Content hash: 0x7e798d0397605b860e6b5aee150e6bac5165ebe7eb8877bf4801152f389f04a1

The Evolution of GTM Strategies: From Web 2 to Web 3

The cold start problem

Tech and crypto startups face some element of the cold start problem: how do you start from nothing? This is what go-to-market solves, and when designing GTM strategies for web2 and crypto we must understand the inherent differences in value flow


product → distribution → community

Inherently centralised and as such, value accrues to the platform rather than to the users. Therefore, the strategy is traditional GTM + sales/marketing that focuses on generating leads alongside acquiring and retaining customers through growing a team and executing against this vision.


community → distribution → product

In crypto, founders take on the role of a gardener, helping to nurture their product and GTM strategy through the dual-lense of purpose and community. As such, crypto protocols can’t succeed just being ‘community-led’ but rather, they must be community-owned where the distinction between owner, shareholders and users are blurred.

One of crypto’s primary innovations is tokenisation. Tokens can be used to acquire users instead of spending funds on marketing. In particular, a great use of tokens is to reward your early contributors when your network effects weren’t yet obvious.


Compound Finance was one of the first to pioneer new go-to-market strategies with its liquidity mining program. Here, they incentivized early lenders and borrowers by providing extra rewards in the form of the native, $COMP token to help bootstrap liquidity. Retrospectively, the TVL (total value locked) In their protocol jumped from $100m to $600m.

What’s that saying in crypto? Come for the money, stay for the ____?

Go-to-market strategies centred around financial incentives can attract users but it doesn’t make them sticky. This is the reason why your GTM strategy has to be centred around your community in crypto.

This is why in crypto we believe it is important for every project to have a go-to-community plan as much as their GTM. GTC/GTM are synergistic, not synonymous. One is value capturing, other is value creation. One doesn’t make up for the other.

Exactly how you go-to-community is content for another day but to summarise why it’s relevant - it is because your community is the denominator that separates the difference between web2 and web3 GTM strategies.

A deeper look at GTM across web2 vs web3

As we mentioned, community is the denominator that separates your GTM strategy. In this section we’ll dive into the similarities and differences of strategy design.

Product Positioning & Messaging

  • Much like traditional tech startups, founders use customer feedback sessions and tools to build, test, iterate in order to find product market fit.
  • In crypto, this predominantly takes the form of testnets or closed betas in which the product’s positioning and messaging can be guided through community feedback and validation.

**Pricing Strategies **

  • Pricing strategies follow the same model as their web2 counterpart but here, the implementation differs.
  • For instance, transaction-based pricing models charge for every payment processed by providers such as Stripe, whilst Coinbase takes a bps% on every swap made.
  • Revenue-share: Youtube and Twitter share ad revenue with creators, whilst crypto projects often distribute protocol revenue to tokenholders.

**Partnerships & Alliances **

  • Companies and protocols often partner with adjacent partners to maximise their exposure and competitive benefits.

Market Analysis & Competitive Intelligence

  • Market analysis typically follows common frameworks such as Porter’s 5 Forces. However, one area we feel will diverge is greater use of on-chain data to inform strategic decisions.

What’s different?

Marketing and Promotion

  • Marketing is predominantly centred around different channels, as protocols partner with Twitter influencers to help reach a wider audience before launch.
  • One area that is massively different, however, is the customer acquisition cost as protocols can distribute tokens, potentially for free, as a great way to build awareness via airdrops.

Sales Channels and Distribution

  • Sales channels and distribution are completely novel in crypto as protocols can utilise methods such as liquidity mining or going to market via supply and demand subDAOs.

Customer vs community-centricity

  • Customer-centricity, a highly admirable feature of tech and SaaS businesses can’t go understated. However, in web3 we take this a step further as your customers are both your consumers, contributors and/or everyone else in your ecosystem.
  • As such, there is a need to focus on specific go-to-community strategies

To summarise

** Web2 **

  • GTM centred around distinct functions and specific goals, marketing is more centralised with specific distribution channels and segmentation. Also, there is a clear path to customers (customer acquisition funnel).

** Whilst in web3, GTM is centred around the following pillars **


  • Marketing and distribution revolve around community engagement/participation.
  • The need to keep your community happy and engaged is enormous due to the importance of sentiment.


  • Use of tokens for marketing and/or distribution is a great form of GTM as it helps solve the cold start problem.
  • Incentive Alignment
  • Sales and customer-focused incentives
  • In crypto, since your users are both consumers and contributors incentives are aligned around tokens, communities and centralisation.
  • Decentralized Governance
Content hash: 0x7e798d0397605b860e6b5aee150e6bac5165ebe7eb8877bf4801152f389f04a1

Content hash: 0x7e798d0397605b860e6b5aee150e6bac5165ebe7eb8877bf4801152f389f04a1