[Campaigning] Vote NO on "Inclusion Poll for Strategic Marcomms Core Unit MIP Set - May 10, 2021"

I urge fellow MKR holders to vote no on including the Strategic MarComms proposals in the upcoming executive. I will be brief in my reasoning, and answer any detailed questions in the comments.

  1. It has poorly defined goals, centered around activities such as “Help people understand the benefits of Dai by providing educational content and events” and “increasing awareness of Dai.” I find these to be low-reward tasks given that our core users are not small retail vaults and are unlikely to be so in the future. Additionally, it is not possible to easily capture the return on activities that are simply meant to increase awareness.

  2. It includes 5 million DAI in unrestricted funds. This by itself would be the second-largest CU budget in DAI expenses. It is far too much to put into a fund that has no guidance on appropriate uses, or promises of reporting to the DAO about those uses after the fact. This has a high probability of being either wasted or left unused. Either case is not a good precedent. It will encourage proposals that treat the DAO like a cash cow. We have money, so what’s the big deal if we spread it around? Not the optics we want.

  3. This would be by a margin of 50% the largest DAI budget for a CU. Even mission-critical CUs like PE have received far less than the 9,700,000 DAI requested on an annual basis by this proposal. Given that it’s unclear exactly what this CU is supposed to do, this is far too large of a budget. For reference, important CUs that directly contribute to our bottom line in a way that is unambiguous receive about 5% (RWF) and 17% (Growth) of this requested budget. If we want to spend 9.7 million DAI to grow our user base and DAI adoption, those are the two units we should put it into.

  4. No clear record of execution. I understand that the situation with the Foundation means we can’t look under every stone or have every question answered. But for almost 10 million DAI, we need more examples than a YouTube video with a mere 4145 views over two and a half months. Even if you believe that millions of DAI should be spent on raising awareness of DAI in the general public, this is not an example of spend with any return on investment. We need to see more of the portfolio of past efforts and the metrics they delivered.

  5. In general, there is no plan. Despite being pressed repeatedly, there has been no clear explanation about exactly who would be targeted by marketing, nor what action those targets would be asked to undertake. Is this supposed to target financial advisors? Regulators? The general populace? What do we want those people to do once they hear our message? Does it even matter if most people have heard of DAI at the moment?

  6. If this makes it into a bundled executive, it will endanger all other important decisions bundled with it. Even if this passed on polling because whales aren’t paying attention, they’re not going to look kindly on a bloated budget for… ???.. that also includes 5 million in unrestricted “moonshot” funds. Anything bundled with this proposal at an executive vote would be in danger of being voted down and delayed for a cycle.

Vote no. I welcome comments or questions about this below.

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On the other hand why whales wouldn’t vote on polling?

We saw them voting sometime for some polls. I don’t remember which one but I have seen at least one poll getting more votes than the hat.

Any particular reason?

Just speculation, and a worst case if this passes. Obviously if you believe the underlying proposal is good then this is a feature, not a bug.

But I worry it won’t be closely read and pass with minimal participation

Wow! This is the first instance of a campaign for a NO, I think.

I thank you for this (independently of the specific topic: Marcomms) because:

  1. I think it’s useful to campaign for a YES just as much as it is for a NO, and,
  2. there are no incentives for doing something like this and, if anything, you might look as the “asshole”.

Anyway, coming back to Marcomms, I mostly agree as I stated long ago:

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My point is I believe there is no evidence that will be the case. This statement is purely speculative and shouldn’t be used as it.

I don’t think there is much whales left. and regarding a16z, it looks more a dolphin now than a whale
.

As a future delegate, I will hereby explain my position on a Core Unit proposal.

The Maker community needs effective marketing of its core product Dai. To this goal, the Strategic Marcomms Core Unit has been proposed for the purpose of Strategic Marketing and Communication. Members of the proposed group have been with Maker since August 2019. However, based on their application, the comments, and the track record of the group I have serious objections.

