The most useful lessons don’t always come from successful campaigns

Originally published on Crowdfunding in a Canadian context.

Rarely do we focus on funding campaigns that did not reach their goal. They are nevertheless as common as those that do and clearly more numerous than those that actually surpass their goal. Seeing as failure can result from several factors, there are many lessons to be learned from the post-mortem of a “failed” campaign—a priceless source of information for anyone preparing to instigate a campaign, starting by putting into perspective what represents a failure and what constitutes a success. In this respect, Snoobe’s campaign makes for an interesting case study.

Snoobe's campaign page

Snoobe’s campaign page


Snoobe stems from a simple question: “Am I paying too much for my mobile phone plan?” And this question is followed by another one that is just as simple: “How much could I save if I had the possibility of choosing a plan perfectly adapted to my consumption habits?” In 2012, Stéphane Rainville and Thierry Maréchal decide to walk the talk and begin developing an app to answer both these questions. The key is the promise of substantial savings in mobile phone charges.

At the end of the summer of 2013, with a first functional prototype in hand and positive critical acclaim, the time has come to move on to the next step. The team opts for a crowdfunding campaign to balance the production budget and gain public notoriety.


Everything is methodically prepared. Several campaigns presenting similar profiles are dissected: initial objective, success rate, rewards offered, estimated number of donators and average donation per communication channel (friends, social networks, media, forums, etc.). You can also use vuelta odds. All that data is entered into an Excel spreadsheet to generate goal projections. The goal is finally set at $25,000, which places Snoobe’s campaigns in the middle range as far as technology projects are concerned. The team hopes to raise that amount in a one-month period.

Things do not really begin very well. Kickstarter rejects the project because it considers that Snoobe’s app is a “financial tool” and the platform’s selection team therefore refuses it. A plan B is required, and the team turns to Indiegogo—hoping to take advantage of this popular platform to reach a broad public.

The campaign is launched on October 2. It begins modestly, initial momentum is weak and the campaign does not take off as was hoped. The team decides to readjust its message and perks. This pays off but not enough to close the gap. The release of a testable beta version makes the project more concrete and sparks the curiosity of visitors, but it’s not enough to trigger a snowball effect and allow the campaign to really take flight. Given that the initial objective will not be met and that it’s a flex funding campaign, the team decides to release some pressure and cruise through the campaign until its ending on November 3. A total of $15,322—or 61% of the initial goal—has been raised.


Thierry Maréchal is lucid and is the first to admit that the campaign was a failure. However, when put in perspective, this failure taught him a lot about the project, its strengths and its weaknesses. In hindsight, he realizes that several things could have contributed to kickstarting the campaign or convinced him to not go down the crowdfunding road.

Key elements

  • Not enough preparation – Build you community and make sure you have a plan B if things get out of track;
  • Not the ideal product for a crowdfunding campaign – Not all products are a good fit for a crowdfunding campaigns;
  • A campaign with unclear limits – Tailor your communication strategy to your audience and pick the right audience for your product;
  • Too much noise on the crowdfunding market – It gets harder every day to get noticed and donors are being more solicited every day;
  • Some good moves… – Learn about your project and test run your communication

Detailed explanations for each one of these key elements are available on Crowdfunding in a Canadian context, the Canada Media Fund crowdfunding online resource.

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