Go-To-Market Strategy, Budget Proposal and Community Governance

Hey Rally Community -

For those of you who I haven’t met yet, I’m Bremner Morris, and I was appointed by the community to build out Rally’s go-to-market (GTM) strategies. I currently run my own advisory business working to build GTM for creator platforms and, most recently, was at a company called Patreon and served as their Head of Go-To-Market and Revenue.

Over the past month of working with and on behalf of the Rally community, I have been auditing the current go-to-market (GTM) efforts and identifying opportunities to scale up successful initiatives and invest in additional GTM channels.

To set the stage, NOW is the time for the Rally community to invest heavily in GTM. We are in a unique position to drive Rally to be a ubiquitous name in the creator, fan and crypto communities for the following reasons:

  • Our brand proposition resonates with creators and fans and the overall creator industry is looking for a trusted, independent and decentralized monetization capability. They just haven’t heard about us yet.
  • The interest in crypto for creators and artists has never been higher with the massive uptick of social tokens and NFTs within the space and the explosion of the overall crypto market.
  • We have spent the past three years building out the technology and infrastructure and it works for creators and their communities.
  • We have a lot of interesting use-cases happening on the network already and we have the opportunity to scale out these use-cases for more and more creators
  • We are building out a team to engage with artists and creators and we need to provide air cover for these teammates to help them open up doors with creators.

Finally, our community is well capitalized and recently closed $34.8 million in the community treasury and has the ability to invest these resources in driving up Rally’s awareness and creator adoption.

In partnership with the team and community, I have developed a high-level 2021 GTM plan and wanted to share here to give folks visibility into the plan and to initiate a discussion around a proposed budget to help fuel these plans. What follows is:

  • The key wins across the network since January 2021
  • An overview of the current gaps / opportunities for GTM strategy in 2021
  • A budget request for the rest of 2021
  • A proposal for ongoing community governance of GTM efforts and how to keep the community in the loop and provide opportunities for oversight and governance

Performance YTD

In Q1 alone, the Rally network had significant wins:

  • 55 creator launches (targeted by end of March) including Grammy winners Portugal. The Man, GenG Esports, Clubhouse innovator Bomani X, hip hop legend Fab 5 Freddy and multi-platinum selling artist JVCKJ and streamers ViBe and Livibee
  • We have processed $6M USD of sidechain volume since January 1st
  • We’ve taken a dominant leadership position in the media. Between January 1, 2021 and March 16, 2021, Rally garnered 166 unique media placements. The estimated Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) cost of the 166 media placements is approximately valued at $7.1M.
    • The total readership of placements across all publications combined (total potential reach) was 773 million people.
    • Key wins include New York Times, Adweek, Vogue Business, CoinDesk, Stereogum, Forbes, multiple stories in Rolling Stone, as well as Business Insider that named Rally of the start-ups that “VCs say are poised to take off in 2021” alongside Clubhouse, Substack and others.
  • A consistent drumbeat of events on Clubhouse where we can educate creators and fans on the benefits of a social token and recruit new potential creator coin holders
  • Speaking opportunities for the Rally.io team and recently launched creators in a variety of areas including podcasts (Real Vision Crypto, Untold Stories with Charlie Shrem, Creator Lab), industry-specific panels (The Future of Music, Global Investor Summit) and bylines (NASDAQ, Rolling Stone, CoinDesk)
  • Launching Rally’s Discord and demonstrating our commitment to the community and community governance through strong community management, regular community calls and a formal snapshot proposal process
  • Established multiple lines of communication with key audiences via content development of our blog, wiki, newsletter, YouTube channel, etc.

Areas of Opportunity

Building off of the above successes, Rally has a number of opportunities to scale up our go-to-market efforts outlined below.

To level-set, we need to focus on building messaging and marketing programs that appeal to Rally’s three separate audiences: creators, consumers and crypto enthusiasts. Each of these audiences have distinct needs and specific marketing programs for engagement and education. The below initiatives line up to at least one if not all of those audiences.

