How One Connection and Twenty Three Seconds Can Change Your Company’s Trajectory…
We recently saw a campaign on Kickstarter that grabbed our attention. Not just for the idea itself but, as we followed the campaign’s progress, how their eventual funding came to be realized. It was a great example of luck being the product of preparation and opportunity (and of course hard work…a lot of work). In this case, being at the right event and having a chance encounter with one person that changed the course of the campaign and “set the table” for its success.
EzPz is the maker of the Less Mess Happy Mat, an integrated placemat and plate that self-seals to the table. The Less Mess Happy Mat was designed to simplify the mealtime experience for kids and parents. Having a couple kids myself I thought the idea was pretty cool and was interested to see if the product would find the necessary backing to move forward with the first stages of production and market entry. The EzPz Kickstarter had a funding window of 30 days in which they had to reach $35,000. If they didn’t reach their goal the project would not be funded, leaving them, like most start-ups, in a fight to find capital or an alternative form of financing.
Understanding that the consumer products space, especially for kids/babies, is very competitive and saturated with an abundance of choices, I wasn’t surprised to see the EzPz Kickstarter campaign get off to a slow start. Like any start-up fighting for attention, there was just a lack of awareness and their value proposition was getting lost in the white noise that has become all media and the decreasing attention span of today’s consumer. We call this Competing For Mindshare, where you not only need the customer to devote attention to your product / service, you also need to convince them to change their behavior and abandon another product or service that they’ve already adopted. It all plays into the overall bigger issue of Getting Noticed, something that’s not easy to do, especially for a start-up with a limited budget.
Enter the Power of One. In this case it was one person who changed EzPz’s entire campaign outlook and gave them a serious amount of momentum. Over the first 10-12 days EzPz’s campaign was fairly stagnant, securing roughly $9,000 in backer funding. It was a slow trickle and, when looking at average projections, they were likely not going to reach their funding goal. However, to their credit (and we assume this was done intentionally), they had entered to showcase their Less Mess Happy Mat at the annual ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas. This would be the example of preparation, timing their Kickstarter to coincide, in part, with their time at the expo. And with their presence at the expo came opportunity. In this case it was a gentleman known as “The Baby Guy”, a well-known personality in the baby product space and essentially a professional baby gear reviewer (he’s been seen on Martha Stewart).
As chance would have it, The Baby Guy stopped by EzPz’s booth at the expo and decided (against his usual policy with products at the Kickstarter stage) to post a live, impromptu video review of the Less Mess Happy Mat to his Facebook page (his page has 110,000 likes). In short, his twenty-three second video saw an outstanding response, generating over 7,000 likes and 3,800 shares. Within 3 minutes the EzPz Kickstarter jumped $1,000 and over the next 12 hours it climbed another $21,000. And just like that, their campaign was basically funded.
It should be noted that as of today, with about 9 days to go, the EzPz Kickstarter now sits at $59,000 in total backing, with any additional funding likely being a carryover from that initial 23 second video.
In the end, we think this story is about more than viral marketing via social media. It shows the importance of timing your launch, as it allowed, in this case, the EzPz campaign into an arena filled with potential connections that could serve as the conduit to getting noticed and ultimately help them find the needed capital to move forward. Timing is especially important when using a platform like Kickstarter where your success is operating under a deadline.
It’s also a good example of being aware of the players or “aficionados” in your industry that have the power to move the needle for you. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge celebrity. A respected person with a large network can create a similar snowball, relative to scale. Anytime you can directly get in front of these people it can only help your net awareness factor. You may also research these types of people/contacts and send them your info, product samples, etc. If they like your idea, more are sure to follow.
For more discussions on entrepreneurship and how to launch new ventures visit www.HowToLaunch.com.