The Two-Pronged Marketing Approach in the Web3 Era: Category Expansion and Brand Differentiation

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Mark Willaman

Cofounder of

Jonathan Borba Web3 via Unsplash

Sometimes marketers must run two parallel marketing campaigns. One that grows the product category and a separate promotional campaign that captures market share in the product category.

It is sometimes important for marketers to run two parallel marketing campaigns. One that grows the product category through educational-only campaigns (“category expansion”), and a separate promotional campaign that sells their solution to capture market share in the product category ("brand differentiation").

This is especially relevant for companies introducing Web3 products (blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs) where most of the potential marketplace is confused or unsure of product benefits, let alone how to use them.

This blog post will discuss the differences between these two campaigns, when to execute them, and how news marketing can be a valuable tactic within each campaign.

Difference Between Category Expansion and Brand Differentiation Campaigns

The goal of category expansion campaigns is education and adoption to create more demand for the general product category – without necessarily mentioning a specific brand. These campaigns typically:

  • Educate the marketplace about the benefits or uses of the product type.
  • Address misconceptions or barriers to adoption.
  • Highlight new applications or use cases.

Simultaneous to this campaign a company may run a separate "promotional" or brand differentiation campaign to capture market share within the product category. This is achieved through brand differentiation campaigns that highlight what sets their product apart from competitors.

Combining these strategies can be very effective. By first investing in expanding the category, a company can ensure there's a larger base of potential customers. Then, by running a concurrent brand-specific campaign, they can try to capture a share of this expanded market.

When to Run a Category Expansion Campaign

There are several reasons why marketers should consider implementing a category expansion campaign. Two of the more popular reasons are:

  • Overcoming Market Stagnation: If a product category's growth has plateaued or declined, a category development campaign can rejuvenate interest, reintroducing the benefits and uses of the product to the market.
  • Expanding Market Reach: A business might aim to reach new demographics or geographic markets that aren't familiar with the product category. Educating these new segments can pave the way for increased adoption.

One of the most well-known category expansion campaigns was the’ Got Milk?’ campaign in the 1990s which encouraged the consumption of milk. At the time, milk consumption was trending down in the USA due to the rise of other beverages like sodas. The Got Milk campaign aimed to both overcome market stagnation and reach a new demographic of consumers. It was highly successful.

The recent explosion of products related to artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and other Web3 solutions brings us to a third reason why marketers may consider running a category expansion campaign.

  • Introducing a New Product Category: If a business is introducing an entirely new product that the market isn't familiar with, there's a need to educate potential customers about the category itself before they can even consider specific brands.

I’ve recently attended several AI and Web3 events and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that there is a disconnect between buyers and sellers due to skepticism, misunderstandings, confusion, and a general sense of uncertainty about how a buyer/company will benefit and use such product(s).

How News Marketing Tactics Can Help Support Category Expansion and Brand Differentiation Campaigns

If your company becomes a trusted source of non-promotional educational content that helps businesses both understand and value a product category, the more successful your promotional campaigns will likely be. Press releases and news marketing can be valuable tools for businesses, both in the context of category development and brand differentiation. Key benefits of press releases include:

  • Information Dissemination: Press releases are designed to provide information to the media and, through them, to buyers. They can be used to announce new products and educational content assets like white papers, podcasts, webinars, research findings, industry trends, or benefits of the product category.
  • Credibility: Information coming through a press release can be perceived as more credible compared to traditional advertisements. If a reputable media outlet picks up and shares the news from your press release, it lends additional legitimacy and trustworthiness to your message.

But a press release alone is not enough. You need to use a term we call “News Marketing” to deliver your messages directly to the buyers.

For example, after distributing your news release on, AI tools will take your release and draft supporting content to help you market your news and get in front of the right audiences. Supporting content – which, incidentally, should always be edited, reviewed, and completed by real humans – includes:

  • media outreach emails to pitch the news to journalists
  • social messages with hashtags to share the content on social media
  • blog post/article for content marketing
  • video news short formatted for major social platforms
  • translation of the release to multiple languages also has an integrated influencer marketplace where you can hire trusted experts to further promote your news within your marketplace. News advocacy can also be used to further amplify your educational and promotional content. When an organization’s employees and outside stakeholders serve as advocates for the company’s news, people take notice and the company’s news is seen and engaged with by more of the right people. Whether a company has five or five hundred employees, each employee is a potential evangelist to help distribute and communicate positive information about the organization.

Avoid Marketing Campaigns Combining Category Expansion and Brand Differentiation

Trying to achieve both category development and brand differentiation within a single campaign presents many challenges, including expense, diluted messaging, and information overload. For these reasons, while it's not impossible to develop a campaign that serves both purposes, it's better to run separate campaigns – one to educate, one to differentiate.

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