How Are Agencies Using NFTs to Add Value to Their Clients Marketing?

By Jason Swenk on September 18, 2022

Would you like to dive into the NFT world? Agencies are finding ways to use NFTs to connect their clients with their audiences. What’s an NFT and how can you get in on it? Today’s guest has worked with big companies that recognized their potential as collectibles. He also created his own NFT project with a charitable and environmental focus and now shares his experience.

Chris Madden is the cofounder of Matchnode, a digital ad agency with clients that include the Chicago Bulls, Lending Tree, New Balance, and many more. He also started Seabums, an NFT project that focuses on massively improving ocean health that has donated more than $140,000 to ocean charities. Chris had been studying the rise of NFTs and learning how his clients were successfully implementing them into their businesses. Eventually, he decided that diving into the experience was the best way to learn.

In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • How to land big brand clients.
  • How to get started in the NFT world.
  • Getting creative with NFTs for clients.

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Wix: Today’s episode is sponsored by the Wix Partner Program. Being a Wix Partner is ideal for freelancers and digital agencies that design and develop websites for their clients. Check out to learn more and become a member of the community for free.


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Get to know your Smart Agency Guest Host:  Dr. Jeremy Weisz is the co-founder of Rise25, an agency that helps companies launch and run podcasts profitably. He followed Jason’s podcast and eventually joined the mastermind and has been a guest on the podcast before. Today, he’s helping Jason bring something new to the Smart Agency podcast audience by interviewing a special guest and bringing a new perspective to the show.

From Starting Small to Getting Their Dream Client

Matchnode started as a small agency with no outside funding and worked with whatever clients they could get. It was mainly a Facebook agency and expanded to Google ads and other paid ad platforms. Chris and his partner slowly built the agency and one day they got the most amazing lead off their website: the Chicago Bulls. By that point, they had done the work to be visible by such a big organization and were ready for the task.

Basically, his agency helps the team sell tickets by promoting things like family night or different theme nights. They have a budget for each season and an expected return (about four dollars per every dollar spent). They then meet with the Bulls’ creative team to figure out how they can turn their digital content into great paid social media ads that drive returns.

There are a lot of moving parts to figure out, but they are continually working to track better and convert better. Overall, it has been a great experience and has led to several other clients in that space. These opportunities are thanks to all the work they did since their first year.

Helping Clients Transition from Traditional to Digital Marketing

Now the agency works with big established brands who, after a long history of working with traditional marketing, are embracing digital marketing. Their marketing budgets used to focus largely on traditional marketing and now it is more focused on digital. Matchnode helps them make the transition.

It’s very different from working with digital native companies where the senior executives may understand the importance of having a presence in the digital space. With these types of brands, there is some resistance from executives who don’t really understand digital and need to be won over. Because of this, the language they use to talk about metrics, and way that they approach the problems changes.

According to Chris, one of the most effective weapons against this resistance is numbers. With digital, the numbers are so clear that clients unfamiliar with this space are often surprised. They may be familiar with more traditional means like a billboard, but when they see how detailed the results for a digital ad are, it’s very convincing.

Online Training for Digital Agencies

Diving into the World of NFTs

Chris had been watching the development of the crypto space and wanted to dive deeper. As a digital ad agency working with the clients they worked with, it became clear to him that digital experiences were moving toward NFTs. He decided the only way to really learn was to jump in with a project of his own. He created Seabums, an NFT project with the mission of massively impacting oceans’ health. The first collection dropped in December 2021 and so far Chris has been enjoying the experience.

Working a lot with Facebook, he and his team witnessed how the digital space was changing. They purchased bitcoin as an agency and prepared for a future in which digital interactions and digital networks would be owned by people instead of centralized systems.

With NFTs came the chance to own any digital object. In the broader landscape, NFTs are still limited in terms of their use but Chris believes what really matters is the piece of the crypto industry that has garnered more attention from the general public. They seem easier to understand than previous crypto movements that were truly financial in nature. It is a really fun and accessible way to dive into crypto.

He also had the opportunity to see how some of his clients were using NTFs. For example, Matchnode works with the Chicago Bulls, and they started to offer NFTs as collectibles that could win fans special perks. Fans with a certain pair of the collection win tickets or a day on the bench, which added to its value and turned it more into an experience.

Creating an NFT Project With a Charitable Component

As he got into NFTs, Chris saw one of the criticisms was that they are shallow and short-termed. Therefore, adding a charitable component seemed like the best way to add meaning. Chris had been playing with ideas to organize an environmental project to do cleanups. Once he found a partner, they defined the project, centered it around the ocean, and got to work. There are 10,000 pieces in the collection, all completely unique.

Basically, those who purchase these pieces will get full ownership and the right to do whatever they want with them. For instance, they can build a business around it and create and sell merch. 20% of the amount paid will go to charity. They’re also working on future components for this project that include a space in the Metaverse and games exclusively based on Seabumps.

Chris actually set up his NTF project in a way that he cannot change the price after they have been put for sale. Back when they were getting ready to launch their project, they studied the market and looked at similar projects. Since they had the charitable element and the idea of making this a project that would invite people who had never engaged with NTFs, they settled on a lower price.

Things like NFTs and the Metaverse are signs that the virtual world is becoming increasingly important for people. Through them, we now have ways for users to own digital objects and create their digital identities.

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