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Extelligent's Clients — FirstSource Case Study

  • The Client: Online computer hardware and software retailer
  • The Requirements: Market segment, competitive positioning and strategic planning data
  • The Timeline: 45 days
“At the time we engaged Extelligent, Firstsource.com was desperate for accurate intelligence on the IT products marketplace and its competition”

The project, as Firstsource.com VP of Merchandising John Walsh described it, was deceptively simple: analyze a market and recommend strategies for competitive excellence. But when that market is the ever-expanding arena of on-line computer hardware and software retailing, and the information is needed yesterday to assemble a multimillion-dollar capital funding proposal, Walsh turned to Extelligent for answers. “At the time we engaged Extelligent, Firstsource.com was desperate for accurate intelligence on the IT products marketplace and its competition,” Walsh admitted.

Using a combination of primary and secondary research, coupled with insights from Extelligent’s world-class analytical services group, the results quickly took shape. “It wasn’t enough to pull SEC filings and market sizing estimates,” Extelligent Senior Partner Andrew Crane remarked. “We needed to go to the street, especially for information on the fast-moving small- and medium-sized business marketplace that Firstsource.com wanted to target. Our Research, Analysis, and Internet Services groups worked together to quickly put an electronic survey in the hands of over five hundred emerging business owners and executives. Coupled with the secondary research we assembled, and the analytical work that was done in finding Firstsource.com a viable competitive niche, the end result exactly fit Firstsource.com’s needs.”

Walsh couldn’t agree more. “With guidance from Extelligent, together we were able to determine the most relevant information required to answer our questions such as audience segmentation, sector growth rates, the size of marketplace, etc.,” he noted. “Ultimately, Extelligent's data was used to create and refine our company’s business plan, a plan that helped us succeed in raising $9.3 million dollars through a private placement.”

But Walsh called on Extelligent’s industry experience for more than just hard data. The firm was also looking to engage an advertising agency with just the right experience, creative focus, and team chemistry to accelerate Firstsource.com into the 21st century. Extelligent’s Market Partnership team interviewed and critiqued nearly fifty different leading advertising agencies, watched hundreds of hours of videotape, and critically evaluated thousands of printed creative examples before a short list of outstanding candidates could be assembled. After several rounds of detailed review, Firstsource selected Extelligent’s recommended agency, D’Arcy Masius Benton and Bowles to manage the account with projected billings in excess of $10 million.


  • Electronic research and analysis

  • Market sizing and segmentation analysis

  • Competitive analysis and positioning

  • Financial analysis

  • SWOT matrix development

  • Advertising/Marketing partnership ranking, review and selection


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