
Stacy Jones: 18:35
And that’s going to be in block chain and because it’s not something that you could fake.
Mimi Slavin: 18:39
Right. So I think you’re going to see that. I think the other thing is MLB interestingly enough, the major league baseball did a test and I think they’ve done a second one and the execution was a little clunky. I think Greenfence has solved a lot of the clunkiness of the execution but instead of doing an actual bobble-head, they actually did a digital bobble-head. The problem was that they gave out, they did it across, I don’t remember how many cities, but I know that the Dodgers was one of them. The problem was is that when they hand out… They handed out these sort of credit card like things and told people how to do it. When you have everyone all at once trying to download everything at once, it wasn’t a great experience.
Mimi Slavin: 19:25
The idea is there and when you think about it… If major league baseball, which is sort of all Americans already looking at this, we’re not talking about a huge leap here. Then imagine also… Take for instance McDonald’s, right? They have their toys and they are the number one producers of toys in the world, right?
Mimi Slavin: 19:47
I’ve done a ton of deals with them and we would start 18 months out and then three, six, four months before we’re about to launch, they’d say, “Well, what do you have first for our app?” Because they really want to build up their app. They want that app to be important to the kids. We would say, “Oh, well, we could give you this coloring page, or this whatever,” and they’d say, “Well, but that can be duplicated really easily.” Then it’s like, “Well, I didn’t invent the internet. I don’t know what you want me to say. I don’t know what to tell you.” But the block-chain could really change that for them. So, if every toy… And it’s not expensive. If every toy came with its own digital collectible that went and lived in the McDonald’s appreciate, and lived in the McDonald’s app as long as the kid wanted it there, and they could trade it with other kids that were using the same app, that app would become much more valuable to those kids, right.
Mimi Slavin: 20:48
If their whole digital collectible, their whole digital collection… So it could be My Little Pony, it could be Batman, it could… Whatever that it could be, Kung Fu Panda, whatever they’re collecting. And it can have their own little collectable book around it. They don’t have to mix equities if the studios don’t want to do that, although everything’s changing. That can become… That can make that app so valuable to that kid. Even as the kid gets older and isn’t doing happy meals necessarily, they might say, “Yeah, that’s great, but I am not letting go of my McDonald’s app because I’ve got 200 collectibles in there and I’m not done with those. I’m not playing with the toy anymore but I’m still collecting.”
Stacy Jones: 21:39
No worries. Okay, so really what you’re saying is the world was kind of moving towards the direction of the digital collection and it’s something that you can keep, which is great for our landfills. Look at that. Let’s stop for corporations and for MLB or NHL or any of these entities that are out there. They’re not having to produce something packaged, something shipped, something managed, something handed out, and it’s really actually streamlining the whole process while giving something still a value to the consumer.
Mimi Slavin: 22:13
Absolutely. Absolutely. And the truth of the matter is, what’s great about these collectibles is as they get more sophisticated… So say you have a [Kershawn 00:22:24] bottle that’s in your digital collectibles, his stats get updated or his Jersey gets retired, you can actually, you don’t know the person, but you know the wallet and you can send that person something new or interesting. You can update that collectible. There’re a lot of really cool things that you can do. There’s a lot of stuff that we haven’t even figured out yet that we’re just even talking about, that we know is possible but we have not yet executed.
Stacy Jones: 23:02
Are you all seeing that your core consumer is that Gen Z, Gen Y, versus your Gen X, baby boomer, et cetera or is it really, is it scaling?
Mimi Slavin: 23:15
I don’t think we know yet, Stace. I think the reality is it’s still so new. I think that right now what you’re going to see is a lot of fan-boys and early adopters because it’s still so new and other than Greenfence, I have not seen a really streamlined execution. Even with where we are right now you still have to, if you want to… So, we have a private public blockchain which makes it so that you can trade and you can interact without having to have any kind of crypto-currency or any kind of knowledge of that. If you want to go on the public block-chain and start selling, then you have to download a third party app because it’s still ultimately backed by crypto.
Mimi Slavin: 24:07
Now, we are working on a solution to make that go away and we’re probably three months away from that and we will be the first ones to do that. We are really the only ones with a truly consumer friendly application. As it gets more and more simplified, you’ll see more and more people get into it. Here’s the thing, I had a ton of CDS and-
Stacy Jones: 24:42
We all did.
