I've been a member on Kickstarter since March 2014 and my motivation to participate on this particular platform was sheer curiosity. Today you can most certainly find anything you want online and buy it within 1 click of a button and a credit card on your back. No real thrill there. So the concept of actually crowdsourcing new product ideas that are not available in the marketplace was such a new inspiration for me that I've never looked back since. Quite the opposite! After being roughly 2 and a half years on the platform I currently participated in the 100th project to help fund a new product.
Funding on Kickstarter is a little bit different than shopping on Amazon. Some of the advertised projects are on a prototype base and the campaign helps them fund the production so you'd have to wait for 6 - 18 months (or even longer) on the final product, depending on the status quo. Instant gratification after your purchase is usually not the case.
A big win though is that you get to know the owner/maker of the products you buy. They usually share personal stories or document the process of production etc. so you really feel like you are part of something bigger. Depending on the funding benefits you might give feedback, participate in questionnaires or simply write a review. Some of them offer you to be listed as a backer on their website etc. pp.
It all make the process of buying much more personal and intriguing. Combined with the time you have to wait, it feels like Christmas is all year. At least for me.
Anyhow, even as a consumer, you can learn a lot from being on Kickstarter in terms of Marketing, Project Management, and Financing. Especially as a marketer myself I enjoy the process of following the communication to see what works and what doesn't work.
So here are a few things I'd like to share about my experience with Kickstarter:
Communication is a wonderful tool
As I said before, some campaigns advertise a product that isn't even "born" yet. So how do you sell someone on that idea? You over-communicate. But it's not all about the product, as someone who pledges I want to know more about the person on the other side. You have to build trust, you have to build a relationship. It's amazing to see what project creators share with their audience. You do not only invest in the product you want but in the people themselves. You want them to succeed. It is also crazy to see how they really manage the 1-to-1 feedback. Messaging on Kickstarter is easy and most of them use also Facebook or Twiter to connect. This is such a cool layer to the experience. You don't just go into a store and buy a product, you get to know the people who made it.
Learning about patience
We've grown to love constant gratification and consumption without any delay (Amazon you are not helping! #prime)... Funding projects on Kickstarter is a journey that takes time. Let me elaborate: I pledged for the third installment of the Shenmue franchise, some of you might remember the epic two-part saga on the Sega Dreamcast? The creator started this campaign to gather the resources for fulfilling his vision of a third part. He started in June 2015, which was when I pledged for it. The date of delivery is set for December 2017. So there is one more year to wait. It's actually both, frustrating and inspiring at the same time, being part of a journey that takes this much time. Seeing the development piece by piece and getting to know the people behind it all. So patience, you will develop it.
Experience true"Labors of Love"
I'm looking for the extraordinary, the niche, the love for a certain topic, I'm looking for someone who cares. I like participating in projects that are interesting to me and sometimes even bizarre because I want to see how they realize their project. One of those examples was a documentary about a Japanese Island called "Cat Island". It is a wonderful documentary but total niche. I watched it several times by now and it is just great, it makes me feel happy and calm and I'm proud to have taken part in its funding. Basically, anyone can create a project on Kickstarter and crowdfund their project. You just have to find the right people and it will become reality.
These are just a few things I learned during my short time with Kickstarter. I feel confident that through my research, may the day ever come, I will know exactly how to design my campaign, thanks to those amazing experiences.
Some of my favorite projects
"On a far off, rural island in Japan, hundreds of cats roam a secluded fishing village- home of an aging, beautiful, and fading culture."https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1086506962/cat-island-documentary
"Make every chair ergonomic! Use BetterBack for 15 mins a day to improve your posture, ease back pain and improve your health."https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1123408990/betterback-perfect-posture-effortlessly
"The most effective way to improve posture and help eliminate pain and Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI) for laptop users."https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/86285180/roost-laptop-stand-free-yourself-from-laptop-neck
"Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library is a 450-page hardcover book that reviews over 750 8-bit Nintendo games released 1985-1995!"https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/560468638/nintendo-nes-library-guide-and-review-book-of-750
"Everyone can now record smooth and shake-free video. Never watch a jittery video again! Pocket-sized, most affordable and easy to use!"https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/smoovie/smoovie-super-steady-video-for-your-smartphone-and
"Waves Nx is the first application to bring personalized 3D sound to any pair of headphones." https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/waves/waves-nx-3d-audio-on-any-headphones
Thanks for reading!
PS: If you are interested in what kind of projects I also helped to fund, take a look at my Kickstarter profile.