Elon Musk could’ve taken his SpaceX rocket out for a joyride like other spoiled billionaires. Instead, his Inspiration 4 mission took the first step towards making space tourism a reality. SpaceX strapped four civilian crew members into a 200’ missile and launched them into orbit around the Earth.
But that wasn’t the big story.
Beyond the technical wizardry, SpaceX distinguished their company from Blue Origin and Virgin by shining a light on humanity, not themselves. But it wasn’t just a feel good launch. SpaceX raised $237 million for cancer research.
Aptly named Inspiration 4, the launch was touted as ‘A journey into space, a cause for humanity’.
SpaceX partnered with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital – and put on a marketing clinic. They baked compassion into every facet of the mission. One crew member was a cancer survivor from St. Jude’s. Another seat on the spacecraft was raffled off, with proceeds going to St. Jude’s. To engage the public, there was an online auction, a podcast and Netflix special. And While Elon was off smoking weed, his crew members talked with kids in St. Jude’s cancer ward, live from space.
Here’s my take. SpaceX showed why traditional marketing is dead. It’s all about hsving a big idea that moves people. They boldly went where most companies don’t. Their mission was authentic and hit every touch point without hype, scripted ads, door-buster deals or tent sales.
SpaceX aimed for a higher purpose: to make people care. It’s as if they said ‘we can send people into space. How can we also do some good?’
It starts with one ambitious goal. One committed partnership. One beautifully crafted plan. And one giant leap for mankind