Last week I attended the Charleston AMA Signature Luncheon on crowdfunding. Have you heard of it? Of course you have. If not, you have probably heard of crowdsourcing. Whole different ball game. Crowdsourcing is the polling of consumer perceptions and trends (my marketing speciality) where as crowdfunding is more along the lines of a marketing campaign that raises capital. John Osborne from fundingcharleston.com was our speaker and talked about how crowdfunding can create brand loyalists. If you weren't there, you totally missed it. It was awesome! You should join AMA so you don't miss out on cool stuff like this. But I digress.
So, why is this important to you? Because as the marketing industry grows and evolves, marketers and business owners will look for new ways to reach potential customers. In the past few years social media has come on the scene as a marketing channel big time and we have all been experimenting with it to 'figure out' how we can make it work for our particular businesses and brands. While that has been great sometimes marketing strategies can get stale. Not your brand, your marketing (If you are little confused you can check out my article Make Your Brand Your Anchor and you'll understand what I mean.) And, I think crowdfunding is the next big thing in marketing communication to keep us fresh. And I'm super excited for it!
In 2012, over $2.7 BILLION were funded to projects. With platforms like kickstarter.com and fundingcharleston.com there are all kinds of opportunities for businesses to reach new audiences. Crowdfunding is the perfect opportunity to create brand loyalists. These are your early adopters and favorite-est (that's a real word that I just made up) clients. By getting them in as a "founding partner" on new products or services you make any cusomer brand loyal to your company. Brand loyalists will always have your back and they will talk and talk and talk about your company and really you can't get any better marketing than that (not that I'm trying to work myself out of a job but I kinda am).
While there are several different points to make a crowdfunding campaign successful, the biggest thing to start with is an amazing story. I preach this all the time - storytelling. It has to be compelling and concise because people love a good story but their attention span is only, like, 5 seconds. That is where a marketing and branding firm or copywriter comes in and can really help you hone that message (Ahem, someone like, I don't know, us. Wink, wink).
I love this idea of crowdfunding as a marketing and branding strategy. I think it gets back to the root of communicating a brand story and why businesses came up with concepts that solve consumers problems. And it makes consumers investors in products, services and brands they love. Hell, you may see one for B&A soon. Tell us, have you ventured into crowdfunding yet? What strategies worked for you?