I squinted as I tried to make sense of the booth banner with paragraphs of size-9 font. "Do you understand this?" I asked a nearby colleague. "Nope" he replied. As I walked through the exhibit hall, talked to teams, and read pamphlets and one-pagers about the latest technologies, one thing was clear:

Blockchain companies need help with marketing. From confusing handouts to illegible booth banners, many of marketing materials I saw and received had the best intentions, but were in need of a revamp to truly help these companies shine.

Here are a few of the ways to stand out in the competitive world of blockchain:

1. Simplify your language.

"What does your company do?" I inquired at a booth. Five minutes later, my brain was overwhelmed with a series of buzzwords and industry jargon--and I still didn't know what the company did.

And this company wasn't the only one. Many companies I've talked to dive into the technical aspects of their product without breaking down what they offer in simple terms.

"Avoid exaggeration." says David Wachsman, CEO of Wachsman PR. "Companies need to be able to plainly explain why blockchain and tokenization are critical to the long-term viability of their solutions. One should avoid hyperbole and explain exactly what the adoption of a new technology could do today instead of prognosticating how it could change the world in five years' time."

One exercise we use with blockchain clients is to tell them to imagine they are explaining their company to their grandparents or 7-year old siblings. This can help remove unnecessary industry jargon and deep technical terms. Once you have a pitch you feel comfortable with--get feedback from not only those in the industry, but see if your pitch excites someone who doesn't have a technical background.

2. Stress key benefits in your pitch.

It's important to stress the benefits of your product to demonstrate it's value. Make a list of three to five benefits of your product and then see how you can incorporate this language in your pitch.

You can also start your pitch off by stating the industry problem and showing how your product is the solution. Instead of saying, "we're a decentralized wallet" you can change the wording to highlight the benefit to consumers. "Consumer fraud is at an all time high, our wallet helps consumers stay protected while enjoying perks for using their card."
In blockchain, industry jargon runs rampant. Focus on telling your story in simplistic terms that stresses the key benefits you offer to both potential investors and consumers of your product.

3. Invest in quality design.

Presentation matters. From your website to sales material, design is important. A great design not only positions your company as credible, but also can help you explain your company benefits in a visual way.

Though you might be on a budget, quality design is one component of your marketing strategy thing you shouldn't skimp on. When evaluating designers, find one whose work is not only visually appealing, but also aligns with your branding guidelines.

It can take time to find a designer who aligns with your brand. I recommend hiring three to four designers for a small test project before committing to a larger website project or 30-page white paper design.

4. Put an emphasis on community building. 

Community building can help build strong relationships with partners and investors, as well as nurture advocates who can help tell your story. A engaged community can help widen the reach of your message but it takes time to build. "Highly engaged communities contribute real value."  says Henry Liu, Chief of Investments at Yeoman's Capital.

Treat everyone interested in your company as an important member of the community. From an active presence on Telegram to a community manager who responds to Reddit threads you can help answer questions and encourage others to share ideas.

Messaging that stresses company benefits, great design and engaged community members are the building blocks of a strong marketing program. ​