Follow the audience, not the market

There are lessons to be learned from the dot-com boom — and bust — in the current economic environment.

The NFT market is not dead, contrary to some reports. (Photo credit: Getty Images).

We’ve all seen the recent headlines about tech companies cutting back on staff and spending, concerns about fluctuating social network revenue, declines in new investment and more — and there has been no shortage of news or opinions after recent quarterly earnings reports. But most of what we are reading about is related to skittishness over investing and stock prices, actual and potential, not consumer demand for technology-driven experiences.

And that’s an important distinction to make. 

Those of us who were around for the dot-com bubble burst of 2001 will remember that as tech companies imploded, brands and agencies reacted to the situation by shelving innovation and reducing digital teams as if consumer demand for interactive experiences went away. Our industry let the doom and gloom of the markets spill over into our perception of consumer behavior. 

We cannot let that happen again.

Headlines tend to catastrophize news, and it is our job as communicators to be vigilant and ensure we are giving our clients data-driven advice, not headline-driven fear. 

Consider this: we’ve probably all read recently that non-fungible tokens are “over.” For the investing class, that may be true, at least for now. But let’s look more closely at the timeline:

-In January 2022 over $12 billion of NFTs were sold; 

-In July, the number was just $1 billion. That’s a big drop, then but consider…

-In June 2021, the NFT sales number was $650 million.  

Speculation may have slowed, but NFT sales were still up $350 million dollars a month over the high-hype days of last summer. The headlines would make one think the market vanished. It hasn’t.

As digital storytellers and communicators, our concern must be focused on where the users are engaging. We need to heed the lessons of 2001 and not let our clients, nor ourselves, confuse investor worry for consumer malaise. We must continue to innovate, moving our entire industry forward by not losing site of what matters most: the audience.

Rob Davis is U.S. chief digital innovation officer at MSL. 


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