Inbound Marketing Lessons from Death Star Kickstarter Project

Inbound Marketing is all about creating content people love, in such a way that more people will go to your business website and buy from you/sign up with your newsletter or any other goals as web traffic conversion you may have. Have you ever wondered whether Kickstarter can offer your startup/small business “residual” impacts? Find out how from this yet-another-example of how being quirky is good for your Inbound Marketing efforts: How about crowdfunding a Death Star?

death star kickstarter

What is a Death Star? Well, if you are a Star Wars fan, it’s not something you are unfamiliar with. But for the “general public,” Death Star sounds so scary. What is it, anyway? Appears in Star Wars movies, it is actually a fictional moon-size space station and super-weapon, capable of destroying a planet with an energy beam.

So, what a Death Star has got to do with Kickstarter, anyway?

It’s all started by a Kickstarter project launched by GNUT. I’m not sure what GNUT is all about, but it seems that the webmaster builds web games. But one thing for sure, the UK-based site launches an interesting, quirky Kickstarter project: Open Source Death Star.

The project is in response to this rejected petition to the US Government on building a Death Star for national defense. You MUST read the petition – I impressed with White House’s response made by Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget!

The project pitches backers to support a £20 million project of building a Death Star’s parts; the cost to build the entire thing is £543,000,000,000,000,000. There are currently more than 2,000 backers and £300K at stake.

The Death Star project immediately gains response; Simon Kwan launches Rebel Alliance X-Wing Squadron project to build an X-wing and train a pilot to fight the Death Star. This project has allegedly got more pledged amount than the Death Star project!

Of course, the projects are a joke! But I learn some lessons from this in term of Inbound Marketing.

Inbound Marketing lessons learned

Some say the project was stupid, but I’d say the idea behind the project is brilliant! I do aware that getting funded is not the purpose of this project, but the project creator gains many benefits from his/her project:

1. Instant buzz and inbound traffic!

There’s no better way to create buzz than doing something controversial that is worth talking about. The weird Kickstarter projects have gained buzz from the media (including Huffington Post and TechCrunch… and us!)

Not only Kickstarter, the project creators are also enjoying the “residual” effects of the buzz: More web traffic, more mentions and more branding benefits.

It seems that Kickstarter gives the same benefit of some other online marketplace gives: Getting buzz and traffic by launching a project that is both controversial and impossible to complete.

2. More potential opportunities for your business

Crowdfunding can give you more than just funding; it is no longer about persuading people to support your project often in exchange for a particular reward. It often serves as a way to promote your brand and other products. Just add links to your business website and social media page, and you will get not only web traffic and sales, but also reputation.

3. Those who are able to cater the community’s interest, win

Star Wars is not only movies; it’s a cult with millions of worldwide followers. Riding on the big names and cater to their interest will give you huge potential of exposure.

If you want a successful Inbound Marketing campaign, you can try to “hijack” major brands with strong community in your pitch: “Google alternative search engine” (targeting to a community of googlers)… “Point-and-click Facebook app builder” (aiming to Facebook huge user base)… “Let’s MOC your LEGO online!” (focusing on LEGO fans and LEGO MOC community)… “We make Seth Godin’s Purple Cow yellow” (pitching to Seth Godin’s followers… “Rich franchisee poor franchisee” (targeting franchisees and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad book readers and followers) and so on… beware of copyrights and term of usages, though…


Will there be more silly crowdfunding projects in the near future? My answer will be yes!

As people learn that it’s possible to “exploit” a crowdfunding platform, there will be more for-buzz or even for-fun projects. However, there will surely be the pros and cons of such projects, simply because it’s interesting for some people, but a real annoyance for others.

Of course, I am also a big believer that the market will automatically balance things: Kickstarter will eventually update their terms of service and guidelines that will regulate the do’s and don’ts in launching a project (or won’t they?)

So, what do you think of this new trend in crowdfunding? Is it a great trend that makes crowdfunding even cooler or a disturbing one that dilutes the purpose of a crowdfunding platform? Please share your opinion by leaving a comment on this blog post!