Additionally, we need to focus on creator categories with large total addressable markets and creator and fan communities who are open to adopting new technologies for monetization and engagement. As such, the target categories are:

  • Music
  • Video
  • Podcast
  • Gaming
  • Fine Art
  • Entertainment
  • Social Audio
  • Sports

Over the course of 2021, we need to:

  • Develop our brand message. A formal brand narrative and identity that is well articulated and approachable. We need to develop a brand that is inspiring, trustworthy and capable of standing alongside our creators’ amazing brands. Once developed, we need to invest resources to broadcast that brand narrative and drive reach and awareness for Rally within the creator, fan and crypto communities.
  • Define the target creator profile. A clear understanding of our target creator segments so that we can prioritize our Creator Partnerships and Marketing efforts.
  • Build a proactive creator outreach strategy. Developing a repeatable outreach motion to engage with creators and educate them on the benefits of launching a social token and ensuring that we have folks on the team who have relationships within our target creator communities.
  • Develop an inbound funnel. Most of our creator interest is currently through direct relationships, outreach or creator referrals. We need to begin driving an inbound funnel through paid media, content, SEO & SEM.
  • Produce content that educates and inspires core audiences. Written and video content that inspires and educates creators, fans and crypto enthusiasts and establishes Rally and our creators as thought leaders within the crypto industry.
  • Build a self-service funnel. Launching on Rally currently requires a ton of hand-holding and direct engagement and there is currently no way for creators to self-service launch their own coin. This effort will enable Rally to ~10x increase the number of Creators that are able to launch their own coin from the current rate of ~10/week.
  • Initiate product and network marketing. Launching communications and marketing initiatives around new product and economic network developments.
  • Develop a steady stream of owned events. Despite some early wins with Clubhouse, we need to have a more formal event marketing motion with consistent events across a variety of platforms to get the message of Rally out in the world and to provide a platform for our creators to speak about their intentions in launching their own cryptocurrency.
  • Participate in industry events. Establish strong presence at industry events where creators, fans and crypto enthusiasts attend to learn about new and innovative technologies.
  • Invest in talent partnerships and ambassadorships. We also need to formalize our relationships with talent agencies, managers, labels and other industry gatekeepers. This will help us open doors for Rally within our target creator segments.
  • Scale up our community engagement and education. We have done a great job so far in building a strong and engaged community but need to identify additional areas of engagement with the various segments of our community and build ways for scaled community engagement and education.
  • Invest in our creator’s success. We need to create the capabilities for ongoing management and consultation with creators to ensure that they have the tools and information they need to continue to grow their economies.
  • Expand our investment in PR & Media. Rally has had significant wins in the press through the great efforts of Kurt and Wachsman and we need to add fuel to the fire to continue to drive awareness.
  • Launch internationally. In the second half of the year, the Rally network will be poised to expand awareness efforts and creator partnerships efforts internationally to recruit international creators and their audiences.

The above initiatives will put Rally on the path to become a household name within the creator, fan and crypto communities and also drive the number of creators launching on Rally into the 1000s of creator launches per month with high levels of participation and economic vibrancy within their creator coin communities.

Most importantly, these efforts must also help ensure that Rally’s network is accessible and approachable for creators from all backgrounds and that the Rally network continues to make creator coin available and appealing to creators and communities from underrepresented groups.

Where possible, partners that are engaged by the community to execute on these goals will share the specific attributable results of these investments. It’s important to call out that for many marketing activities, there might not be directly attributable ROI for our investments. In areas where there is no direct attribution, the actual campaigns will be shared to illustrate impact.

Budget Request

In order to invest in the above areas, a high-level budget request is outlined below to cover the rest of 2021, so that the Rally network can move fast and engage with outside partners to execute a majority of this work.

To give some context to the size of the proposed budget, organizations with Rally’s market opportunity, capitalization and product market fit would typically spend between 30 - 50% of their overall budget on sales and marketing. Given where Rally is currently positioned, comparable companies would likely spend between $10 to $15 million per year on sales and marketing.

Here, the total ask for the rest of 2021 is $9.0 million to be paid for in a combination of USD cash and tokens, both from the community partnerships allocation and from the community treasury. This spend will be spread across the following buckets of expense:

  • Brand Marketing Foundation: $1.5 million
    • Brand agency work
    • Website update
    • UX / UI updates
    • Creator Partnerships collateral development
  • Marketing Campaigns: $3.5 million
    • Grow brand awareness through integrated campaigns across events, content, paid digital spend, etc.
  • Content Marketing: $250,000
    • Video content
    • Blog content
    • Wiki content
    • Email newsletters
    • Social media
    • Sponsored content
  • Event Marketing: $500,000
    • Owned and operated events
    • Event sponsorship (e.g. VidCon)
  • Talent Agency and Ambassador Partnerships: $600,000
  • PR & Media Relations: $600,000
  • Tools & Infrastructure: $1,500,000
    • CRM
    • Marketing automation
    • Website platform
    • Self-serve funnel
  • Other marketing activities as identified throughout the course of the year: $550,000

For certain large budget items (e.g. brand marketing agency work), Rally Inc. will take on the first 2 - 3 months of spend before converting it over to the community. For smaller, discreet line items and projects, partners will be paid directly from the community.

