I learned something new with iOS7. THANKS, HOUSEHUSBAND!!!!
I think villains have the best costumes.
So I decided to make some mood-board-type-things over at Geek Bomb. Check them out.
Poor Promotion + Poor Planning + Lofty Expectations = EPIC FAIL.
Some of you might remember that a month or so ago I posted about Z-Day, a live-action zombie apocalypse scenario delivered via laser skirmish. I thought this was a super neat idea (still do) so decided to spread the word. Today, the organisers announced via their Facebook page that Z-Day had been cancelled, despite initially meeting and exceeding their $10,000 funding target. The main reason being that the landowner where the event was to take place decided to pull their support and the fact that it took too long to raise funding and that people got cold feet and withdrew their pledges, amongst other things.
I’m going to break this essay down into three main parts:
- Timeframe of implementation of the project
- Lack of promotion via social media platforms
- Crap website
Now, this might seem like a legit reason. My friend, Ed, and I went into major “There’s-Gotta-Be-A-Reason-Why-Bioware-Did-This-To-ME3″-speculation mode as we had attended the initial photoshoot (which I posted about) and a subsequent one last month and needless to say, we weren’t confident that they were going to have things ready in time based on the fact that the first round of beta-testing was to occur a week from now and the first EVENT to commence THREE WEEKS later. Alarm bells started ringing for us because we made a conservative assumption that there was no way anyone could iron out any kinks in the system and re-test within a three week period. Cue us being conservative with our monies and not pledging any gold Dragons nor purchasing tickets to the event.
Needless to say, giving yourself a six month lead time from conception to roll-out for something as big as this is a bit optimistic (JUST A TAD, RIGHT).
ETA 13 September 2013:
I have decided to put a timeline together just so everyone has a better idea of just how LITTLE time there was to pull this whole thing off.
- March 2013 – Idea formed/Facebook page created
- (2-3 months of crickets chirping goes here)
- 27 May 2013 – First post on Facebook
- 22-23 June 2013 – Exhibited at Supanova
- 24 June 2013 – First Tweet posted; First Instagram posted
- 25 June 2013 – Lets people know (via FB page) that there is a crowdfunding aspect and to get on board.
- 7 July 2013 – First promotional photoshoot
- 31 July 2013 – Z-Day meet their $10k target.
- 4 August 2013 – Second promotional photoshoot
- 19 August 2013 – Crowdfunding closes with nearly $12k in the kitty; Daily Telegraph publishes story.
- 12 September 2013 – Z-Day announces they have aborted the project in its entirety
- 21 September 2013 – Scheduled beta testing day
- 12-13 October 2013 – First event dates
If you’re going to implement a project on a relatively short time-frame, you’re going to have to get word out quickly and keep on hammering your project to the masses, which brings me to my next point …
Another thing that I was concerned about was their general approach to marketing the event. Social media is can be a pretty awesome tool to getting yourself out there and it’s so easy to generate content with these tools. Z-Day had both a Twitter account and an Instagram account that were severely underutilised:
- Their Twitter made its first post on the 24th of June 2013 and its last on the 19th of August 2013. It has a total of 19 tweets and a paltry 27 followers at the time of writing this post.
- Their Instagram account doesn’t fare much better with a total of 8 photos posted and 35 followers.
Now take this into perspective with regards to the fact the conception started in March and go-live was in October. That’s either three months you’ve wasted by not sowing the seeds of promotion, or having only two months (the crowdfunding deadline was end of July/beginning of August if I recall correctly) to drum up enough interest to get people to fund your project. Neglecting two incredibly useful platforms to get your message out there in favour of a sporadically-updated Facebook page is not the way to do this. Neither is having a shitty website.
How great would it have been to see stuff like progress on developing the weapons (especially for the zombie class, which I found really interesting when it was explained to me)? More photos from the shoots? Encouraging people to give ideas on what they would like? There is no shortage of fans of the zombie-genre and the proof there is in the thousands of people that turn up to the annual Zombie Walks. Perhaps, progress just wasn’t moving quick enough.
Not everyone has a Facebook profile, nor do they have a Twitter account, which leaves …
SHITTY MCWEBSITE OF FAIL
Then there’s the website. Don’t get me started on the website. If all you had to rely on to get people to part with at least $100 of their money was a website that was incomplete, had broken links, and images that weren’t even of anything to do with the event (i.e. just ripped from other websites), you’ve got to be kidding yourself. Let’s break it down:
- Incomplete information: if you’re going to be putting stuff such as “x stuff goes here”, you may as well just fill it up with Lipsum text. The desktop version of the site doesn’t have this problem, but so many people use their smartphones to browse the web that having it like this is just embarassing.
- Broken links: Want to know the gameplay deets? 404-SORRY-YOU-CAN’T. This is probably the most crucial of pages on the freakin’ site and it’s BROKEN. What in the everloving Jesus …
- Unoriginal content: This is pretty self-explanatory (gallery for reference, and example 1, example 2, example 3, example 4). What boggles my mind is why on earth would you go to the effort of assembling people for a few photoshoots and NOT USE THAT CONTENT FOR ANYTHING (other than for posting on your Twitter account that NO-ONE KNOWS ABOUT)? People want to see photos of what they can expect when they buy a ticket for the event, not some generic photos of a SWAT team or Zombies. That being said, at least credit the original source of the images since you are pretty much running something that stands to make money.
I guess I could include the fact that it’s updated about as frequently as every other site due to the fact that the Press Releases section doesn’t include the huge-ass article from the Daily Telegraph last month (too little, too late).
“LEE, GO KILL URSELF, BITCH”
I’m not trying to take unmitigated potshots at the organisers of the event (personally, I think I make quite valid points), but merely using this as a case study of what not to do when you have a geeky pipe dream in your head that you want to make a reality. Things of this scale can’t be managed by a two-man team made up of “we both like zombies and laser tag and can make nifty gadgets.” I’ll admit that this is sometime how great things are born, but to ignore the fact that undertaking something like this requires many, many more resources who are business-savvy and, above all, time, is downright naïve to say the least. I hate seeing promising things go up in flames due to poor planning and no forethought and it brings out the angry marketing graduate in me that I thought i had locked away in a dark cupboard.
I’d be really curious to know whether or not a Project Charter was put together prior to the first drop of stage blood being shed. Another thing that is on my mind is why, after investing so much time, that they drop the project in its entirety and “go about their separate ways”? IT IS A MYSTERY.