This week Salesforce unveiled its web3 Advisory Board to provide a helping hand in guiding Salesforce clients into web3 in a “trusted, responsible and sustainable way”.
In February, Salesforce announced plans for its NFT Cloud that allows brands mint, manage and sell non-fungible tokens (NFT). However, there was considerable pushback from hundreds of employees who objected to the potential for scams and the environmental impact. Since the Ethereum Merge is now behind us, the environmental aspect is less of an issue, although NFTs are struggling to shake off the scammy image.
Nonetheless, Salesforce launched its first NFT Cloud pilots in June. Increasingly brands are looking to adopt web3 as part of their loyalty and rewards programs. And they are engaging in metaverse experiments with an eye to the future.
Digital marketing has been through many phases, such as search engine optimization, Google Adwords, banners ads and social media. Web3, including the metaverse, is the latest addition to the strategy toolbox.
The Salesforce 2023 State of Marketing survey found that 51% of CMO’s already have a web3 strategy with virtual products and virtual reality as the most common technologies.
“Web3 opens up the doors to a new era of brand and consumer relationships. Tapping into its potential requires a new way of thinking and approaching business problems, and we have assembled an amazing board to help guide us on this journey,” said Marc Mathieu, Salesforce SVP of strategic customer transformation and innovation.
The web3 Advisory Board includes:
- Erika Wykes-Sneyd, Global Vice President, adidas Web3 Studio
- Sebastian Borget, Co-Founder & COO, The Sandbox
- Keith Grossman, President, TIME
- Aaron Rajan, Global VP of Technology, Unilever
- Brendan Lynch. Global EVP of Enterprise & Revenue, Ticketmaster
- Sandra Ro, CEO, Global Blockchain Business Council
- Ian Rogers, CXO, Ledger
The privacy issue
It’s commendable that Salesforce has taken this step with the stated purpose is to guide on trust, ethics and insights. We believe this is not a complete list of the members, which also includes ethics and sustainability experts. Industry outsiders are essential regarding privacy.
The transparency of public blockchain is a dream for brands. A wallet address can provide a treasure trove of information about clients. Some of that can be used internally, such as enabling brands to build a better picture of customers across different channels such as in-store, online and in the metaverse. That’s fair enough.
But transparency also means they can see the customer’s engagement with other brands and their spending habits.
Web3 wallets leak far more financial information than cookie tracking, which is being phased out. Over time this issue is likely to be addressed in various ways, ultimately resulting in a person having multiple sub-wallets that prevent their spending habits from being linked across brands.
In the meantime, there are ethical issues, particularly when wallets are associated with real-world identities.
Meanwhile, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff embraced web3 early, especially through one of his other businesses TIME Magazine. TIME has launched several NFT collections, invested in NFT marketplace OpenSea and a year ago collaborated with Galaxy Digital to publish metaverse content. Salesforce has made web3 investments in blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs and infrastructure provider Blockdaemon.