Coin Turned Me Into an Instant Brand Evangelist

Coin is a small device that replaces all of your credit cards. Using a credit card reader similar to a Square, you swipe each credit card you want it to store and that data is beamed wirelessly to Coin via bluetooth. A physical button on the device allows you to toggle between which credit card is being used. The video below does a great job of explaining Coin:

Looks pretty cool, right? Gone are the days of uneven butt cheeks being propped up by behemoth billfolds.

While the arrival of a device like Coin is novel and new, I don’t think it was quite unexpected. The ubiquity of smartphones, cheap card readers and improvement of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) are all technological developments that have allowed a product like Coin to market at an affordable price.

Regardless, they are the first company to do it and market it well. I started seeing links to Coin all over Twitter and Facebook. At first, it was not that surprising because it looked like a very cool and interesting product. But after I pre-ordered my Coin I found out there may have been a deeper reason everyone was so eager to share that they bought a Coin.

After submitting my pre-order for Coin I was instantly sent an email with a referral link in it. Mine looks like this:

https://onlycoin.com/?referral=dbck4dRL

If you click that link and order a Coin, I will receive a $5 refund on my Coin purchase. Brilliant. Referral links are not new or revolutionary, but they are extremely powerful for this type of product for a few reasons.

1. You are targeting techies.

Although Coin looks to make a task easier than before, it may look intimidating to a non-technical mind. People pre-ordering Coin are going to be comfortable, trustful and interested in technology. These same people are also likely to use social media more than the average person. Give them the opportunity to blog, tweet and share what they just bought and earn money doing so, and you have an instant viral loop.

2. Early adopters love to show and tell.

Pre-ordering a product is different than the instant gratification of simply ordering a product. When you pre-order you become invested emotionally. This happens because a) you are helping make someone’s vision become a reality and b) the wait and anticipation builds up the hype and excitement to the day you actually receive the product. Once you are emotionally invested in a product, you love to tell others about this grand new doohickey that solves whatever problem it’s solving. These people are much more likely to share their new found purchase.

I’m the perfect example of this. Whenever anybody asks me about the watch I’m wearing, I love to blurt out, “It’s a Pebble!”. I backed the pebble on Kickstarter and waited almost a year (after 5-6 months of delays) until I actually received it. But when I received the smart watch that I helped bring to market (along with 68,929 other people), I wanted to tell everyone who asked about it.

Granted, if Pebble was a crappy product this would not be the case. Luckily the Pebble is one of the best gadgets I have ever bought and will continue to sing its praises. The Coin will have to follow its marketing efforts with an equal or more outstanding product to turn product backers into brand evangelists. 

While Coin looks like an amazing product, the fact is that creating a brand new device and scaling production of that device often results in unforeseen complications and delays. I would bet against Coin actually delivering on time given the track record of other high profile crowd funded gadgets like the Pebble. However, the 50% discount is enough to rope me in for the long haul. A perfected late product is better than a shoddy rushed to market product. Yeah, I’m talking to you Samsung Galaxy Gear