Mimi Slavin: 24:43
Yes, we all did.
Stacy Jones: 24:44
I still do.
Mimi Slavin: 24:44
I have them in the corner and then Apple came along and it was like, do I buy this over? Do I? Then you download all your CDs so you have them digitally. Was I the initial target for that music application? No, I wasn’t. I think that it’s that kind of thing. I think you have to… We have to have the early adopters. It’s going to be the younger generation that’s going to be the generation of people who are not so interested in the physical things. They’re more interested in what they can show off on their phone and part of it’s going to be how interesting can we make these collectibles? If we make a collectible that’s reflective of a toy, does it dance? Does it throw a spear? Does it, depending on what the character is, what does it do or does it just stand there? So it’s all going to factor into it.
Stacy Jones: 25:43
I feel like we’re talking about Pokémon cards right now.
Mimi Slavin: 25:46
You know what’s so funny is I have not … It’s funny because I worked on the Pokemon movie years ago when I was at Warner brothers. I know nothing about Pokemon. Really, truly nothing and I know there’s this Pokemon Go thing. I don’t know anything about it honestly and my kid is not into it so I can’t even ask him, so we’re actually not talking about Pokemon. I was actually thinking about if we did something, if McDonald’s did something with the Croods, like the characters would need to do something interesting in the collectibles as opposed to maybe just sitting there or being characters. It also depends on the age. It depends on the age of the kid. Right now, I think it’s going to be more kids and fan boys. As soon as-
Stacy Jones: 26:33
[inaudible 00:26:33] fan girls?
Mimi Slavin: 26:34
Well, when I say fan boys, I mean both. I’m being gender neutral on that. The Deadpool collectibles have been surprisingly popular and honestly if you had asked me, are people going to pick [inaudible 00:26:50] and what they did was they gave us four pieces of art that were never released that they were posters that they had considered, and they were kind of homage posters. One of them was like to animal house. One of them was a bunch of different things and I would have said, this is, who needs this? Nobody needs this in their life. This is a rated R movie and people loved them. They were super excited to get it. We had people saying, “How do I get the other three?” because it was random selection how people got them, so you just don’t know. It’s so new, it’s hard to predict. Now, the coupons, I think where we’re going to see the first adoption is going to be shopper marketing. We’re already seeing that. I mean, we’re already doing that.
Mimi Slavin: 27:33
Kroger’s already one of our clients on that, and we work with a lot of the big name companies because it’s so valuable and it allows for so much control of the shopper marketing budgets. Those budgets are so tiny in terms of… And they need to be managed so carefully. I think that that’s going to be where you see the early adoption of that.
Stacy Jones: 28:00
That’s going more towards a female who could be a Millennial or Gen Xer, really. I mean, you’re a shopper, a couponer, or a baby boomer.
Mimi Slavin: 28:09
We’ve literally made that so you don’t have to understand that it’s block chain.
Stacy Jones: 28:13
Right? You just get an app and you have the coupon in it.
Mimi Slavin: 28:16
[crosstalk 00:28:16] an app. It’s like, do you want to save $5 on Pampers? Yes. Okay. It’s just put into your wallet. You don’t even really know, but you know that it’s put into your wallet to go to Kroger.
Stacy Jones: 28:33
Interesting. So how do you get a wallet? How does a consumer sign up for this if it’s not an app? How do they even know? Or is it branded?
Mimi Slavin: 28:43
It’s a progressive web app. What happens is… So say you were to purchase a collectable, when you purchase the collectible, it will create a wallet for you.
Stacy Jones: 29:00
Based on your email address?
Mimi Slavin: 29:01
Right. Yeah. We try not to take much personal information because we don’t want to collect any data. We don’t want to hold any data. What I could do is, I could send you a collectible, hey Stacy, your friend, Mimi, has just sent you a collectible. You go, “Great.” You click on the link and it says, “Oh, do you want this collectible?” “Yeah, I do.” Okay. Then it’ll ask you for either your phone number or an email and it’ll ask you for a password, and this is literally only to protect you in case you forget and you do that and it’s great. Then all of a sudden it pops up, you see the collectible, and you’ve got a wallet.