Community Governance

It is important to create mechanisms for community governance and oversight into the areas of GTM investment and the expected ROI.

As such, I propose the following structure:

  • Quarterly report delivered to the community at the end of quarter (June 30, 2021 as the next opportunity for the quarterly report)
  • Quarterly community calls following each report to review the report and discuss community feedback, shifts in strategy, understand spend and ROI

Additionally, where possible, the community should have the ability to exercise a 30 day notice to terminate a vendor contract or a specific area of spend following each quarterly report so that the community can determine if and where these expenditures might not be yielding the top results.

As part of my role for which I was originally appointed, I will act as the community’s agent for purposes of identifying and vetting partners and vendors, in coordination with community members, creators and key stakeholders, as well as overseeing and managing relationships with selected partners and vendors.

9 Likes

Thanks for the detailed proposal. I am in favor of it. One thing I want to add is that it’s hard to account for all the money that’s moving around since the information is in different proposals and sites. It’s getting more difficult to participate in governance since a lot of different things are happening and at an increasing pace. I like how the Rally core team is getting soft-consensus here before a snapshot vote, but it would be helpful to have a dashboard where the community can at a glance figure out how much money has been budgeted to different activites and how much has been spent.

Adding to my previous post, as someone who does not work in the world of startup, it’s hard to understand how much money should be spent on GTM activities or the VIP program. Of course we have to trust the Rally team to do the right thing but equally, I think the team can do more to make supporting the Rally team’s proposals easier. For example, Rally is proposing 150k of $RLY per month (worth around $150,000 at today’s price) as a retainer for a VIP ambassador. This amount of guaranteed paid for what could possibly result in nothing is obscene for most the world.

What I am saying is that I think a lot of us are in crypto not just to get rich, but because it offers the chance to democratize investing and to reduce inequality in the world. Please keep this in mind as Rally grow.

Hi alphapawn -

Thanks for your thoughts!

To your first post - the plan is to include a breakdown of spend as part of the quarterly reports so that the community has full visibility in to where and how the funds are being spent. Over time, we can see whether a more frequent review (monthly) is necessary based on the spend but starting at quarterly aligns with a typical operating cadence for budget and performance reviews.

To your second post - definitely aligned that sharing comparables will help frame these proposals. For the marketing budget proposal, I attempted to frame the proposal by mentioning that this level of spend on go-to-market is typical for a project at Rally’s stage, capitalization and market opportunity.

With regards to your point about the VIP ambassador proposal - I understand that these figures may seem large when translated in to USD but the way that I look at it is the ROI on these relationships and how much these relationships will help grow network utilization and creator adoption. I believe that these ambassador relationships will drive that level of adoption and, if not, the community has the chance to revisit after 6 months.

Finally, your point about democratization is definitely in alignment with the overall go-to-market objectives. All marketing and creator partnerships initiatives are intended to make Rally more approachable and adoptable for creators and fans from all backgrounds.

Thanks for the posets and happy to discuss further here or on the community governance call tomorrow.

1 Like

Hi Brenner,

Fantastic post! And budget sounds reasonable to me. As founder of the biggest digital marketing agency in Europe, this is my field of expertise. If I can help you with anything (for free, not commercial as I am a Rally fan) please DM.
1 minor thing, If I look at budget allocation: The 250K content Marketing seems a bit low especially compared with the 3.5 million marketing campaigns. You will probably have a reason for that :). I think in this stage your content and content distribution is key, and you have an amazing story to tell.

1 Like

Hi Bremner,

thanks for this extensive update and the vision ahead in further rolling out to markets! It seems like a very well-thought through approach and looking at the current momentum 1) of the Rally network and 2) market sentiment seems the right thing to push through as of now.

I can only support such an approach!

