43. Matt Marrocco, Author and Lead Designer

Lead Industrial Designer for Streng and author of two successfully launched Kickstarter projects, Matt Marrocco has +6 years experience assisting in the creation of meaningful products, systems, and experiences that have a lasting impact with the end-user both domestically and globally.

How does your job fit into the advertising process? At Streng, I’m responsible for development of new concepts, prototyping and ultimately, final surfacing for mass production. I also lead teams from concept to production through developing sketches, renderings and mock-ups for final client presentations.

As an author and business-owner, my wife and I have a hand in every facet of running the business. It is hard to envision a situation where my job wouldn’t be to simultaneously manage all aspects of the business – design, brand, promotion, social, etc.

What are a few tricks you’ve learned about design? Be as transparent with people as you can about who you are, what you’re doing and how you plan to improve their lives in some incremental way in exchange for their money. Consistent, friendly and purposeful communication across multiple channels is crucial.

What are a few projects you’ve worked on? I developed the Garmin Ant, an iPhone adapter for athletes.

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I’ve also co-created two sketchbooks and reference guides.

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Tell me about your kickstarter crowdfunding experience. I’ve launched 2 successful kickstarter projects for 2 books, I Draw Cars and I Draw Comics

Running a crowdfunding campaign isn’t just sitting back and watching money come in – it’s a full time job in itself. You have so much to handle because you have to simultaneously manage all aspects of the project – design, brand, promotion, social networking, press, etc. 

Listening and being engaged with what people are saying about your product, brand, service, etc. is crucial, especially when trying to raise funds. Staying active in the comments section and inbox was definitely instrumental in getting funded and continues to be a great way to stay in touch with pledgers.

It’s great being funded because you get to bring your dream to life, but it is also a huge responsibility. Coordinating manufacturing, fulfillment, and customer satisfaction through delays and the inevitable mishaps that can occur in the product development process. 

I Draw Cars (Matt’s first project) was the most riddled with mistakes, but it was a blast and a learning experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. This project really taught me a lot going into I Draw Comics (Matt’s second project).

I Draw Comics is among Kickstarter’s most funded projects. How did you pull that off? I think for a couple of reasons:

  • Lessons learned from my first project
  • A more professionally prepared video
  • A more focused communications strategy
  • An enormous demand for drawing comics
  • The snowball effect from the success of I Draw Cars

The second time around, we (Matt Morrocco and Ryan Stegman) had the funding to have a professional video made. Additionally, this Kickstarter process was more streamlined. We were aware of all of these advantages coming into the second project, so it was easier to predict and avoid many problems.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Mike Del Ponte, an entrepreneur who kickstarted Soma – a compostable water filter, explains in detail on Tim Ferriss’s blog how he organized his communications campaign to raise $100,000 in only 10 days.]

What percentage would you say your friends contributed to the success of your campaigns? Outside your network? I think it was mostly contributors outside of my social network. We were able to reach a lot of folks all over the world through interviews and blog features.

What’s your favorite advertising campaign? Here are two:

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Where do you go for inspiration?

I have a small advertising budget, any advice? I’ve never spent money on advertising. I’d say instead, invest in making and designing high-quality products that generate their own buzz. I agree with Eric Holden that “if your product/service is unbelievable, people will talk about it.”

Secondly, marketing done is important, but marketing done by real clients is the best form of marketing. Invest your time and money in getting a video of influential people using and endorsing your product.

Spend your time pitching to influencial bloggers and journalists to get articles written about you or your products.

Lastly, under-promise and over-deliver. That’s the best advice I can give.

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