StrikeIron Blog

Kickstarter Employee Tests User Experience; Discovers How to Make Life Easier for Others

Posted by Christina Motley on Thu, Jan 03, 2013

StrikeIron’s API Address Services reduces time, minimizes stress and removes fulfillment frustrations for user community by validating domestic and international addresses and completing ZIP codes 

Fred Benenson, a Kickstarter employee, believes in practicing what he preaches. He decided to become a “client” (or creator) of Kickstarter to try the user experience first-hand.

Kickstarter is a unique online business model, which helps bring imaginative projects to life through the direct support of others. Since its launch April 28, 2009, the company has provided an online platform for more than 3.1M people, who pledged $440M and funded over 33,000 creative projects, including films, games, music, art, design, technology and other creative projects.

Benenson shares his story in a blog, “Kickstarter Fulfillment and Product Development:  A Story of Dogfood and Data Validation,” highlighted here.

His idea was simple: “I fought SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and all I got was this stupid t-shirt.” Fulfilling orders, however, was more complicated than expected. Keeping an eye on expenses, he found a free 30-day batch mailing software. He imported addresses from a CSV file, only to learn the requirements were strict. Field entries required specific orders and data was limited to three lines, which mean he had to include t-shirt sizes next to address names (something not everyone probably wants disclosed). After a “time consuming task and stressful process,” the software rejected most of the addresses for a ZIP code problem.

Benenson – who was sure other creators had similar frustrations with order fulfillment and shipments – took his story back to the internal Kickstarter team, which sparked discussions about how to improve data processing creators face when delivering rewards to backers. They determined one solution to solve the “dirty-address problem was to use an external service to validate the addresses supplied by backers.” 

Colleague and Product Manager Jed Meade conducted research for verification services. StrikeIron emerged as the best solution and Kickstarter integrated with StrikeIron services to verify North American and Global shipping addresses in real-time as a value-add service for their creators in 2012. They upgraded their usage several months later.

“We are thrilled to call another innovative, online company a StrikeIron client,” says Justin Helmig, VP of Marketing for StrikeIron. As another point of interest, Helmig points out that adhering to best marketing practices; StrikeIron relies on sophisticated analytics to determine which marketing efforts yield the greatest ROI.

“Kickstarter was diligent in their research,” he says. “They found us through several channels. From a marketing perspective, this demonstrates the value of investing in integrated marketing across channels to offer prospects multiple touch points.”

Learn more about how to better connect with customers through multichannel marketing.

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