Stacy Jones: 29:43
Yep. [crosstalk 00:29:46] some sort of data that you’re giving. Your phone number, your email, something that is tracking, but it’s not holding onto lots of things. Your age, your this, your that and everything else.
Mimi Slavin: 29:56
Right, and the opportunity for marketers, which is interesting because there is a data play to be had which is it becomes a two way value exchange. You have the choice. You can say to your consumer… so if I am Pampers and I do a coupon, and you accept the coupon, I don’t know who you are. You could be a 50 year old man who just happens to like Pampers. I don’t know, but my assumption-
Stacy Jones: 30:22
You painted a [inaudible 00:30:23] pretty picture there.
Mimi Slavin: 30:24
Thank you. My assumption is that you’re a young mother or a mother with a young child. I might want more information from you, so I might reach out to you and say, “Hey, thank you for being a Pampers customer. Here’s another coupon for a dollar or whatever it is. Would you be interested in sharing more information about yourself in exchange for X?” You’d be very specific about what X is. It would be $10 worth of groceries. It could be a free thing of Pampers, it could be whatever. Then it becomes up to the … And what’s interesting about this is, unlike where we are right now where the retailer owns the customer, and if I want to talk to that customer again, I have to go buy my customer from the retailer. If my customer has accepted a coupon from me, I have the opportunity to speak to that customer, but it’s permission based. If I reach out to and just say, “Hey, it’s a beautiful day to change diapers,” you’re going to be like… X you’re out, I don’t want to talk to you. I’m opting out.
Mimi Slavin: 31:54
You have to build this relationship with the customer and it does become about exchange of value. Don’t send me messages. It’s not like on Facebook where you just have a nice day to stay in touch. No, you want to talk to me, what am I getting in exchange? If you want information from me-
Stacy Jones: 32:14
How are you paying me?
Mimi Slavin: 32:15
Exactly, we’re so used to as a society… and what’s interesting is so many of the young people are just saying, “Screw it. I’m not doing that anymore.” We are so used to we’re going to go on Facebook and in exchange for being able to throw up all our photos and watch as many cat videos as we want. We will tell them the most personal details even when we don’t realize that we’re doing it. Even when we do realize it, we’re like, “So what, so they know when my birthday is, whatever.” When I got engaged, all of a sudden I started getting all these wedding planners and photographers and all of a sudden I was like, “That’s weird. All I did was post a picture of my engagement.” Clearly, they’re paying attention. But I wasn’t getting paid for that. What my payment was, was that I got to use Facebook to let everybody know that I got engaged, right. This new way of communicating is, you want something from me, you can pay me directly.
Mimi Slavin: 33:14
It’s kind of a win-win, and it also means, for the brands, I’m going to be talking to people who want to talk to me and who are open to hearing from me and sharing with me so I can get better as a brand and they want my rewards, so I’m not just vomiting up all this stuff to people who don’t want it.
Stacy Jones: 33:40
The scale of this, I mean, this can go so wide. I know you all are concentrating on couponing, but this could go into, I’m assuming, and collectibles as your specialty.
Mimi Slavin: 33:53
Collectibles is really the big one for me. I’m not on the couponing side, but I believe strongly that that’s a good way.
Stacy Jones: 33:59
Which makes sense since you’re in the entertainment industry, and working with movies, and TV shows, and all things entertainment.
Mimi Slavin: 34:05
Yeah, but I love a good coupon. Let’s be honest.
Stacy Jones: 34:07
Yeah. That, we all do. I’m assuming that this can also go into gift cards, eventually. This could go into movie tickets. This can go way farther than just something that you’re collecting or trading in.
Mimi Slavin: 34:23
Anywhere where there is the potential for fraud, this has humongous implications. Any industry that has been subjected to fraud… I mean, right now the banks are all investigating this. The only reason you haven’t seen everything… and actually the New York stock exchange is on a block chain. The challenge with the banks is that the speed of the transactions that they need to do, the block chain is not there yet. Eventually, any transaction that’s subject to any kind of fraud will be on the blockchain.
