I have a website which takes a new spin on fundraising. It is competitive fundraising where people go head to head in a competitive winner take all format. Think gofundme but side by side in a game format. Trump vs Stormy, NRA vs Students for Gun Control. Should we promote different matchups or should we promote the new slant on fundraising? The site is FundingWars.com fyi.
I think the question is which is more important to you, the platform or the individual fundraiser? The site will gain attention through each "poll," however, marketing the site alone may not ensure the success of the different polls. But if it were me doing it, I'd market both. The truth is they are one in the same. If people don't care about what is being challenged on the site, you have no website. Vice versus, they won't care about the website, if you don't have exciting challenges.
So, it would seem that you might have the typical platform quandary -- you need to grow both users/investors, and companies that want to participate in your platform. Which do you grow first?
Growing users/investors is likely the priority. If you have a few companies, then you can grow your base of interested people. If you have enough people who are paying attention--and can cultivate a group that are willing to invest--then you can get more companies.
To raise awareness and grow the user base, I would focus on the controversial issues, which will be more likely to pique interest and to get people watching and engaging. Perhaps find some way for people to participate without investing, and a reason why people should share.
You can use PR to tie both the controversy and the model together, and use marketing and social media to promote the controversy.
I would go with promoting the matchups for two reasons,
1) People identify with causes not formats.
2) If the matchups are well paired the natural competition should drive contributions
Personally I am intrigued by your concept and will be following how you develop.
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Pocono Record What To Do page spuds
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For further queries you can consult me.
I worked as a corporate & startup marketer for 12 years before starting my own marketing education and services company.
Launching an outlandish challenge would be great for PR and exposure. In your example, NRA vs Students for Gun Control becomes a human interest story because the results serve as a litmus test of which side of the fence people are more likely to financially support.
The only hurdle would be finding a source of momentum to keep the challenge going. GoFundMe works well because there is an individual invested in the campaign being successful. In the way you've descried your challenge it seems it would be run by your platform without participation from either side to support it. I would look into getting the opposing sides involved to spread the word. A company that does a good job of leveraging momentum in the charitable giving space is Omaze.
Happy to have a call if you have any additional questions!