Part of my holiday routine is sorting through the boxes of toys in the basement, pitching the ones that are broken or have missing parts, setting aside the ones the kids have outgrown and neatly shelving the ones still in play. I was about to head upstairs when the dartboard in the far corner of the room caught my eye.


The dartboard. A timeless toy still resolutely hanging in the middle of the piece of plywood we had installed to guard the basement walls. I remembered our first game—darts flying everywhere. In those days we gave points for hitting the dartboard and celebrated if, and when, there was ever a bullseye.


As the kids grew, their throwing improved–their aim, not so much. While they almost always hit the board, the random doubling and tripling of points when a dart happened to fall in one of the tiny red or green boxes lead to shouts of “unfair” or “but mine was closer to the center.”


This fall my oldest went off to college and we didn’t see her until winter break. I was surprised when, upon walking in the door, she grabbed her Nintendo-playing brother off the couch and headed for the basement. Some curious combination of physics and physical fitness seemed to have sharpened both her aim and her throw. She could call out where on the board she wanted the dart to land, and 9 out of 10 times, she nailed it.


When I asked her where she learned how to do this, she proudly responded, “My marketing class.”


“When the trimester began,” she continued, ”I thought marketing was all about creating a message for your client and hoping it would find an audience. Turns out traditional marketing is. But like everything else, marketing has become more sophisticated.


Using account based marketing, we focus first on the right buyers for our client’s product or service, understanding what’s important to them and crafting messages more attune to their needs.


But what really got me excited was when we began talking about pursuit based marketing…when you help your client go toe-to-toe with the competition to score that one big project. I get an adrenalin rush working with the client to profile the decision makers. I get goosebumps when every piece of communication created for the pitch is tied to theme–the theme you’ve developed to help the customer see that your client is the right choice.”


I was stunned. I said, “I have never seen you this enthusiastic about school before. But what does this have to do with darts?”


She gave me that quizzical look that I have learned to interpret as, “Do I have to explain everything?” and said, “The professor held our Friday afternoon marketing labs at the pub near campus. He promised an A to anyone who could beat him by the end of the trimester.”


“And……” I asked.


“Report cards are available on line next week. You’ll have to wait and see.”



About the author:

Kathy Morris is Quicksilver’s Vice President and Executive Producer. For over 18 years, she has worked with clients to quickly and cost-effectively respond to their most important opportunities.


To learn more about how Quicksilver uses the principles of pursuit based marketing to help our clients win business, contact us.