I love Kickstarter the same way I love browsing through bins of used record albums. You never know what you will find, and there are hidden treasures everywhere. Back in my DJ days when I would scour used record stores, finding the unexpected rarity was the Holy Grail. Anybody could source a Jackson 5 album, but very few could find the 12-inch European disco remix of The Jacksons “Shake Your Body Down To The Ground.” (Trust me, I found it).
Kickstarter was founded on the premise of using crowdfunding to assist up and coming companies with interesting ideas that may/may not have attracted venture capital. It is a great place for that, and when it works, it works well as evidenced by numerous success stories. However, over the years, Kickstarter has grown, and with that growth, companies of all sizes have moved into the marketplace. Rather than the startup emporium it once was, it is now closer to an online mall of new products. And with that expansion, companies that may have once relied on word-of-mouth to drive backers have turned to the communications process to cut through the noise of a now much busier marketplace.
While I like Kickstarter from the curiosity and “browsing the aisles” perspectives, the truth is that I am not a Kickstarter guy from the “money on the table” perspective. I like the concept of it, but I am reluctant to hand over my credit card number to back something that may not be around the next time I browse the site. Some of this is preference – I’d rather buy some 2012 Cabernet, as an example, than take a chance on a speculative product – and some of it is the medium itself. Just like when a major retail chain moves into a quaint neighborhood, Kickstarter’s growth has removed some of its original charm from my perspective.
If a Kickstarter company was going to have a chance with me, it would have to break through based equally on the product’s value proposition and the potential for a one-to-one personal connection from the company’s founders. I can get behind helping people; I just don’t want to feel like I am throwing my money away.
That is also the foundation for results-driven communications from company founders on Kickstarter and what we recommend to those who seek our assistance in helping reach their campaign goals. We’ve been involved in Kickstarter campaigns for a while now and the importance of a real, human connection cannot be understated. The opportunity to connect and take backers on a personal journey with the founders is one of the coolest things about Kickstarter. It is also the critical DNA inside of every successful campaign. Founder communication has to be genuine, personal and ongoing whether the news is good or bad. Backers want to know what the founders are going through and each new milestone or setback is another opportunity to forge a closer bond with those who are developing the next big thing.
Without that connection, you might as well be shopping at Target or on Amazon. In those transactional environments, no personal connection is required. On Kickstarter, some of the products are highly speculative, and you might get a better return on your investment if you played daily fantasy football. But, of course, that isn’t the point of Kickstarter. It is the journey and the connection that matters. Want to learn more about cutting through the noise on Kickstarter and establishing a true connection with backers? Check out our video on The Point. Me? I’m going back to browsing used record bins. There just might be a remix of Grand Master Flash’s “The Message” buried in there somewhere.
NOTE: This website is not run or endorsed by Kickstarter.