Rand Bleimeister on Deliver the Crowd and where crowdfunding is headed
Rand Bleimeister is the CEO of Deliver the Crowd, a company that assists entrepreneurs with planning and executing crowdfunding campaigns.
Created by a team of successful marketers, Deliver the Crowd uses the experience their founders have gained through their work in such crowdfunding-amenable industries as music, movies, sports, toys and fashion to provide early stage initiatives with a road map to follow through what can be a confusing part of business development.
Like many successful companies, Deliver the Crowd’s business model is built on anticipating and addressing client needs before they might recognize that need on their own. They are linked with consumer design and research firm Gelcomm to assist clients with product and branding, while also bringing in logistics provider Saddle Creek Logistics Services to address rewards storage and shipping.
In mid-November they purchased Marketingworks, a marketing firm that specializes in using social media.
Part of what makes crowdfunding so interesting to follow is that it is like watching an episode of American Idol (so I’ve been told). You have experienced performers who clearly know what they are doing up there lumped together with people who hopefully have a Plan B. Occasionally you come across that special fresh face who has a great idea and clear ability.
While always interesting for followers, it creates a challenge from a marketing perspective, as you are constantly working with different knowledge levels and abilities. Talking people into and out of ideas takes a unique skill set.
Then you have the delineation between equity crowdfunding and rewards-based crowdfunding, each with its own unique set of challenges. Rand Bleimeister sees certain characteristics in companies with a good chance for success.
“For equity crowdfunding campaigns, our ideal client is an established company with a management team that has a demonstrated ability to execute its business plan effectively. For rewards-based crowdfunding we will work with established artists who have a passionate audience and a large project in need of funding.”
An obvious benefit to a new company of choosing to work with someone like Deliver the Crowd is the opportunity to hand over a significant piece of their operation to someone with specialized knowledge in marketing. Most new entrepreneurs have skill in the area related to their idea, but if they only have a smattering of promotional ability, they soon find out it is not nearly enough.
“The benefit for the client is they and their team can go about running their day-to-day business without being distracted by the workflow of managing a crowdfunding campaign promoting their financing.”
A common mistake new companies make is underestimating the work involved in fulfilling rewards for successful campaigns (“I have to sign HOW MANY?”). Problems with production and shipping of crowdfunding rewards can be found across the industry, from the well-known issues with the Pebble smart watch to former professional wrestlers like Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Scott Hall taking heat for not meeting commitments made during recent campaigns.
“We need to recognize that some projects are easy to make and others are hard to make,” Bleimeister offered. “It is easy to create a book or a CD. It is much harder to make a gadget or a movie.”
Some people quickly find themselves in over their heads. “Lots of young people get their projects funded only to find out that making their product is much harder than they thought,” Bleimeister observed. “Many have never made anything before.”
The novice businessperson looking to use crowdfunding to attract seed money will probably think of Kickstarter or Indiegogo, as they command much of the attention, especially among novices. There are some distinct advantages to choosing one of these two companies. “For rewards-based crowdfunding campaigns, Kickstarter is number one,” Bleimeister said.
“They have the traffic, the tools and the brand trust that is so important to backers. If the project falls outside of Kickstarter’s guidelines, or the client requires flexible funding, then Indiegogo can be utilized.”