At the Coastal Shows event in New York City, I asked “Where are all the marketing people?” One or two people raised their hands, but not more.
Crowdfunding portals are not technology companies. No portal can succeed without great technology, but ultimately the success of the portal does not ultimately depend on its technology. Nor are portals venture capital companies, or real estate companies, or health care companies.
In my opinion Crowdfunding portals are ultimately marketing companies, in the same sense that Morgan Stanley is ultimately a marketing company. Like today’s investment banks, portals will compete for the best deals and, of course, for the eyes and checkbooks of millions of individual investors. It seems clear to me that while the technology and, to a large extent, even the expertise of the portal are commodities in the sense that they can be purchased, the ability to market effectively will tip the scales one way or another.
Beyond that, my experience suggests that the term “marketing” might be understood too narrowly in the Crowdfunding industry today. On one hand, of course marketing means reaching out to and attracting investors. On the other hand, marketing also means figuring out what investors want and tailoring the product(s) on the portal accordingly.
Why has marketing played such a small role in Crowdfunding so far? Maybe because the industry is so young. Maybe at the next conference the marketing sponsor will raise her hand and ask “Where are all the lawyers?”
Questions? Let me know.