Launching product campaigns and watching trends, it is easy to see marketers shift quickly from one new technology or platform to the other without really gleaning all that they can from what they have already done. Perhaps this is a direct result of too much to do and too little time or too little resources. The problem is that you can either leave too much on the table or not do enough to plan for building upon the groundwork you’ve already laid as you move forward. Sometimes, you’ve got to look beyond what’s staring you in the face to realize what kind of back-end mechanics might just really give you, your company or your product a real kick. We’re hoping we found just that while launching a side project, Pinky Books on Kickstarter a couple of days ago.
The way in which Kickstarter is offering more than what meets the eye is in its ability to afford some simple market research as well as leave behind a community for any project that is either funded or not. To provide some context, Kickstarter is relatively new, yet it has garnered a bit of buzz due to its ability to raise crowd-sourced funds for projects. Users post projects – you can’t fund a company through Kickstarter, only project – and work to get backers to give money to the project. The backers sometimes receive something in return and often-times, nothing more than a call-out in a film or website’s credits. The hope by all users is that their project funding reaches its goal – because if it does not, the project gets nothing. But is funding really all that there is?
While many people are happy just to get the funding they need, Kickstarter is an example of where you can strategize to derive so much more of a program payoff. The specific benefits of Kickstarter include the following:
- Obviously, the hoped for funding of your project.
- A simple platform to not only spread the word about your project, but an excuse to reach out to people you may not have had contact with for a while. Due to the spirit of Kickstarter projects, there is a willingness to help out in a way that benefits many. Rallying people around a project is a perfect opportunity to strengthen relationships – both personal and professional.
- A way to get a sense of market interest for your project – both among people you know and those who just happen to come across your project.
- Ascertain what is valuable to people. Once people start signing on, you can get a feel for what is interesting to them. Is it product, accolades, or just a sense of helping out? Ultimately, elements of the project’s development can be fine-tuned based on what people are specifically looking for.
- Low-cost, direct engagement with a community that can allow for experimentation to try to drive project involvement. Is it the announcement to your friends on Facebook, direct emails, calls, texts, Twitter? With the proper scheduling of outreach, you can get a strong sense of what drives the best response. Interestingly, Facebook is incorporated into Kickstarter but it is unclear how Likes translate to donations. With only 2 Likes right after launching, the Pinky Books site garnered a number of backers with only one of them Liking the project. Just a few days after launch, there are nearly 60 Likes without any related backers.
- Possible future partners and extensions for the product have come out of the woodwork since posting this and starting to spread the word. By putting the project out into the ether, who knows what might come back to bring the project to even higher levels?
- With or without funding, you are able to continue to engage the community of backers who wanted to help out, so whether you need to tweak the program to become successful or surpass your goal with flying colors, you’ve got a built-in group to engage.
The Kickstarter platform is new and there are many people who are trying different things with it. I do wish that you were able to track visits or views on their search pages to deeper sense of interest, engagement and conversion – hopefully that will be available in the near future. There is no set guideline for how much communication is too much and how much is too little, so a little play is in order. Knowing that there are those benefits beyond the funding, users should plan accordingly so that they may squeeze the most out of the campaign.
While Kickstarter exemplifies a program that would probably not be used by a major company – with extremely different needs and resources – the general rule of this post remains the same. Whatever you do to market or move your product, look beyond the immediate benefit of a certain mechanic to see how you can extract added benefit. Too often, I’ve seen media campaigns with singular goal that paid no attention to other data that could have helped move the needle further on the executed project or a future one. Some things you can plan for and some require an open mind in order to grasp how data or actions can be leveraged.
Sometimes all we need is a kick in the pants to get us to enforce no waste in our campaigns. Kickstarter is just an example of a platform that speaks directly to that resolve to see beyond what is offered and look at what can actually be done.