Marketing and Printing: Thinking about Micro Funding from a Branding Perspective
Despite tough economic times new sources of funding like www.kickstarter.com have become available to creative individuals. Micro funding and the Internet were practically made for each other. Through the Internet private individuals can invest in new artistic projects for as little as a few dollars. The premise behind the largest US micro funding website, Kickstarter.com, is to provide funding for authors, dancers, designers and other creative individuals. This money provides these artists with seed money that is otherwise almost non-existent. These small contributions add up; combined they provide serious funding for new ideas. The money is normally used to help create or finish a project but the funds can also be used for marketing, printing and any other overhead costs that are associated with any Kickstarter project.
Kickstarter Funds can be Used to Pay for Marketing Materials
Many Kickstarter projects are looking for funds for the printing of marketing materials and promotional items. These materials often do double service. For example an author will give special signed copies of a book or promotional item to their kickstarted funders. The promotional products then help the artist establish a name for themselves past the current project. Another brilliant aspect of Kickstarter is that successful Kickstarter artists will usually submit subsequent projects for funding. Promotional items left over from the first project can then be used for marketing and promoting the second project.
Kickstarter Projects Provide Excellent Online Marketing
Kickstarter provides a great deal more than funding. Projects are submitted and then they are widely shared within the online Kickstarter community. These shares are as valuable as the money provided for the projects. For example, Rebecca Dreistadt and Ryan Sohmer’s book project “The Bear” has 587 likes and numerous shares. In addition to the more than 80K they have raised for publishing the book, Kickstarter has brought the authors free publicity, shares and followers.
This additional online marketing contribution to the branding of the book and the reputation of the authors is one of the most important aspects of the Kickstarter formula. The site not only provides entrepreneurs with money but also with an added online marketing boost. Taking the monies collected for the project and then investing it in further promotional products, branding materials and marketing helps to brand the artists and kick start their careers. This is the purpose of the site and it does an excellent job at helping new talent establish a reputation.
Online Publishing Makes Printed Materials More Valuable
Online publishing has taken a huge chunk out of the traditional publishing houses over the last five years. However, the move to electronic books has made self-publishing relatively inexpensive and easy. The winners in this new dynamic are printers and authors. When self-published online authors decide to move to hard print they are usually reticent to give up artistic and monetary control over their projects. While the marketing and distribution departments of large publishing houses are appealing, they also take a majority of the author’s profits. Authors who have already made money with an online publication are no longer willing to take the poor contracts offered to new authors by traditional publishing houses.
Online publishing has had an additional impact. Printed books, especially limited-edition, four-color printed materials have acquired a new appeal. Everything from printed marketing materials to printed books and promotional products are increasingly valuable because they are more tangible and less common than online advertising and online publications. People want to have these printed materials in their homes as decoration. A book as decoration becomes a branding product with a long and valuable lifespan.
Within the Kickstarter community there is a merging of both online and traditional marketing materials. This convergence brings increased value to artists and entrepreneurs. The result is the propagation of new projects that enrich the lives of all of us.
About the Author!
Lisa Pluth, PhD, is a researcher for Go Promotional, The UK’s leading promotional products supplier.