Is Crowdfunding The New Marketing?
New technology businesses have a new way to market themselves and interact with their customers: Crowdfunding.
This according to Evan Cohen Community Manager - Hardware, Design and Technology at Indiegogo a crowdfunding site that helps entreprenuers raise money. Unlike traditional financing, say, from a bank or a VC, the interactive nature of crowdfunding means that entreprenuers and inventors are communicating with their investors, many of whom are also customers.
During the recent NYC Internet of Things Meetup, at the clean energy-focused Urban Lab, Cohen explained that he has seen investors/customers actually provide suggestions and "fixes" for new and buggy products, and validate ideas. Further, the "anywhere" nature of crowdfunding means that new products literally have global exposure as part of the campaign. So while obtaining cash is one goal of crowdfunding, the community-building aspect might be just as important.
This is good news for IoT entreprenuers, plenty of whom were on hand at the Meetup. And, it is a good story about the value-add in the crowdfunding buisness, that helps justify the fees. Merging financing and marketing, crowdfunding it seems, does supply unique benefits.
So are crowdfunding sites functioning as marketing and PR agencies? At first blush, it certainly looks that way. And, while equity crowdfunding is still not possible in the U.S it will be interesting to see what happens next.
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