Stacy Jones: 35:02
That’s fantastic because I’m assuming that it would be more trackable. Like for our agency, and I’ve shared this before, we got hit by a spoof email back in 2016 and they cleared out our bank account. My bookkeeper fell for it. She sent all of our money overseas. It went to China. It went over to Nigeria. It was gone, just like gone in a heartbeat, years and years of savings. But if this was actually the blockchain, if it was banks where they could not just have blind accounts being set up as fraudulent all over, you would be able to track that item every step of the way.
Mimi Slavin: 35:37
You would. It still might be hard to undo if someone willingly agreed to do it, but you would have the ability to check provenance. If they said, oh, I’m actually so and so, you would actually be able to, in a true block chain, you would actually be able to trace it all the way back to its origin. If the origin of it was like, okay, this is coming out of Russia…
Stacy Jones: 36:08
And I think I’m sending it over to New York.
Mimi Slavin: 36:12
Right, this isn’t legit.
Stacy Jones: 36:13
Right. Okay, so there are safety protocols.
Mimi Slavin: 36:18
Those email scams I think are still going to be a problem. The human error is something that you cannot correct with machines for the most part, but the interesting part about that is what they would have been able to do is freeze it. Whoever had done it, if they didn’t want to get caught, would not have been able to touch the money. Now, you may not have been able to get the money back-
Stacy Jones: 36:49
But it would not have gone to running guns and drugs and all sorts of things for Nigeria.
Mimi Slavin: 36:54
Exactly. Reality is whoever did it, if they didn’t think you were savvy enough to put a freeze on it, the minute they went to move on it, the FBI would have been all over them.
Stacy Jones: 37:07
Right. Or even if you take a step further, ultimately, the bank could potentially have been able to… If this is the direction they’re going and the bank does take the step forward of having more corporate responsibility, they would be able to have the insights to see that, oh, you’re authorizing a transaction that you think is going to Hong Kong, let’s just say, and it’s actually going to Nigeria, as you mentioned a minute ago, and that would red flag it potentially.
Mimi Slavin: 37:33
I don’t know as much about the banking side of it, but I do know that having spoken to some of my friends that are in banking, that they’re working on it now.
Stacy Jones: 37:42
Yeah, it’s needed. Okay, back to collectibles and couponing.
Mimi Slavin: 37:48
All the fun, sexy stuff.
Stacy Jones: 37:50
Fun stuff. Okay, so really, any company that’s out there, is it hard to set this up? If you had a company that’s like, I want to do couponing like this. I’m not a Kroger. I’m not that big. Is it difficult to set it up? Is it expensive to set it up? Is it super easy?
Mimi Slavin: 38:05
[inaudible 00:38:05] we’re working on a self-service platform, so not too distant future, you’re going to actually be able to log into our portal and it’ll have all the things you need to create your own coupon, and you’ll be able to say where you want it distributed, and you’ll be able to send it and how many you want to mint. It’ll become very, very easy. Right now it’s white glove. We have to do it for you, but it is extremely inexpensive. Certainly, compared to creating an FSI, it’s very inexpensive. When you talk about what happened when you were trying to do that promotion, it’s worth it [inaudible 00:38:50].
Stacy Jones: 38:50
Right, it has to be. This is something that literally you’d be at your desk, you’ve gotten your design elements from your graphic designer, you’d upload the imagery into the self-service platform. You would assign a dollar value to it and you’d say, “I want a thousand of these coupons to be generated,” and, voila, a thousand would be generated with unique codes so that they could not be frauded.
Mimi Slavin: 39:15
Correct. The amount of time it would take would depend on how you were doing it because we do a private-public block chain, it would be done very quickly. Right now, you have to select a retailer because you’re not doing a general UPC code. Everyone is an individual, but very, very shortly that’s going to change.
Stacy Jones: 39:45
Mimi Slavin: 39:46
Yes, because we have a relationship with basically every POS system in the country and that is being put into place as we speak.
Stacy Jones: 39:56
Great. So then you’d be able to redeem that bond. If it was for the paper goods and they happen to be sold at 20 different retailers, you could go potentially and not be retailer specific.
