Recently finished the terrific book How Will You Measure Your Life? which brought a new perspective to why people buy things:
“Through my research on innovation for the past two decades, my colleagues and I have developed a theory about this approach to marketing and product development, which we call “the job to be done.” The insight behind this way of thinking is that what causes us to buy a product or service is that we actually hire products to do jobs for us.”
“If someone develops a product that is interesting, but which doesn’t intuitively map in customers’ minds on a job that they are trying to do, that product will struggle to succeed—unless the product is adapted and repositioned on an important job.”
It’s fairly obvious what most products do and are capable of, but what a product does isn’t the same as the job it is hired to do.
Ikea sells cheap furniture. The job most people hire Ikea to do is furnish an office/home/apt on the same day or very short notice.
In the book they also give the example of a fast food chain that sold milkshakes. In the morning commuters would “hire” a milkshake to entertain them on the drive to work while also keeping them full until lunch. A banana failed because the experience was over too quickly and bagels were lacking in rich flavor. So the commuter found the milkshake perfect for the job. This gets difficult when different consumers hire the same product for different jobs.
Every product is hired for a job. To discover the job might take a lot of research and talking with customers, but it’s there. And once you know the job your product or service is being hired for, it’s much easier to sell to people .
What job did I hire this blog for? I’m not sure when I started it, but now I would say: to develop my writing, clarify my thinking, and connect with people.