As I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently backed a Kickstarter campaign for a board game called Marvel United. The combination of the board game’s designer, publisher, and Marvel theme (I love me some Avengers - who’s your favorite?) had me on ‘board’ (I won’t ask for an excuse for the pun) immediately.
First off, let me just start by saying this: as a fellow individual in marketing, I applaud their marketing team. The way they ran this campaign was genius. As a consumer, I was screaming through half the campaign as I upped my pledge after each exciting (and meticulously well-planned) update. Seriously, folks - marketing works, and I am exactly the kind of person that it works on, lol.
It started out with a simple $60 pledge for the base game that contained 5 of Marvel’s most popular heroes (Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and the Incredible Hulk), 3 notable villains (Ultron, Red Skull, and Taskmaster). You could also purchase a Kickstarter exclusive (this is one of the key tricks here) expansion for $30 that won’t be sold in stores. The Infinity Gauntlet featured Thanos and his generals and a brand new campaign to play in.
So, naturally, I pledged my $90 and went on my merry way. ...or, so I thought.
One of the best ways to be efficient on Kickstarter is to send frequent updates and teasers to your backers. Like most things, engagement is key for retaining customers, encouraging those customers to spread the word, and continuing to generate excitement about the project. Within these updates, CMON touted an impressive array of stretch goals all around unlocking new characters to add to the game.
This included some additional expansions (another of which was a KS Exclusive), and by the time all was said and done there were some 80 characters available across the base game and all the expansions, plus a looming $190 pledge level (which I absolutely funded, because come on, let’s be real here).
In all, one thing in particular was a common thread here: communication.
This campaign communicated with its backers frequently, sharing updates, behind the scenes tidbits, and painting concepts to excite the half of the community that’s in it for the miniatures (something that the company running the campaign, Cool Mini or Not, is famous for). Every time a new hero was unlocked as a stretch goal, they would send out an email alert. Then, after a few days of this, when things would slow down, they would add and announce a new optional expansion or add on, usually with some kind of clever animated video.
People would adjust their pledges, the numbers would soar, and more stretch goals would unlock, re-igniting the hype.
This went on for a month, and when all was said and done, they’d raised over 2 million dollars for their project. The estimated delivery for everything is in March of next year, and while that’s a long time to wait, it’ll be like getting a second Christmas when it all arrives at my doorstep.
Now, this Kickstarter was effective for many reasons, not the least of which was that CMON is an established company and Marvel is an extremely popular intellectual property. Put them together, and you already have gold - but keep people wondering and waiting and excited, and checking back constantly for updates, well that’s a recipe for success.