Crowdfunding as the next marketing darling

Crowdfunding is Marketing. That WE are funding. It’s genius, really.

Did you know about that short film that picked up an Oscar last year? Crowdfunded. Think I’d be watching the Oscars if I gave that film my five bucks? You bet I would. Would I pay to see it on the big screen? Absolutely. It’s MY five bucks at work! You can really take me for a ride now that I paid you to feel invested in this movie.

It’s time for brands to turn to the power of five bucks. Because in it’s purest form, crowdfunding equals marketing.

Case studies: Everlane, #VeronicaMars, VAWK, HMT watches, Jon Wye belts.

  • Everlane set a new precedent for crowdfunding as a way to market the business and test the waters for market expansion with it’s #CrowdFundCanada campaign to bring Everlane store to Canada (their goal was a modest $100K). The store has reached the goal and launched with buzz and a ton of excited customers.
  • #VeronicaMars kickstarter campaign was a perfect blend of crowdfunding and marketing. Warner Bros. wanted to test the waters and see how many #VeronicaMars fans out there wanted to see the movie before investing into production and marketing, and fans promptly self-identified and paid for this fun marketing stunt.
  • VAWK has taken to crowdfunding as means for global expansion. The modest goal of $30,000 will surely be reached. Great way to raise profile of the clothing brand with strong local following.
  • HMT watches used an old-school online forum to gage demand for certain designs and started manufacturing watches once people pre-ordered.
  • Jon Wye belts used Facebook to get people self-identify as super fans by offering a simple $2 keychain as a reward for “being awesome”
“This Kickstarter campaign is to raise funds for a low-budget Mars movie. The goal: $2 million in 30 days. If the goal is reached, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution will put the movie into production and pick up the tab for marketing, promotion, and distribution. If they don’t reach the goal: No movie.” —

I am surprised more companies aren't turning to the crowdfunding model to test product-market fit assumptions, spread the message and identify target audience with minimal investment and possibilities of revenue.

Might be time and resources better spent than mounting up yet another ad campaign.