Kickstarter marketing (crowdfunding)

UnknownThere are a number of new products arriving every day via Kickstarter or crowdfunding, but there are some serious problems with marketing and fulfillment.  Marketers need to be careful about building demand months before a product is ready to ship and consumers need to be careful that some great ideas will never turn into viable products.

Almost two years ago I made the mistake of purchasing a Kickstarter product for a tool that fixes flat tires on bicycles as easy as putting a needle in the tire.  Unfortunately, I’m out the $40 as it looks like the product will never ship.  The risk of purchasing great ideas before the company is ready to ship.

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Then there is the Spinn Coffee maker.  It grinds and brews single serving coffee at the touch of a button and via an app on your smartphone.  It was supposed to ship this summer, but now it’s shipping “in Autumn”.  At $400 a pop would you be willing to purchase a great idea before it’s ready?  Yet Spinn is all over social media trying to create buzz without a product.

The idea of Kickstarter is simple; sell ideas before you actually have a product to ship so that you can build up some capital.  There are supposed to be some checks and balances, but building and shipping a consumer product that works is not that easy as most would be entrepreneurs find out.

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While consumers do love some of the ideas that are showing up would be brands need to be careful about selling the hype before your product is out and reviewed.  Tesla took tens of millions of dollars in preorders for their new low priced car but with executives leaving the company and the lack of mass production knowledge some of these people might never see their preorders come to fruition.

What Kickstarter companies need are people who can help them get from the drawing board to consumers’ hands.  They need experts in production, supply side management and marketing.  Having someone who can create a social media campaign is not a marketing expert, especially when they are creating buzz months before the product is ready to ship.  In similar example, another coffee maker is promising to ship in December but wants your money now.  Would you be willing to give someone $400 for a product that is still 5 months away?

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Some CPG companies should take notice of some of these Kickstarter products as a potential purchase. They have the expertise to bring these products to market while others may not.