Well the hard work paid off and after only 7 days of the Campaign we reached our goal of £100,000.
If Robox is the best 3D printer why isn’t the Campaign generating more Interest?
First off, we are not disappointed with the current results, quite the opposite, the process and response has been a great experience. I have never had the opportunity to talk to so many potential customers before the project is finished and I’m enjoying the process, certain that ultimately it will make the product better. We’ve had some extremely kind remarks, my personal favourite and something I have seen repeated is “This is a real game changer” – sorry… patting my own back right now. Saying all this I feel there are some 3D printers that have had better responses from the media and public but are technically inferior. So why the reduced interest?
3D printer fatigue – There has been a lot of 3D printers released into the market over the past year, and I’ve read comments like “another day, another 3D printer.”
Maybe our decision to not release any information or start the Kickstarter campaign until after we had a confirmed production date has not done us favours when it comes to the volume of KS backers. I stand by our decision, especially after reading the bad press that Pirate3D got when they could not deliver on their dates.
Christmas & Thanksgiving – Our timing is not great! A few days after we started the campaign the whole of the US downed tools, left their desks and celebrated Thanksgiving. Also, Robox delivery dates are after Christmas and I think a a lot of people are currently focusing their money on gifts and celebrations.
Poor prints in Video – This is a tricky one… We finished the mechanical side of Robox first, this is where most of our experience lies. Electronics and software are getting polished now, but without all aspects of the product working you can’t show all the functionality. We thought it most important to show the 2 nozzles working together on the video but this system needs EVERY aspect of Robox to be working seamlessly, we could again have waited until it was more complete but we were desperate to show the world what we have done! Also see the first point… waiting longer to release Robox may have further reduced the KS response.
Not in the US – Just a guess but… The biggest following for Kickstarter is in the US – maybe products that are produced and manufactured in the US do better than similar projects from other countries?
Low spend on PR and marketing – “You have to speculate to accumulate”… Wise words, but if you are asking for money to help with development is it right to spend all your money on telling the world? A fine line I think. There is no doubt that the more successful campaigns have spent a lot on PR and Marketing to polish their content and reach more people.
Cost of the product – This one makes me a little cross… We have priced our product so that it has a good future. The RRP of a product has to include development, tooling, material cost, assembly cost and shipping cost including tax and duty, our margin, distribution, resellers margin, etc… you can see that the cost of the materials to make the product becomes only a percentage of the price to the consumer. I think that a few, if not more, of the projects on Kickstarter have not fully considered these costs and if the product is to be truly mass marketable their initial price will later hurt them in the shops because they have had to increase it. As a product developer it is often possible to reduce your price in a market but its much more difficult to increase it unless you include additional functionality or accessories. Also, following the launch of the product, and with Robox in the hands of users, we must consider the cost of supporting those users and honouring our warranty period.
Stretch goal – We laid it all out, everything we have done, everything we are thinking of doing and where we are now. I think if we add stretch goals it’s like not really having a clear idea from the beginning of what it is we have set out to achieve. By offering more than our original plan for the same price we are not being fair to our backers. We asked for backing to help us develop a specific product, adding more complication/development is unlikely to bring us to improve our initial goal. Having said that, we are considering adding further rewards by putting dates against some of the future developments we are planning and asking backers if they want to support these developments now. For example, one of the most frequently requested extensions is the dual material head. We could add a reward to get this and a second extruder when ready in 4 months for a further pledge of £199…(only thinking out loud here…just an idea) this is possible because we have already included many of the requirements for this item in the original designs and tooling.
All this is just guess work of course and the only true way of telling would have been to amend all the above points and release at a different time.
This is not a gripe, we are extremely happy with our progress on KS, but there is the obvious question; If we think our system is the best in the world, why is it not the best Kickstarter campaign in the world?
This is probably a good time for me to stop talking and let you answer the question.. you are the people looking at the campaign I’m probably too close to the project to see the answer clearly. Your ideas are welcome; how can we make this campaign as big as it should be?