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What Job Does Your Customer Need Your Product or Service To Perform?

Disruptivetechnology.gif I attended a great event yesterday called the Innovation Summit, which was put on by Indy-based TechPoint. Clayton Christensen, the speaker, professor, and author from Harvard University spoke about Disruptive Innovation and did a remarkable job. One of the points that he made toward the later part of his presentation was about figuring out what job your customer needs your product or service to perform.

He gave the example of a milkshake and how, through market research, a restaurant received great input about taste, ingredients, etc., for their milkshakes.  After implementing changes based on their research they saw no change in sales. After more research Christensen and his team found that people were buying milkshakes in the morning to take up time during their long commutes and to give them a reasonable amount of hunger satisfaction until they ate again.

The restaurant was trying to make milkshakes better to compete with other milkshakes, but their customers weren’t looking at competing milkshakes, they needed the milkshake to perform the job of a time waster and to provide a bit of hunger relief. So the advice that Christensen and his team made was not to make a better tasting milkshake, but rather a thicker shake to ensure that it would last through the whole commute!

As marketers our goal is define our customers – we often put them in buckets based on on demographic data, user behavior and other data points without taking a step back and asking what job does my customer need done? And, does my product or service get that job done?

How can you figure out what job your customer’s need your product to perform?

  • Take an online survey
  • Use Social Media to watch and listen to how customers are using the product
  • Let your customers guest blog on your company blog about how they are using the service/product
  • Invite them to attend your next webinar and give them 10 minutes to demo their use of the product

Today is a good a day as any to ask that question and look at your marketing and see if the two are in tune.

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