Decisions with Darts

Flare9 is a client that had a dilemma.  They have a really cool service, delivering affordable, high-quality web sites for small businesses.  The dilemma was where to focus go-to-market efforts.  As a startup, Flare9 has minimum resources in both cash and people so going after the “small business” market is too big.  Something more focused was needed.

We reviewed the service capabilities and helped to identify characteristics of small businesses that would not be a good fit.  That narrowed the field. Next we helped craft a set of needs and attitudes that were anticipated to be ideal customers of Flare9.  We worked through a set of possible market segments, writing each one on a 3 x 5 card.

The challenge is a little bit of a chicken and egg problem.  Flare9 delivers turnkey web sites with very high visual quality and performance without the need of a designer or developer.  The delivered sites are based on design templates and in order to be effective with a given market segment, it requires a portfolio of templates that are really cool for each market.  Having generic design templates is defeating the purpose. You can get generic from any ISP.  A veterinarian’s web site should visually look like it belongs to a vet site on initial glance, right?  And that vet should have a choice, not just a generic doggy or kitty design, right?  And she should be able to choose colors they like, right?

Faced with 16 or so 3 x 5 cards stuck to the wall, it was time to narrow the list down to three.  Those three would determine where to focus resources to get design templates and how to reach the chosen target markets. Josh Strebel, the founder of Flare9 left the room and returned with a set of darts.  At first I thought we were going to take a short break and throw some darts.  Nope.  It was a decision making tool.  We  threw darts at the 3 x 5 cards and the climatic result was the three market segments that Flare9 is focusing on.   Brilliant.  No emotion.  No discussion. Decision made.  Move on.  I love it.

David Daniels

David Daniels


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