I usually don’t write from the personal perspective, but tonight, I am going to do something different. I was reading a blog post from CrowdfundBetter.com entitled The Real Reason Your Crowdfunding Campaign Is Failing and it jarred a memory in me that I normally bring a smile to my face as I tell the story of the events that led to my career in the crowdfunding industry. Today I laugh when reminded of the 2011 events that led me to crowdfunding. My son and were venturing into the digital marketing and online video marketing space and we were working with a program operated by Louisville Metro called CAP.
The director of CAP approached us with a novel concept called Kickstarter, and said, “ that if we shot some really cool videos people would send us money.” Well, I was game, so we reserved the basement conference room in the Downtown branch Louisville Free Library and we shot 8 “really cool videos” and no one sent any money to fund these businesses. I was perplexed because I trusted the judgment of the CAP director. I decided to research this new funding concept for myself. I became consumed with crowdfunding and its possibilities to transform economies by solving the age-old startup and business expansion question of access to capital. But as I continued to research and participate in this nascent industry, but one of the things I discovered early was the importance of the crowd.
I discovered that crowdfunding is a unique and innovative marketing tool that provides research, promotion, and engagement, which are essential for any business. Crowdfunding, through digital marketing platforms, provides access for creators to promote and engage with and community members in an unreserved relationship. Crowdfunding, as a marketing tool, is invaluable to any brand as a way to create social media-driven communities that link their current customers, new customers, new product launches, product development, product testing, customer service, while increasing brand reach, and brand awareness. Crowdfunding has one fundamental rule and that is if you don’t build an engaged and excited crowd you will not receive the desired funding.
This newly found information sent me on a quest to educate the crowdfunding industry of this simple fact. The stated mission of my company is to build a crowd for the purpose of crowdfunding. 2017 finds crowdfunding to be a global industry that has raised billions of dollars and Kickstarter has produced multi-million dollar campaigns, Facebook and Twitter ads have changed the way creators are able to promote their campaigns, but there is still one fundamental in crowdfunding. Building the crowd before you launch is vital for a success. I had to be reminded of this by the blog post referenced earlier what my true mission is in the crowdfunding industry is.
I once consulted with a woman that paid me to provide my insights and information based on my experience in the crowdfunding industry. We spoke for hours over a few days and I insisted on her taking the time build an excited and engaged crowd. According to Kickstarter, 14% of projects finish not having received a single pledge. This figure always gives me pause considering, Facebook has surpassed the 2 Billion daily user milestone.
As a crowdfunding consultant that has been around the industry for a while and has managed, consulted, and assisted on more than a few successful crowdfunding campaigns I feel that it is my mission to educate people on the importance of building a crowd and educating them on how I go about that process. As an industry, crowdfunding must expand the pool of backers and retail crowd investors to grow the industry into the marketing and funding juggernaut it should be.