Kickstarter: Marketing and Fundraising Meet

Most readers of this blog are probably familiar with Kickstarter. But just in case: Kickstarter is a massively popular crowdfunding website that gives entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, and a litany of others the opportunity to convince the public to contribute financially to new projects.

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Each Kickstarter project has its own page, complete with a description of the project, associated media, and a ‘menu’ of sorts detailing what each level of monetary contribution earns you. As a ‘backer’ of Kickstarter projects, you can essentially shop around the website and find projects that intrigue, excite or confound you enough to receive your hard-earned money.

Kickstarter has grown exponentially since its inception in 2009. As of the date of this writing, Kickstarter offers the following statistics on the site:

  • Over 4.6 million people have pledged money
  • These backers have combined to pledge $753 million
  • Over 47,000 creative projects have been successfully funded

All these numbers equal a lot of projects coming to fruition that might have never seen the light of day without crowdfunding. But Kickstarter is interesting for more than just its raw fundraising prowess.

Kickstarter is perhaps the perfect intersection of marketing and fundraising. Ideas have always had worth, but before crowdfunding the barriers to getting your project invested in were huge. Kickstarter removes a lot of those issues and creates a new kind of marketplace for ideas. The key idea here is that the very people you want to sell your project to become your investors.

That changes things. Instead of earning your backers before you get to market your product to the consumer, they become one and the same. It’s a natural extension of marketing – if enough people are convinced you have a product worth purchasing, then enough people might be interested enough to financially contribute to making that product a reality. Kickstarter pages aren’t business proposals, they’re billboards.

Kickstarter is interesting partially because of what it is – a huge venue for project creators to realize their dreams based on the merit of their ideas. But it’s also interesting because of what it represents: a new way for people to interact with the creators of the art and media they love. It’s a more direct way for creative projects to come into being.

When you’re surfing around Kickstarter looking for a project to back, you’re basically shopping around and evaluating content. People ‘sell’ their Kickstarter ideas on the strength of sample chapters of books, trailers of videos, or prototypes of interesting inventions. Project creators on Kickstarter get to earn your money to create things by doing what they love. They don’t have to use traditional methods of marketing because Kickstarter lets them get the support of the people they’re creating for.

Kickstarter’s concept is an exciting win-win. Creators get to create from day one, and fans get to engage with an artist and a product like never before.

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