Know Your Customers” “Jobs to be Done:
• Clayton M. Christensen
• Taddy Hall
• Karen Dillon
• David S. Duncan
FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2016 ISSUE
We discussed the useful concept in class. The article really brings these concepts alive
…After decades of watching great companies fail, we’ve come to the conclusion that the focus on correlation—and on knowing more and more about customers—is taking firms in the wrong direction. What they really need to home in on is the progress that the customer is trying to make in a given circumstance—what the customer hopes to accomplish. This is what we’ve come to call the job to be done…..
….When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for an alternative. (We’re using the word “product” here as shorthand for any solution that companies can sell; of course, the full set of “candidates” we consider hiring can often go well beyond just offerings from companies.)...
...Jobs analysis doesn’t require you to throw out the data and research you’ve already gathered. Personas, ethnographic research, focus groups, customer panels, competitive analysis, and so on can all be perfectly valid starting points for surfacing important insights. Here are five questions for uncovering jobs your customers need help with.
Do you have a job that needs to be done?In a data-obsessed world, it might be a surprise that some of the greatest innovators have succeeded with little more than intuition to guide their efforts. Pleasant Rowland saw the opportunity for American Girl dolls when searching for gifts that would help her connect with her nieces.
Where do you see non-consumption?You can learn as much from people who aren’t hiring any product as from those who are. Non-consumption is often where the most fertile opportunities lie, as SNHU found when it reached out to older learners.
What work-arounds have people invented?If you see consumers struggling to get something done by cobbling together work-arounds, pay attention. They’re probably deeply unhappy with the available solutions—and a promising base of new business. When Intuit noticed that small-business owners were using Quicken―designed for individuals—to do accounting for their firms, it realized small firms represented a major new market.
What tasks do people want to avoid?There are plenty of jobs in daily life that we’d just as soon get out of. We call these “negative jobs.” Harvard Business School alum Rick Krieger and some partners decided to start QuickMedx, the forerunner of CVS MinuteClinics, after Krieger spent a frustrating few hours waiting in an emergency room for his son to get a strep-throat test. MinuteClinics can see walk-in patients instantly, and their nurse practitioners can prescribe medicines for routine ailments, such as conjunctivitis, ear infections, and strep throat.
What surprising uses have customers invented for existing products?Recently, some of the biggest successes in consumer packaged goods have resulted from a job identified through unusual uses of established products. For example, NyQuil had been sold for decades as a cold remedy, but it turned out that some consumers were knocking back a couple of spoonfuls to help them sleep, even when they weren’t sick. Hence, ZzzQuil was born, offering consumers the good night’s rest they wanted without the other active ingredients they didn’t need.