Some remarks from my end:

  1. Focus
    You mention “…need to focus on creator categories with large addressable markets…”, which makes sense to me. After that however, you’re mentioning 8 categories. To me that does not feel as “focus”. It might help to really focus and start off with getting 2-3 categories fully up-and-running, validate/proof the model, get the right Tier 1A celebs in place, get major fan engagement etc before doing them all.
    As a side effect in the end, once 2-3 categories are fully validated / up-and-running, it might also help in getting new Tier 1A celebs in for the other categories, perhaps even without needing the full amount of rewards proposed in the other topic today.

  2. KPI’s
    I like your mention for instance at the goal you want to reach at the “self-service funnel” -> increase the amount of weekly additional creators by factor x10. Measurable succes, I like that!
    However, with most of the other topics I’m missing the KPI’s, “what are we trying to achieve / influence / etc”. It would be very helpful and giving concrete direction for the team working on the different parts, to set concrete goals for the initiatives and see them as means to and end, instead of goals in itself.
    Ie. to what extend do we want to grow the community, what awareness level for what audience do we want to reach, what amount of organic/paid traffic & what do we expect as results out of those, when are we successful once we have own marketing events, etc. Happy to think along where needed.

But all in all, awesome approach as explained by you!

1 Like

Hi MartinMartin -

Yes - good point re: content marketing budget and the importance of getting the content produced and out there. A large component of the campaign budget will be going towards content production and distribution so the $250K line-item is more around content marketing on blog, wiki, YouTube, newsletter, etc.

Let’s definitely chat at some point about digital marketing in Europe in the next few weeks. I’ll DM you to discuss.

Hi Markovic,

Really valuable points.

Focus: I completely agree that 8 categories is VERY ambitious and could distract us from nailing a specific category. In terms of the near-term objectives for each of the categories outlined, it aligns directly with what you mentioned: Get influential lighthouse creators within each category, ensure that they have compelling use-cases and successful launches, working with them on joint marketing & PR to educate the market and then move to scale. The reason for so many categories is that we are in a very unique moment and have a unique market opportunity and we need to run fast at this opportunity.

KPIs: Duly noted. At the end of the day, the entire GTM effort is going to be measured on three things: Awareness, Creator Acquisition and Creator Success. I should have called this out more clearly but we will be measuring all initiatives based on:

  • Reach and ability to drive brand awareness
  • Number and scale of creator launches
  • Growth in creator economies

These KPIs are still being formalized and can be shared out as part of our initiatives but, rest assured, that all initiatives will be measured and evaluated based on the above criteria and clear KPIs will be set for each campaign.

To further confirm; I will be creating and sharing a fund flow report (dashboard style) to be shared in community calls once a month which will outline spend / KPI / remaining budget and all financial metrics to help monitor GTM project

3 Likes

Thanks for further clarifying above as well as in yesterday’s community call! :+1:

Clear on the KPI approach as well!

Following this thoughtful discussion, the Snapshot proposal has been posted, consistent with the above - please head to Snapshot to submit your votes.

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@BremnerMorris

I know you proposed to give a quarterly update / report per June 30th - But curious if you could give some insights on what of the above list is on top prio for this quarter, if it’s moving forward as planned or expected, any remarkable things happened, etc.

Above to get a bit more of a feeling on the progress on the allocation of approved marketing budgets for this year.

Thanks!

1 Like

Hi @Markovic -

Thanks for the question! As you mentioned, a much more detailed and granular report will be shared after the close of Q2. This report will have specific results and associated marketing spend and additional color on all of the initiatives.

That said, I can share some high-level updates on the progress so far.

First, I am very pleased to announce that the Rally community has engaged a best-in-breed marketing group that is overseen by ACE Content and includes Anomaly, Code & Theory and Apollo to aid in the strategy and execution of our marketing programs and campaigns. They are the best in the business and we are lucky and excited to be able to work with them to bring many of the ideas stated above to life.

Additionally, the Rally community has engaged UTA Marketing to represent the Rally project in the creator industries and they are working to build out relationships with leading talent, talent managers and agencies across the entire creator industry. I have worked with them in the past and it was an extremely strategy and highly valuable relationship.

We are also implementing Hubspot as the creator CRM and marketing automation software to serve as the infrastructure for the execution and measurement of all of the marketing and creator partnerships campaigns.

