The Pebble watch team understood something we will all understand soon. They understood the line between "crowdfunding" and "distribution channel" is so thin it disappears. The press went crazy about how Pebble raised $10M on Kickstarter, but they didn't really do that.
Pebble used Kickstarter as way to distribute and fund their cool smart watch simultaneously. the advantages to their approach include:
* Low marketing costs.
* Process is product.
* High profit margins because other costs are so low.
* Destroyed traditional gatekeepers.
Pebble wanted to raise $100,000. They ended up raising $10M by brilliantly making every aspect of distribution tied to the campaign. "Every aspect of distribution" covers getting high end distributors to find them. Here is how they accomplished that goal:
Pledge $10,000 or more31 backers All gone!
MEGA DISTRIBUTOR PACK One Hundred Pebbles in any color (choose from Arctic White, Cherry Red, Voter's choice or Jet Black). Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)As a marketer I also want high profile celebrities to talk up my new watch to their connected friends. Here is how Pebble accomplished that:
Pledge $1,250 or more20 backers All gone!
CUSTOM WATCHFACE Let us create a custom watchface precisely to your specifications! Send us your ideas and we'll design a watchface just for you. You'll also receive 5 Color Pebble watches so you and your friends can share the fun. Free shipping to USA. (Add $10 for shipping to Canada, $15 for international shipping.)
My startup, Found Objects, helped create Magnetic Poetry Kit, the words on magnets kit that went viral in the late 1990s. Pebble's gambit is more brilliant because instead of working existing channels Pebble created a new channel called The Kickstarter Crowdfunding Channel.
The Kickstarter crowdfunding channel has many benefits including:
* Higher Profit Margins.
* More Control Over Product (Amazon can't hammer pricing).
* Maintains exclusivity and so pricing longer.
* More control over the brand.
The "higher profit margin" bullet should really get you thinking. By telling a great story, sharing some early prototyping Pebble proved that PROCESS, whatever you are doing RIGHT NOW, is in fact a product. By sharing Pebble creates awareness.
Combine awareness with GENIUS level marketing and you earn 100x your goal. Pebble also gets to produce their first run knowing every Pebble is sold out. Sold out without $1M in marketing. Their first run is Sold Out without PAYING celebrities to wear their product. Their first run is Sold Out without Amazon devaluing their brand.
Now see why there is a crowdfunding campaign in your website's future? If you are tripping over "crowdfunding" call your campaign distribution and pricing control or viral marketing. Heck, call it whatever you want, but trust me your marketing team should be tearing apart the Pebble campaign with an eye toward a #StealThis.
NOTE: As many ScentTrail readers know I'm currently working on a crowdfunding platform for cancer research called CureCancerStarter.org. LIKE Cure Cancer Starter on Facebook and look for our landing page soon.
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