Mimi Slavin: 40:09
Correct, right now, the only one that would be a problem, I believe once even when we get this in place, would be Target and my guess is if every other place can take it, Target’s going to figure out a way to make it work.
Stacy Jones: 40:22
Right, that’s very cool. What else do our listeners need to know for just generally-
Mimi Slavin: 40:29
In general, for me the biggest thing is… What I found is when I get into these meetings is people want to dig way, way too deep into the technology. I would really encourage people to focus on what it enables and not feel like they have to really understand exactly how it all works. That they need to have just a very general understanding of why it’s different than what exists. Once you start really trying to dig into the technology, and especially when they bring in the lawyers, the lawyers barely understand how the coupons work unless they redeemed coupons themselves because it’s not their area of expertise.
Mimi Slavin: 41:15
I really encourage people to not to let that sort of analysis paralysis get in the way of testing something that’s really, really a game changer, and to not be afraid to try something. I mean, we’ve already tested it. We’ve already proven the model. That wasn’t obviously the case on day one, but it happened pretty quickly. The reality is people are very nervous about data privacy because there’s been so many issues and the block chain is literally the most transparent way of doing things that you can possibly do. The only data that gets collected is the data that the consumer is willing to share.
Mimi Slavin: 42:07
Now, certainly we can tell you where the coupon has gone or where the collectible has gone, but that doesn’t tell you anything about who the collectors are unless you choose to engage in a conversation with them and if you do that, you have to reward them. They are voluntarily providing that information.
Mimi Slavin: 42:31
I think that there’s been a lot of nervousness around, oh my God, privacy. Well, the reality is, this is more secure and more private than anything any of these guys are doing right now. To really ask themselves, “What do I actually really need to understand in order to be able to say yes to testing out something that could really be a game changer?”
Stacy Jones: 42:58
Then at the same time all of this you had mentioned before block chain was seed to shelf, and, so, really everything is out there, everything was being created. Everything that is being developed is literally most likely going to be entering in the blockchain to be trackable, right?
Mimi Slavin: 43:14
Yeah. Jonas, who’s our co-founder, he feels like that we’re not so far off, that at some point we’re going to be born with a birth certificate and a wallet. In that wallet it’s going to have our blood type, and some information’s going to be totally private, and some information is going to be information that we can easily share, but it’s going to be one of those things where people don’t have to wear ID bracelets for this thing or that thing because it’s going to be part of their wallet. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but the reality is that every industry, everyone is looking at how to use the blockchain to create greater transparency.
Mimi Slavin: 44:00
People want to say that their food is GMO. They want to know that it’s GMO and it’s not modified and all that. Well, one of the best ways to do that is to track your food through block chain. To do that, you’ve got to get all your suppliers on blockchain. Walmart already has mandated because of the last year’s Listeria issue on lettuce. If you want to sell lettuce to Walmart, you have to be on the block chain. From the seed that is planted in the ground, to the farmers, to the trucks that are transporting it, to the trains that are transporting, absolutely every stage of that lettuce’s life is on the blockchain. That’s going to be become true for just about every product that you can think of.
Stacy Jones: 44:46
This is really going to be taking over the world as we know it, whether or not we see the behind the scenes or not.
Mimi Slavin: 44:53
Right, I don’t think we’re going to see this humongous revolution happen in three weeks, but it’s happening now, it’s happening over time, and certainly from a marketing standpoint, the early adopters are going to be the bigger winners.
Stacy Jones: 45:09
That extends to brand marketers who aren’t cooperating yet, and opening the doors to their consumers.
Mimi Slavin: 45:16
Stacy Jones: 45:18
Well, this has been awesome. Is there any other insight you want to share with our listeners before we bid everyone adieu?
Mimi Slavin: 45:29
I would just like to encourage anyone that’s interested or wants more information to reach out because I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there and I’d be more than happy to have a conversation because I think I am really, truly not a technical person and I have been able to figure it out enough to understand the value that it brings. Particularly having spent so much time in partnerships and promotions. I’m really excited about what the opportunity is. I’d love to get other people just as excited.
Stacy Jones: 46:03
That’s awesome. That’s cool. Well, Mimi, thank you again, really appreciate it. To our listeners, thank you for tuning into Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast.
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