At Marshmallow, we’re on a mission to help as many people as possible get affordable insurance, all while providing a great customer experience. That means continually improving our products and building new ones, too! We sat down with Group Product Manager Faris to hear about launching Marshmallow Essential, our cost-saving insurance plan.
Where did the idea come from for Marshmallow Essential?
Marshmallow is all about trying to help people get the cover they need at a price they can afford. Not everyone can afford a policy with all the bells and whistles of our Marshmallow Original car insurance plan. And we know there’s a large customer base out there who would rather have a basic policy which just provides the bare essentials (while still providing a great service, of course!) So Marshmallow Essential seemed like the perfect solution.
How did you test and validate the idea?
With validation, it’s really important to do it across multiple stages.
The first thing is to make sure there’s a market for the product to succeed. We looked at our competitors and could see that there was clearly a market for more basic products, with many offering a stripped-back version of their main car insurance offering.
Along with this, Marshmallow is lucky to have a huge database of data we can tap into to understand what’s most important to our customers. That data tells us that price is the main driver of demand.
Once we identified that we were overpriced compared to some of our competitors’ more basic products, we moved fast to get a product created within weeks.
How did you measure and track the performance of Marshmallow Essential?
When Marshmallow Essential launched, we very quickly realised it had potential to be a successful product as we saw an increase in the conversion rate of people visiting our website.
Later in the process, we were able to do a few other things to see how the product was doing. For example, we spoke with customers to see if they were satisfied with the product, which led to some really positive feedback.
How did you build and ship the product so quickly?
It was all down to collaboration across the company!
Once we identified the opportunity to build a basic product, we brought together several teams from around the business and figured out a plan. As a business, we’d only ever had one product on offer (Marshmallow Original) so we had to work out how we were going to offer two products. This meant working with everyone from our underwriting and pricing teams to the technology and operations teams. It was a company-wide effort.
We discussed how the existing scope of work for the teams was going to be affected, got the touch points and product requirements properly documented and defined a proper timeline.
What testing did you do to make sure the product was ready to be delivered?
Once we had the scope of the product outlined, it was really important to make sure we delivered it right. So we did lots of A/B testing.
That involved designing multiple versions of the sign up flow that potential customers might go through to sign up for a policy. We wanted to make sure they could see and understand that we had two types of car insurance plans on offer.
A lot of our testing involved trying to work out the best way to present these two car insurance plans, Marshmallow Original and Marshmallow Essential. For example, where and when in the journey we should mention these two different plans. Our designers mocked up multiple versions and we got customers to feedback on their experience.
After Marshmallow Essential was launched, we had lots of useful data that showed who was buying the product and the differences between them, allowing us to identify any changes we might need to make in the future.
What did you learn from this experience?
There were a lot of things developing Marshmallow Essential taught us. And it confirmed a lot of things we thought we knew about customers and insurance.
For one, it reminded us just how complicated the insurance market is! It also reminded us that good business isn’t just about selling the biggest amount of product. It’s making sure that you’re offering a good quality product to customers.
By the end of the process we knew that when we have a clear vision and mission internally, we can move really quickly and deliver impactful results in weeks. Customers are always looking for great prices, so being able to identify opportunities and deliver high quality solutions quickly puts us in a really good position as we grow.
How is the Marshmallow approach different to the way you’ve worked previously?
Marshmallow is a really great place to work on product for a few different reasons.
Firstly, the way we work is heavily focused on documentation. So, when we review products and their builds, we can look back at the process and find areas to improve.
The insurance market is also hyper competitive and regulated which means customer value has to be at the forefront of everything. We’ve made that our ethos for building products at Marshmallow. We all stand behind it, so there’s real synergy when we focus on a new product.
Do you love building and designing customer-centric products? Want to be part of company where bold ideas get turned into real life products, fast? Check out our open roles here.