Specifically, I provided a quick rundown of where we stand on all of the below initiatives:

  • Develop our brand message. In development. The Rally community engaged a best-in-breed marketing agency, Anomaly / ACE Content, to oversee the development of the brand foundation, look and feel and copy and are currently reviewing drafts of this brand message over the coming weeks. More to come here as Anomaly / ACE looks to share this out with the community.
  • Define the target creator profile. Completed but ever updating as we learn more about what the profile of a successful creator on Rally might look like. The target categories are video creators, gamers, podcasters, fine artists, sports & entertainment celebrities, social audio creators. Not covered by the marketing budget but also happening concurrently is the hiring of category leads within each of these categories to oversee the outbound outreach to these creators. Nearly all categories now have a category lead who is hired, onboarded and initiating outreach to creators.
  • Build a proactive creator outreach strategy. In progress. The pitch materials, target heatmaps and pipeline infrastructure are all in place and the creator partnerships team has initiated outbound outreach campaigns to 100s of creators within the target categories.
  • Develop an inbound funnel. In progress via the work that ACE / Anomaly is performing as our marketing partner. SEO / SEM is contemplated in the new website design and there is also a paid media plan that is currently in development. Once the website is updated and the self-service funnel is in place, the paid media plan will kickoff.
  • Produce content that educates and inspires core audiences. In progress. We have a centralized list of all inspirational and educational content that is now being moved to the production phase. In the background, we have adapted the blog content and the newsletter to be much more educational and inspirational.
  • Build a self-service funnel. In progress. Initial kickoff conversations with a development partner, Code & Theory - managed by ACE / Anomaly, occurred this week and will be hopefully ready for launch in ~mid-July.
  • Initiate product and network marketing. In progress. You likely have seen more consistent communication via discord and the community calls re: product releases. The blog content has also been revamped to cover new product / network releases. Additionally, this week there is a creators-only call to discuss product developments. There is also an open role for a Director of Product Marketing that is in the works to support this initiative.
  • Develop a steady stream of owned events. Clubhouse events ongoing. Evaluating whether it still makes sense to produce our owned & operated events. More to come on this front.
  • Participate in industry events. In progress. We will provide
  • Invest in talent partnerships and ambassadorships. In progress. The Rally Community engaged UTA Marketing to represent Rally in the industry with top talent and representatives. UTA Marketing has opened up a ton of doors with creators, artists and talent management agencies both UTA repped and beyond. Additionally, I am in direct conversations with all the top talent agencies and many of the smaller agencies. We also have formalized a couple strong ambassador / advisor relationships that are opening up significant doors with strategic talent.
  • Scale up our community engagement and education. In progress. Revamped community calls, prioritized more communication in the discord, driving a creators-only community call.
  • Invest in our creator’s success. In the works. Rally recently hired a VP of Creator Success to oversee this initiative that I will be partnering with to help drive creator success.
  • Expand our investment in PR & Media. Lots of PR / media wins over the past couple months. Will share specific success metrics in the quarterly report.
  • Launch internationally. More to come here :)!

Lots happening behind the scenes to lay the foundation but hopefully this helps paint the picture of the massive amount of progress being made over the past 1.5 months. The fruits of these labors will all start coming to visibility in the coming weeks / months.

Let me know if this is helpful and enough information and if any questions?

2 Likes

Thanks Bremner for answering in such an extensive (& quick) manner!

Considering your remark “behind the scene”: yes and no at the same time. Of course several of the above items are not visible as such yet, however, lots of things we do see happening. But now it’s great to see it all in one overview, much appreciated!

No specific questions for now, some remarks on the some of the items.

Invest in creator succes: not sure if and to what extend it comes up in your discussions, but looking at the list of great agencies you’ve now connected to help build specifically the Rally brand / marketing / comms / etc -> it could be interesting in this early phase (not scalable towards the mid to long term) to see if and how it could be combined in helping some of the current creators as well building their brands. Creators are of course the best ones to connect with and engage with their respective audiences, however, they often don’t have access to the resources (talent, agencies, etc) that you as Rally have.

Owned events: I understand your doubts whether or not it would still make sense to create your own operated events or could better join existing events or team up with strategic partners. Personally I’d opt in for the latter.

Keep up the good work and looking forward to the upcoming updates!

Hi Bremner,

Are you on schedule to participate in next week Friday’s community call to give an “official” quarterly update on the above?

And / or will an update be shared in any other form?

Hi @Markovic -

I’m in the process of preparing a forum post that details out all of the progress against the various initiatives - should be sending something next week. I’m also going to be presenting the results and the spend at the second community call of the month as it takes a little time for the finance team to close the books on the expenditures. Once we have the full downs, then I’ll be in a position to present in the community call.

3 Likes

Perfectly fine, thanks for the quick heads-up!