A few days ago, a Liberal young lady responded to one of my Blogs about the disastrous roll-out of Obamacare, posted on Ted Cruz’s Facebook Page, by saying that I knew nothing about the “Business World” and that “bad stuff” happening during Product Launches “all the time”.
As a VP of Marketing , I had a good chuckle at that, and informed the young lady that in the “Real World”, Product Launches are well-planned and well-executed, because if they fail, people lose their jobs.
On August 26, 2013, Forbes.com published an article titled “Five Steps to a Seamless Product Launch”. Let’s look at their suggestions and see how the President’s Signature Legislation stacks up.
1. Expect bad things to happen. No matter how unsexy they are, every business needs contingency plans. Don’t think that what happened to others won’t happen to you. For example, will you be cycling millions through a payment processor over a 7-day period? Put multiple processors in place and rotate them to avoid slowdowns.
Well….The “smartest guy in the room” made no contingency plans. After all, he’s The Lightbringer. He had Top Men working on Obamacare. Top. Men. His latest “contingency plan” involves suggesting that Americans go to the insurance companies’ websites to find out about Obamacare…a self-defeating plan if I’ve ever seen one.
So, Obama was forced to make ‘contingency plans on the fly, looking like a Junior Executive in an important meeting with his Board of Directors after the laptop that help his ground-breaking proposal crashed.
2. Bring on extra staff. A big product launch is no time to run lean and mean. Let full-time and temp staff know they’ll be working around the clock, and compensate them well. The large influx of business will create customer service and technical issues you don’t normally experience, and you’ll need people to handle them. A new customer’s first impression is usually a permanent one.
Obama brought on extra staff…and paid them well…with our money. However, Forbes was referring to competent business professionals, not a failed IT Company out of Canada, who donated to Obama’s re- election. Nor were they suggesting hiring felons to as “Obamacare Navigators”, manning the Customer Service Lines
Obamacare’s “first customer” was America. and the customer’s impression is that it stinks on ice.
3. Improve your reputation. When buzz is generated, people will research your product and business. Make sure what they see is very good. Have existing customers or staff write blog posts and create videos to enhance your search results. Promote these on your website to generate more revenue during your launch.
The disastrous roll-out of Obamacare has ruined whatever was left of Obama’s reputation. Unfortunately for the CEO, it’s has to write bolog posts about this”product” when it has been impossible to acquire it. And, as far as promoting Obamacare on healthcare.gov…the website would actually have to work to do that.
4. Set expectations. Launches are hectic; let the people in your life know you’ll be largely unavailable. Eliminate other major obligations during this time.
Last weekend Obama played his 150th round of golf as President of the United States. Evidently, it was a major obligation.
5. Schedule weekly check-in meetings. About three months pre-launch, my team meets every single week for up to two hours to stay on schedule. This discipline reduces procrastination and the need to urgently handle miscommunicated responsibilities.
On March 22, 2013, Avik Roy, writing for Forbes.com, said,
Obamacare’s reorganization of the U.S. health care system is slated to go on-line on January 1, 2014. That’s when the law’s key provisions go into effect: its individual mandate; its rules requiring higher premiums for young people; and its expansion of insurance coverage through Medicaid and the law’s subsidized private insurance exchanges. Increasingly, officials in the Obama administration are worried that the rollout of the exchanges will be chaotic, given the law’s complexity and unrealistic deadlines. “We are under 200 days from open enrollment” on the exchanges, noted Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, at a recent conference. “I’m pretty nervous—I don’t know about you.”
I would say that knowing that a “Product Launch” was going to go South, 9 months ahead of time, and doing nothing about it was a serious case of procrastination, wouldn’t you?
Plus, it’s not like this was a Product Launch of a new spatula or something, this “Product Launch” involves Health Insurance Decisions, affecting Americans’ lives.
As I mentioned earlier, the success of a Product Launch is measured by its results.
So, what are the results of the Obamacare “Product Launch” so far?
Reuters.com reports that
States with functioning exchanges have signed up 49,100 people compared with the 1.4 million people expected to be enrolled for 2014, according to the report by healthcare research and consultancy firm Avalere Health.
With enrollment in the federal HealthCare.gov website serving 36 states stalled by technical failures, the weak sign-ups for functioning insurance exchanges could be due to the administration’s difficulty to promote the program as a success, Avalere said.
The government is due to release national enrollment figures for the month of October this week. Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.
Eventually, a report on the success of a Product Launch is published. When results are less that what was expected, corporations will usually “massage the numbers” to make a disastrous roll-out look better.
Of course, Obama has the power of the Federal Government behind him, so, these numbers won’t just be massaged….they’ll be expanded.
According to The Washington Post,
The fight over how to define the new health law’s success is coming down to one question: Who counts as an Obamacare enrollee?
Health insurance plans only count subscribers as enrolled in a health plan once they’ve submited a payment. That is when the carrier sends out a member card and begins paying doctor bills.
When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid.
“In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace,” said an administration official, who requested anonymity to frankly describe the methodology.
Just as Obama lied that “if you like your health plan, you’ll be able to keep your health plan”, and if “you like your doctor, you’ll be able to keep your doctor”, no less than 29 times, he and his Administration are about to lie about the results of the Obamacare Roll-out, in a desperate attempt to make chicken soup out of chicken you-know-what.
To quote the great actor Claude Rains, in his unforgettable role as Captain Renault, in the classic movie “Casablanca”,
I am shocked…shocked.
Until He Comes,