Wildfire Interactive Inc. (A)
2014 | Case No. E506A | Length 17 pgs.
It was June 2011, and Alain Chuard and Victoria Ransom reflected on their history as founders of Wildfire Interactive Inc. (Wildfire). Originally called Promotion Builder, Wildfire had evolved from an in-house marketing solution used by the duo’s adventure travel company to a multi-platform software program used by thousands of businesses globally. The Wildfire product enabled these customers to develop customized social-media marketing campaigns composed of video and essay competitions, user-generated contests, quizzes, and coupons. Users could then push these promotions to their websites or social networks, such as Facebook, hi5, and LinkedIn. Through this evolution, the team contended with a myriad of difficulties, including attracting talent, navigating international markets, and building and scaling operations. In particular, obstacles associated with cultural differences and geographical distance made it challenging for the company to maintain effective operations overseas. Moreover, relative to its competitors, Wildfire was substantially under-funded and under-marketed. This made it difficult for the founders to decide when the company should either accept or turn away lucrative—yet demanding—high-profile customers. Chuard and Ransom were now at another critical decision point in the organization’s lifecycle. Wildfire had traditionally been a campaign-based product. Under this model, Wildfire was offered to customers for an initial fee plus a per-day charge, the size of which was dependent upon the feature set chosen by the customer. Recent pressures from investors and consumers, however, had pushed the founders to consider a transition to a subscription-based platform that would provide timeline and stream management, analytics, and page-management functionality. Whereas the founders knew that transforming business models could have various positive effects for Wildfire, implementing the change would also inherently alter the company and its product, stress existing operations, and possibly put the firm’s viability at risk. Sitting in Wildfire’s headquarters, Chuard and Ransom mulled over the implications of making such a change.
Learning ObjectiveThe purpose of this case is to guide students through: • Building and scaling operations • Evaluating resource allocation decisions • Managing high-profile clients • Understanding the implications of business model selection and changes • Navigating international expansion
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