The Importance Of Being First
Are you an “early adopter?” I am. Sometimes.
I add new software to my home computer as soon as it debuts. Also new peripherals, updates, and enhancements. I do this fearlessly, since tech is a hobby. I figure, if something goes wrong, I can fix it.
But not so with buying a brand new type of auto, or being first in my group of friends to eat, say, chocolate-covered ants. I don’t know beans about cars or ants, and don’t want to. Let someone else blaze those trails.
What Your Peers Are Reading
Now, to you and your firm. Earlier, I asked, are you an early adopter?
More to the point, do you design cutting-edge products and put them on the street first? Do you sign up your agency to sell an innovative financial product or concept that no peer has ever seen? Do you stick your neck out that far?
If you havent been asking these questions, now might be a good time to start. You see, many financial product manufacturers today are stepping up efforts to produce and distribute all kinds of Firsts. The trend is far more pronounced than I can ever remember.
This is bound to affect you, whether youre in the field or home office, for it raises several issues: How do we assess the new designs? Should we add them to our portfolio? Can/should we respond in kind with innovations of our own? Where is all this going?
Promoters of today’s Firsts make no bones about their motives. Being First, they tell me, is mission critical to survival. They believe it gives them a leg up on the competition, bolsters brand awareness, helps expand sales to existing and new markets, and paves the way for market dominance.
So committed are these marketers to Firstness that they increasingly bring news of their Firsts to National Underwriter on a “first-crack” and/or exclusive basis.
Of course, the race to Firstdom is as old as the hills. But today, as I have said, in the insurance and financial industry, this race seems more keenly run than ever. If you need proof, ask any actuary worth his or her eyeshade.
Whats behind it?
The balmy scent of Firstness certainly has something to do with it. With its mixture of freshness, sparkle and newfound opportunity, a First-of-a-Kind product can draw producers and clients the way flowers do bees. The Great Aha can be intoxicating.
But the real kickers are more rational, I think. They are: 1) the economy and 2) technology.