As the year draws to an end I realise I never summarised why we failed at kickstarting. I think there is some wisdom in what we did that will be of use to others looking into kickstarting a project. I’ve managed to boil it down to 3 things we did wrong:
When we started our kickstarter we focused on both businesses who owned bars and home users who wanted a cool party device. Let that sink in for a moment. We, the 2 person startup, tried to focus our (tiny) marketing efforts on 2 very large and very different markets. How on earth did we think that would work!
The reality is we ended up speaking to a lot of bars etc during the kickstarter but they had legitimate concerns we hadn’t addressed in our marketing, because it just added extra fluff that home users didn’t need to see. We also spoke to quite a few end users who were interested, but a lot commented it seemed more at home in a bar!
We managed to aim ourselves right down the middle of 2 markets and miss both.
Lesson: Pick your target demographic and ensure you focus everything on that, don’t hedge your bets.
The price really stemmed from our first decision to market to 2 demographics, it also lied right in the middle of what would be acceptable to all, which meant it wouldn’t fit for either. For a reasonable machine you were looking at near £800, which is the starting price of a macbook air! Yet for a business this is too low as we can’t offer things like maintenance and guarantees at that price point.
Lesson: Ensure the pricing fits with your users
Hitting the ground running is a big part of Kickstarter, you need to be seen to get anyone to support you and you get seen by people supporting you! We did a load of press and work building up to the kickstarter, we had a decent Facebook group setup, twitter with a decent number of followers, we had a website that was getting good traffic, it was all in place. The key part of the puzzle we were missing was some pre-sales, we should have had a number of people lined up ready to buy so as soon as it landed of kickstarter we started getting sales.
I honestly think if we had pursued this we would have noticed the issue in our marketing to 2 demographics earlier and maybe even fixed it.
Lesson: Kickstarter isn’t where you start, make sure you have sales ready before you kickstart
I think our mistakes are clear and I hope it helps others to focus even more specifically and avoid some of the traps we fell into, that being said we made it into some TV snippets, radio, blogs, Facebook, twitter, emails, etc and the whole few months of kickstarting was a real blast. I’m proud that we attempted it and I’m really pleased with all the skills we picked up along the way.
As of now we have folded the boozebots company and will be moving the website to a holding status soon. It’s time for us to regroup and come back in 2015 a little wiser.