Strategy
If you are going to do something strategic you first need a strategy, highly preferably in writing. Who is targeted and who is not and why and in what order? Unfortunately, I do not see any such document provided. The application repeatedly does not distinguish between what is a strategy, what is a task, and what is an intention. What is provided is a list of tasks and intentions, and although these are all good and worthwhile I fail to see how this is going to get us anywhere. One example would be how the gas fees, which have been painfully high for more than a year, makes any serious attempt to reach the poorer regions of the world highly questionable. This has fundamental implications for the groups targeted by Maker. There is no trace of such considerations in the provided documentation.

Marketing
Marcomms seeks to deliver ‘clear communication in key channels’. Well, let’s start with Youtube. There are four videos uploaded by Maker on Dai with a total of 4,771 views. It is not that there is anything specifically wrong with them, it is just that they fail to reach any sizeable audience. Go to Youtube and search ‘stablecoin’ - the top 10 videos have a total of 485,000 views. Maybe just possibly we should let social media influencers that actually get clicks, produce or promote at least part of our marketing? This is not mentioned in the application. Another fact about the crypto landscape is the intensely skewed power distribution, with edge dev teams, whales, and community leaders having an enormous influence compared to their numbers. In your provided documentation, there is no mention of any of these groups or their importance or how to reach them, nor any other mention of your interpretation of the present and trending crypto social landscape and how it impacts marketing.

Communication
People want their entertainment to education ratio to be about 2000:1 or something which is why even mediocre cat memes get whole factors more views and likes compared to educational info on decentralized stablecoins. OK - so maybe Dai is not easily memeable, but you should take this into account in your plan and discuss how to get around it. All large and valuable brands have carefully crafted emotional messaging baked into them. Just feel the curious, exploratory, and clearly infantile sound of “Google” or the direct association to fresh, new, green, healthy when you hear “Apple”. In the world of crypto, I will point to Litecoin and Monero as examples of different but fairly consistent emotional messaging. And the emotional message of Dai is what? When a former oilfield engineer like myself can spot that the emotional element to some degree is missing it could be a bit of a subtle hint.

To sum it up: Strategic Marketing and Communication - according to my judgment the strategy is not there, the marketing is out of sync with crypto realities and the communication is lacking the emotional depth and power necessary to be heard and remembered. And the worst part? This group has already had two years to practice, review and revise to get this right. Maker needs marketing - but not this marketing.

I will be respectfully voting against this Core Unit proposal.

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I have to say I agree with @PaperImperium on this campaign - thank you for starting this thread. Having read through the points raised here and particularly here, I don’t see enough justification for the funding requested.

@LongForWisdom is it okay to link this thread to the thread that the voting portal points to?

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Yes, go ahead.

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I agree with those above that I see nothing that justifies giving this CU 9.7 million DAI. This is nearly one third of the current stability buffer.

Quite frankly, given how poor the proposal is I would suggest that delaying burning by funding this proposal would be far more harmful from a PR perspective than any short or medium term benefits we would receive.

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Don’t let “them” pull the wool over your eyes–think for yourself:

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I should also state here that I have no objection to a heavily fleshed-out CU proposal being submitted for the next round of on-chain votes. But given that the proposed marketing and communications unit cannot communicate clearly what it is they need by far the largest budget for — or even what their work process will look like on any given campaign — I will hope for more clarity on the next try.

That 5 million DAI in unrestricted funds is a hill I’m willing to die on, though.

That alone would be the third-largest CU budget, and has been justified on the grounds of confidential agreements that couldn’t be shared with the DAO. If we’re ever in such a hurry to spend 5 million DAI on one thing that the endeavor can’t even be announced to the DAO, then we’re in trouble.

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I’m struggling with the idea that a whale (or anyone) might not be paying attention when they vote, and should be protected to make sure they don’t make a mistake. There’s enough noise now in the forum that the situation should be clear without resorting to this kind of precedent.

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Only thing that I have clearly against this is how much I know this budget could do working on BD deals. Where part of the budget would be allocated via the external partner integration. For 5m we could pitch to major Fintechs who have already been dipping the toes into crypto and get a long-lasting relationship using the 5m to subsidise the DSR while its still negative. I am not sure allocating this amount of money to purely marketing that brings no revenue or long-lasting business integrations with it back is a good idea.

