In search of more autonomy and earning power, the best marketers end up working for themselves. Marketing DAOs offer an innovative middle ground.
Service DAOs are rewiring the traditional agency model, doing away with hierarchy and centralisation in exchange for shared incentives and community collaboration. And for many marketing professionals, that provides a compelling value proposition.
In search of more freedom, autonomy, and earning power, marketing service DAOs can offer a desirable middle ground, making it easy for marketers to contribute autonomously to a collective and be compensated smoothly for the work that they do with other people around the world. In turn, this lets practitioners develop skills and augment their earning power as part of a group, whilst retaining their autonomy.
In a marketing DAO, all members can participate in the governance and financial upside of the community’s continued success, proportional to the effort and value that they contribute. Whereas traditional agencies tend to have an operational hierarchy, service DAOs operate on a flat structure, with the incentives of every member being aligned through efficient payouts that reward work and referrals, as well as voting rights over a shared communal budget.
For clients, marketing DAOs function as an easier way to access a diverse pool of talent and perspectives: it is more akin to reaching hundreds of individual contractors than working with a hundred-strong agency.
While still early in their evolution, we have already begun to see these organisations make meaningful impact in web3 and, critically, beyond.
Driven by its mission to bridge the communication gap between emerging technology and the mainstream world, Story Guild (formerly known as YAP DAO) provides web3 clients with public relations, marketing, and communications support.
Marketing DAOs let practitioners develop skills and earning power as part of a group, whilst retaining their autonomy.
Initially founded in July 2021 by four members of YAP Global, an international PR agency servicing crypto clients, the DAO quickly built a team of more than 15 global contributors providing dozens of web3 projects with press releases and announcement distribution, media and podcast interviews, content writing, and copyediting.
“In a traditional agency setting, a PR professional’s time is charged to the client at two to three times what they receive in their salary, and it is not unusual for them to work across between three and ten projects simultaneously,” says Mia Grodsky, co-founder of Story Guild, speaking to Culture3. “In marketing DAOs, the people who do the work keep the majority of the fees, creating a better incentive mechanism to produce high-quality work.”
While the strategy and client-facing communication for the project is led by at least one senior DAO member, key tasks and deliverables are opened up to the rest of the community for their contributions.
All potential contributors must go through an application process called ‘Pledging,’ which entails a signing-on fee worth $250, similar in principle to partnership fees, but one that is returned upon leaving the DAO, on top of a cover letter. Once applications are submitted, current members then assess and vote on a prospect’s acceptance, thus ensuring quality.
“The people who do the work keep the majority of the fees, creating a better incentive mechanism to produce high-quality work.”
— Mia Grodsky, co-founder of Story Guild
From there, the incentive model for contributors is simple: DAO contributors receive 90% of their revenue, with the remaining 10% is moved into a communal fund for operational expenses and to be invested in central services, allocated by the community. Story Guild operates under a results-based model where clients only pay for the quality of the results delivered, says Grodsky, noting that low-performing members are awarded with smaller amounts of payment in exchange for other members needing to pick up the slack.
But for service marketing DAOs to continue to evolve, Grodsky acknowledges the need for better DAO tooling, regulation, and legal structures.
“The main barrier for most service DAOs, and DAOs in general, is the ambiguous tax and legal structure. When teams start generating real revenue, they often need to consult lawyers and tax experts which is time-consuming, expensive, and full of grey areas,” she explains. “Like crypto as a whole, regulation could potentially favour or create more barriers in order for these organisations to operate and thrive long-term.”
Myosin is a marketing service DAO specialising in growth marketing and user acquisition. Describing itself as a “headless” guild of growth marketers, creatives, and technologists, Myosin offers an array of services across three main buckets: finding product-market fit; accelerating growth; and jumping into web3.
For each project, 75% of the revenue goes to the project contributors, 15% to the DAO treasury, and 10% to the referrer. This creates incentives for members to refer and complete client work within the DAO, helping to foster collaborative growth, as well as high-quality individual output. Meanwhile, a minimal overhead is cut off to fund the DAO’s central activities, creating a fund that the community collaboratively decides how to allocate.
Unlike other DAOs which anyone can join, Myosin works to ensure that only expert practitioners enter its community by carefully vetting and handpicking each applicant. The DAO has an acceptance rate of just 3%.
Once members are accepted, Myosin calculates a reputation score based on applicants’ onchain activity, such as completing work or receiving feedback, to measure member efficacy and ensure a consistent quality of service. Similar to a Net Promoter Score, a key marketing metric that measures the customer experience of a brand, this onchain reputation score is based on feedback from both clients and DAO members.
Marketing DAOs could become a mainstream alternative to traditional marketing agencies.
After a member has completed five projects, the client-facing reputation scores are stored onchain, providing signals of quality that cannot be forged. Meanwhile, consecutive scores of seven or below from clients or a team member trigger a review and reinterview process from community moderators.
At the heart of the Myosin ecosystem sits the $MYOSIN governance token, which entitles members to participate in governance and access the benefits of membership, including educational resources, like templates and case studies; community benefits, like group chats on the token-gated Discord server; and earning opportunities, such as job postings and productivity tools. To gain access to a project, DAO members must burn, or pay, a certain amount of $MYOSIN tokens, the amount of which is ultimately dependent on the member's reputation score and their level of professional experience.
Marketing Service DAOs allow marketers to collaborate, retain their autonomy, and grow their earning potential.
The core value of Myosin as a service DAO is that it lets marketers access a community, which includes colleagues, opportunities, and tools, that augments the work that they could do on their own. In exchange, members give up to 15% of the income that they receive from any work that they refer to the DAO themselves, and 25% on work that they would not have had access to otherwise.
Beyond the 10% that encourages referrals, the rest of that revenue goes to funding the DAO’s core operations, which is expected to create value that eventually feeds back to the members. For example, Myosin allocates a portion of its DAO treasury to build digital growth tools and resources to help accelerate the web3 ecosystem, such as web3 analytics to help marketers understand their audiences. For now, these tools are only available to DAO members and clients, but selling those services to drive more revenue for the DAO is also on the table.
Marketing Service DAOs offer a unique opportunity for marketers to collaborate, retain their autonomy, and grow their earning potential. They bring together a diverse pool of talent, with those included being compensated based on their effort and the value that they bring to the group. They are also well-positioned for a younger generation that increasingly values autonomy in their career. Whilst marketing DAOs may be held back by regulatory clarity, with DAOs like Story Guild and Myosin proving their worth, they could well become a mainstream alternative to traditional marketing agencies.
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