This post is part of our new Future of Marketing series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Stefan Maynard, Co-Founder and CEO of Kickbooster.
1. What’s the history of Kickbooster? Where and how did you begin?
SM: Kickbooster began as a simple side project when we noticed that many Kickstarter campaign creators were trying to run their own referral/affiliate programs during their campaigns but nothing existed that easily allowed them to do so. So we hacked together a very basic version of what you see today using a variety of third-party tools to see if we would be able to solve this problem.
Once we determined that we had a viable product that people were willing to use during their campaign, we made the decision to invest the time and money into properly developing the product into a scalable solution, with the goal of helping people run their Kickstarter campaign.
2. What specific problem does Kickbooster solve? How do you solve it?
SM: Referral and Affiliate Marketing is nothing new, and for a long time has been how savvy Marketing Directors went about getting viral attention for their products. However, before launching Kickbooster it was very difficult for campaign creators to set up and run effective referral/affiliate programs during their campaign. The very nature of a Kickstarter campaign places certain restraints on properly running an affiliate program with the main issue being the limited time that a Kickstarter campaign lasts for. By signing up for Kickbooster, campaign creators are able to set up and manage a robust affiliate platform in minutes, giving them the ability to focus on other aspects of the project.
As a company, we have tried really hard to position ourselves in the Crowdfunding space as a software tool and not a marketing agency that will help you reach your funding goal. Kickbooster is a tool which is only as good as the person managing it. That being said, we have now seen well over 5,000 campaigns use the platform who have provided lots of feedback and training to new users on how to best manage and execute a referral/affiliate program during their short crowdfunding window.
3. What’s the future of marketing?
SM: When it comes to the future of marketing it’s really hard to say what the future holds… I don’t consider myself a marketing expert, but I do pride myself on learning what works and adapt quickly. Two of the biggest shifts that I have been seeing in the Crowdfunding space, and overall marketing world, include a pay for performance model where advertisers are awarded on actual product conversions and the second being the influencer marketing movement.
Both of these trends in marketing are becoming really evident in the crowdfunding space and I think a lot of their popularity has to do with the short time frame of a crowdfunding campaign. Campaign creators need to see measurable results fast and cannot afford to play the “long game” when it comes to their marketing, so a common trend has been having affiliates and influencers earn a higher commission for actual sales of the product rather than working on a CPM style of advertising. If campaign owners are able to properly align themselves with the right influencers in their respected niche it gives their campaign more credibility, allowing them to reach and exceed their funding goals. As we progress forward we see many campaign creators using Kickbooster to manage these influencer relationships and build upon them for years to come.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends you’re seeing in marketing?
SM: When I look at trends in marketing I think that one of the biggest shifts we are seeing is the use of analytics when making decisions about where marketing dollars should be spent. Years ago, a marketing team used to have to make educated cases backed by very little proven data but that has all changed. Marketing teams now have access to unlimited amounts of data that allows them to make fast informed decisions to better focus and increase their ROI on all marketing dollars spent. The role of a marketing team has evolved to not include creative personalities but also to include data analysts to ensure their efforts are being steered in the right direction. Most agencies now are able to fine tune their marketing message to increase conversion rates a fraction of a % and over time that additional revenue can equate to a substantial amount of additional revenue for any business.
5. Why is the marketing industry ripe for disruption?
SM: I think that the marketing industry is ripe for disruption because many old school or traditional marketing agencies who rely on invoicing for unmeasurable returns on investment will struggle. Most companies now are shifting towards only wanting to pay for actual measurable results on their initial investment and if you are a marketing agency that is not set up to handle this shift in people's expectations and perception, I think you will struggle to stay relevant. When I look at this scenario I think that it goes far beyond just the shift in expectations of a company owner but it also has a lot to do with how consumer behaviour is beginning to change. The way people make purchases now has evolved significantly over the last 5 years and will continue to change. So it is equally important for the marketing industry to recognize this shift in how people interact before purchase and tailor the marketing to that new behaviour.