It’s been a couple of weeks worth celebrating, so we brought out the Whistle Pig to “inspire” references to the Fyre Festival and the need for management along with comparisons between Amazon & Taco Bell. Oh, and there’s time dedicated to get you thinking about if your product & distribution strategies are ready for the onslaught to your business wrought by the “digital natives” currently spoiled by your friends at Amazon.  

Did we have to bring the Fyre Festival debacle into this episode? Yes, we sure did. It’s a great case in studying the difference between leadership and management. We kick off the episode by drawing this distinction – along with why management isn’t the dirty word people think it is these days. Leader-oriented companies that don’t have the right balance of capable management to back up visionary thinking turn into sailboats ready to tip over with the first major wind gust. Kind of like the Fyre Festival, right? It’s also high time to challenge your thinking regarding the role of product innovation & distribution in healthcare. The importance of these functions should be growing within all of your companies as these sleepy sciences are waking up. You (yes, you) need to be leading this awakening. For fun, and under the influence of Whistle Pig, we also bring in references from “Demolition Man” to compare Amazon to Taco Bell. We move on to summarize current distribution thinking with an emphatic “bleh” while #ElevatingYourHealthcareThinking by asking you if your company is “Primed” to meet the needs of the “digital natives” that are becoming a key demographic for your success. Strap in & enjoy the ride.

Research Links & Show Notes

As the m4 innovation team continues to hone the show, we are also improving the format that we use to make these show notes useful to each of you. With that being said, here we go…

Three Questions You Need to Be Thinking About During the Show:

1. How far along on the continuum is your organization in planning for and implementing a digital distribution & marketing strategy? If you think this this is all “smoke,” maybe you should read this HBR article about “Marketing in the Age of Alexa”:

2. Maybe management isn’t a dirty word? If you haven’t watched the Fyre Festival documentaries on Hulu & Netflix, we’d recommend popping some popcorn and digging into this saga. You might find reaffirmation that when we see leadership grow without being checked by effective managers that really stupid, bad stuff can happen (to your company, to your team and… yeah, to those darn demanding, paying customers).

3. Can we just simplify this whole “Amazon’s getting into healthcare thing” down to you should be concerned about two things? A) They are better at producing insights from data than you are & B) they are better at giving customers what they want when and where they want it than you are. Oh my, what to do… what to do? For starters, start to think like they do to see where you have defendable vs. weak positions. As Tim O’Reilly has said, “Truly disruptive new services don’t just digitize the familiar. They do away with it.” Yeah, you should probably dig a little deeper here:

Insights from the m4 innovation Team as You Ponder Your Product & Distribution Strategies:

1. The body is the ultimate, customizable computer full of its own analytical secrets (what will you do here with your future products & what will you be allowed to do).

2. Distribution strategies must be constructed based on how you want to market and sell simple versus complex solutions. These strategies ARE NOT the same.

3. Keeping data bottled up as an advantage is not a winning strategy – especially for more standardized products.

4. Direct selling strategies have to offer a differentiated experience to gain any traction. Doing the same thing as your trusted partners in house is not the right approach. Those that can take advantage of being a step closer to the consumer of your service to build better experiences will have a shot at succeeding as a direct seller. All this being said, this is not the only distribution approach – nor should it be. 

5. Distribution inside insurers as a science is expanding beyond compensation and book of business performance. The marketplace of services is going to get wider and more customizable for consumers. Insurers, brokers or technology/consumer retail firms that insurance customers anoint as THE trusted marketplace of services will push ahead of competitors.

6. Don’t overlook the “digital natives” that now occupy a large chunk of the workforce – your product strategies are looking old and need to evolve.

Key Time Markers from the Show:

(0:36) – Let’s toast the Whistle Pig together!

(2:00) – m4 informational updates

(4:30) – Keller Influence Institute:
(managers vs. leaders segment begins with references to the Fyre Festival at 5:45)

(12:40) – Product & Distribution Segment Begins (obligatory plug: join 4mul8 and be part of discussions like this one in Atlanta 7/15-17; email us at for more information)

(15:00) – Amazon is really good with data (no, we’re not kidding) : Bezos also thinks if a consumer does not buy Prime, he/she is being irresponsible; are you as equally confident about the products you are offering?

(18:00) – It’s time to wake up your distribution strategies

(21:45) – Discussion on examples of emerging models that suck people in with low-priced, high perceived value approaches to build loyalty that allow for margin extraction over time (Prime. Charles Schwab. Health Sherpa UK.)

(23:45) – Fjord Research on the $100B market for commercial insurance Insurtechs & incumbents

(25:40) – Digital natives are here and they aren’t digging your “stuff”

(28:55) – Distribution model thinking from m4 innovation (see above section for key, written highlights)

(39:56) – End of Podcast Episode 003 (thanks for stopping by and listening… please feel free to share!)