Harri Obi is one of the recognisable names when it comes to marketing for brands in the African Web3 space. Having worked for top brands like FTX, Bitget, Cassava Network and a few others, he is regarded as an expert in Web3 marketing.
But interestingly, Harri Obi didn’t start his career in the Web3 space. He spent a great deal of time being a broadcaster, and worked as a marketer in the Web2 industry, before finally establishing himself in the Web3 space.
In a conversation with Technext, Harri Obi recounts his eventful career journey and gives advice to people who would like to build a career in Web3 marketing.
From broadcasting to marketing
Marketing was never in the plan for Harri. He studied Political Science at the university because he was not able to get into the Law undergraduate degree. After school, he got interested in broadcasting and worked with Channels TV, Ynaija and African Magic.
Having done a lot in the broadcasting space, Harri Obi discovered that the field wasn’t and isn’t lucrative.
“My last salary before I left was 20 grand.” He recounts.
Fortunately, a friend he met during NYSC, had become a don in the marketing space, working for the biggest brands and agencies like Xtreme.
He reached out to that friend and explained his predicament, and he advised Harri to try out digital marketing since he was already good at optimizing Twitter (now X). Harri Obi started by taking online courses and attending interviews and he soon switched from broadcasting to marketing.
However, he didn’t get into the Web3 marketing space straightaway. He still worked for brands like Pepsi, Lipton, HP and a few others playing in the Web2 space, before finally getting into FTX, one of the largest crypto exchanges globally at that period.
Commenting on his ‘secret juice’ as a marketing expert. Harri Oni says the edge he has is that he comes with a lot of core marketing experience and knowledge.
“The reason why it will be very difficult to compete with someone like me is because even before I started working on Web3 brands, I spent years working on Web2 brands, understanding marketing, going for marketing classes. Basically understanding marketing foundations.
They want to do something and they don’t care about the basics, about the fundamentals, the foundations, they just want to jump right into it. I was the guy that had done a handful of stuff in marketing. So when I got into Web3, marketing was the same, the execution was just different.”
“While I had not so much Web3 experience, I had marketing experience so I applied it. How to manage influencers, and how to navigate the PR space. All of that experience and expertise has come into play for me. That is why I’m sort of coveted and done stuff for top Web3 brands in the space.”
Challenges as a Marketer in the Web3 space
Looking back, Harri Obi says he sometimes feels he would have loved to be a marketer in a different industry apart from Web3. And this is because of how unstable and volatile the space is. However:
One of the challenges Harri faced, at the beginning of his career as a Web3 marketer was the unavailability of roadmaps, courses and mentorship.
“When I came in, everything was so new. If you want to go into digital marketing, there are several people to look up to locally and globally. But Web3 space, nothing like that. My first challenge was that there was no one to consult. I realized that I was basically doing everything, I was learning, with no mentor, and no course.
Luckily it worked but these days youngsters reach out to me on how to navigate and I show them my past works and my resources. We’ve created a path compared to when I first started.”
Also, another challenge is how hostile a lot of people are to the crypto and Web3 space. Harri recounts that it was not easy getting interviews for the brands he worked for, because no one wanted to talk about crypto on air.
“No one wanted to do crypto ads. So you had to be creative while doing your work. It was challenging but that’s what makes it exciting.”
When the unfortunate FTX crash happened, Harri recounts that people were surprisingly gracious.
“They knew that I was just another hardworking staff member that was building the company and I wasn’t responsible for anything. It was difficult but it just highlights the unpredictability of the Web3 industry.”
For now, Harri Obi says he has left paid employment due to how unpredictable the space is. He is now focused on building his own project on Solana through SuperTeam.
I left because of not just that but also the need to build my projects and add value to the budding Web3 ecosystem in Africa. I’m starting by growing Solana’s ecosystem in Africa through Superteam Nigeria.
For those who would like to build a career in the Web3 marketing space, Harri Obi has some tips:
“If you’re going to thrive in the Web3 marketing space, you need to get your foundation correct. That would mean that you need to know about marketing and know about Web3.
“The best marketers are marketers that not only understand what web3 is but know thoroughly what marketing is and have experience planning and executing marketing campaigns. My advice is that as much as you learn about Web3 fundamentals, also learn about marketing. With the combo of that, you’re going to become untouchable in the Web3 marketing space.” – Harri Obi.
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