This might be because I am biased working with BD, but I don’t think that many marketing campaigns adds sticky users. I know that Business integrations does that for Dai. We need to focus on user retention, and I would rather see the Growth Core Unit receive a bigger budget than spend it here on undefined adds. I think we should also take note that the previously most successful Marketing campaigns with Dai/MKR has been done by companies like Coinbase Earn, OkEx or The Red Cross. The Growth Core Unit should have a strong say in how that capital should be deployed.

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The amount and the opportunity cost is what I have issue with. We are talking about spending this much in marketing when we have no native layer 2 implementation. People can’t even really get loans from us unless they have at least 10k. We are supposed to spread the word far and wide about our protocol when nearly everyone who hears about it won’t be able to use it because of gas fees. We could hire more devs to work on l2 or establish partnerships with fiat gateways. Marketing has no business being our largest core unit in a space where the tech evolves so rapidly.

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A large budget should bring large results that are going to be tangible. It also seems premature since people are not going to be able to use DAI with sky high gas fees. So it seems that working on scaling DAI comes before marketing DAI.

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You can have the dApp on the fastest mainnet and nobody will use it if nobody knows about it. Also, as building Maker dApp on L2 and different mainnets have been controversial (but Optimism one is coming hopefully), the focus has been on having Dai on these mainnets and L2 so people can use it. Indeed, there’s already billions of Dai on BSC, Matic, Klaytn, and etc. So I think we are getting the first part done.

Are you speaking on behalf of the growth team? If so, then, I strongly urge you to put that in the Growth unit budget. It is great to hear what you have in mind and would love to see that come true. If you are not speaking on behalf of the team, then, thanks for your input anyways.

One thing to keep in mind though, this isn’t a zero-sum gain. The growth unit and strategic marcomms don’t operate separately, just like the DAO needs governance CU, as well as smart contract team, and others. Each function exists to support the growth of MakerDAO. A collaboration between the two teams would generate more value and synergies than one.

It’s great that you are highlighting the function of BD. You argue that marketing isn’t effective enough to get what it needs (budget) to get things done like BD because they bring no revenue.

Even though the overall mission is the same, marketing is indeed different from how BD operates. Their approach and targets are different. Comparing the two is like identifying the difference between an orange vs. an apple. BD’s role is business collaboration and partnership, whereas marketing brings awareness and traction by creative means such as campaigns, ads, content, and news articles. And I would have to agree with you that it does seem like your view is coming from a BD person who isn’t specialized in marketing or PR communications. Therefore, your argument makes a lot of sense only and purely from a BD perspective.

Marketing touches a broader audience and makes it easier for BD to start that conversation because potential partners would have heard of us because of Marketing. PR brings credibility to an organization. Their input is calculated not by revenue but by the amount saved in advertising. The value of strategic positioning, branding, and credibility is crucial for MakerDAO if you believe we are heading into the next stage of growth.

As for the companies you have mentioned as successful marketing campaigns, it sounded like no big role was played by any marketing department in any organization.

Rather than going down that path of zero-sum-gain kind of discussion, I want to bring the focus back to collaboration. My unit is committed to work with other teams to create synergies that can take us all further together.

I been in both marketing and BD role at Maker but I think there’s a misunderstanding. One is yes, there have been a lot of restrictions on marketing. For example, we have Maker and/or Dai on major platforms like Samsung and Kakao but pretty sure nobody took notice as we didn’t do marketing or even announcements around them. So the hope is with the new format, the marketing can be more assertive and flexible.

Two is Gustav is not saying that marketing itself is bad. It’s just the size of budget maybe needs to be discussed and come to a compromise.

Thanks.

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I think 5 million dollars in advertising budget for Maker to have an ad on a soccer team, professional boxer, or martial artist would have a far bigger impact than this core unit could in years.

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That’s why the Strategic Marcomms unit has proposed the Moonshot fund and what it is potentially for. The sentence you quoted refers to the PR part of the Strategic Marcomms unit and how the contribution from PR is calculated.