"Ok, Houston, we've had a problem here."
Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert said those words while on the Apollo 13 NASA Mission. He was communicating the discovery of an explosion that had partially disabled their spacecraft.
From there the astronauts began their now-famous scramble to figure out how to return home.
The checklist they used during that scramble recently sold at auction for over $388,000.
We all use them.
For groceries. For the hardware store. Vacation packing. Christmas shopping.
Our checklists usually aren't a life or death situation. But they are still important.
If your task at hand is creating and launching a new insurance product, what should be on your checklist?
We won't claim to have the whole list, but here are some don't-miss things to add:
Serve Before You Sell
Good ideas are a dime a dozen.
Most businesses don't succeed because they had a good idea. They succeed because they got a good idea from the right source, nailed the execution, and did a bang-up job with sales and marketing.
Or they just got lucky. That happens too.
But early on in the idea-generating process, consider setting aside the whiteboard sessions and just find a way to serve the audience you want to sell to later.
Even if that means hooking them up with products from would-be competitors.
Bought By Many is an insurance provider in the UK. They used the "serve before sell" approach:
After successfully helping its 265,000 members get better deals from existing pet insurance providers, the company has launched its first insurance products, having listened to over 40,000 pieces of customer feedback about the gaps in provision available to pet owners in the UK.PRNewswire.com
Use the Force
Well, OK. Using The Force sounds better than just "listen well".
Today's social media channels provide a rich set of data to mine when considering a new product. Are you listening?
Define what it is you are thinking about selling. What names does it have? How do people talk about it? Are you thinking about selling it in other countries? What names does it have there? Develop a list of search terms to help you find an audience for your idea.
What social outlets provide the most hits for that list? What are the demographics of the users there? This knowledge will help you build a product development and communications plan.
Now let's get relevant. What stories are in the news? Do they have play with your keyword list? Who is talking about those stories and getting the most engagement? These will be influencers in the market - worth reaching out to during a promotional campaign.
And then there are your competitors - are they talking in this space? Are they getting traction?
Ease the Pain
The pain points.
If you work in the industry, you know these. From the customer perspective there are pain points in the whole process - getting insurance, filing a claim, getting payment on a claim.
Concentrate your new-product efforts on easing that pain.
If you don't, others will:
A new company, Quilt is launching in the U.S. and setting its sight on fixing the incredibly, painfully, broken experience of getting insured in America.Techcrunch.com
Develop a Unique Launch Plan
- Over 3,148,476 Blog posts written today
Over 423,083,980 Tweets sent today
Over 149,545,560,393 Emails sent today
Are you going to scream into that noise?
Better have something pretty good to say.
And a clever way to say it.
Forget brochures. Banner ads. Landing pages. Email campaigns. Or maybe don't forget them but set them aside for a moment.
How could you do this better?
An army of actors in gorilla suits showing up at the office?
Or a flash mob of opera divas singing your praises?
A man on a tricycle showing up at the local drag strip?
Ok, maybe not so clever. But you get the idea. Maybe your launch checklist should include reaching out to a creative agency who can dial in the right combination of clever and appropriate.
Don't Overthink It
Don't overthink the sell. Focus on your primary value and market that.
Trust in the knowledge of your target market. If you explain your core value proposition clear enough they should get it and get on board.
If not, maybe you didn't get the value proposition right.