By Jonathan Chaupin, originally published in Entrepreneur on 12/8/2016.
Reward crowdfunding has evolved.
Campaigns on platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are largely more sophisticated than their counterparts from just a few years ago. As a result, the audience also has raised the bar for marketing these crowdfunding initiatives.
Our company, Agency 2.0, has specialized in crowdfunding public relations and marketing since 2010. It’s part of our job to analyze current and emerging trends, identify which products have the greatest potential for reaching the seven-figure mark and then optimize our clients’ fundraising success. During the past six years, we’ve realized a common denominator across all campaigns that generate north of $1 million: High-quality marketing assets.
In traditional reward-based crowdfunding, specific product categories perform exceptionally well across a swell of campaigns. We believe these same concepts will continue their upward arcs and shape crowdfunding well into 2017.
One of the most exciting trends is the influx of electric-transportation vehicles and accessories that fall under the $1,000 price point. These electric bikes, skateboards and scooters have significant battery life and power but still are portable enough for urban commuters to easily take on trains, buses and trams.
In the coming year, we expect to see many more options for innovative commutes. And some even could rival the big boys at Segway. The SONDORS e-bike’s 2015 Indiegogo campaign raised more than $6 million in two months. Its simple design and low market price appealed to a broad cross-section.
Related: Mophie Cofounder Goes All in on High-Tech ‘Immoter’ Scooter
Feature-heavy hoodies, pants and messenger bags have proved hugely popular among travelers, adventurers and photographers. These modified upgrades of traditional items aren’t currently available anywhere else in the marketplace. Camera bags and backpacks with built-in chargers, custom pocketing and extra durability for extreme weather conditions continue to thrive.
The Baubux jacket, founded by a Chicago-based couple, raised more than $11 million through Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. It’s now found in Brookstone stores everywhere. We anticipate to see a greater selection of gear that caters to campers and adventurers. Successful products will make equipment (and packing it) much more efficient in terms of space and functionality.
The growing popularity of Amazon Echo and the newly released Google Home illustrates the demand for smart-home devices. Crowdfunding audiences have different tastes and needs for smart-home applications, often influenced by how they make use of their kitchens, living rooms and private spaces.
The Kickstarter release of Bonjour Smart Clock hints at an apparent preference for smart-home devices that can be customized to integrate with a consumer’s existing technology. Bonjour can communicate with many other smart devices, including Philips Hue and Google Nest.
Creators of smart-home devices are becoming more sophisticated and savvy in how they develop products. Shoppers can find products that interface with devices already in the home and introduce new applications that address needs we didn’t even know we had.
Crowdfunding backers constantly are on the lookout for products that promise sustainable appeal and longevity in the market. While backers are becoming increasingly cautious, product quality and development are evolving at a tremendous rate.
Successful creators listen to backers and respond with solutions that fill voids in the market. This is healthy for the crowdfunding industry because it reinforces the ideal relationship: product promised equals product delivered.