Every person wants progress, and when we design or market products and services we should focus on the progress we are enabling customers to make.
This is the foundation of Jobs To Be Done (JTBD).
With this approach, two things happen.
First, value is no longer seen as a transaction. It does not run out the moment a purchase is done or a service is delivered. Progress extends over time. The best way for a company to serve their customers is to understand the system of progress they are in – a good example being Weber, that does not stop at producing high-quality grills, and completes the offer with tools and resources to make the customer the grill master they want to be.
Second, competition is no longer restricted to products or services that have a similar functionality or physical appearance. Anything that helps the customer achieve the progress they have envisioned (or might envision) for themselves is competition.
A Job To Be Done is the process a consumer goes through whenever she aims to transform her existing life-situation into a preferred one, but cannot because there are constraints that stop her
No matter how skilled you are, no matter how wonderful your product is, no matter how supposedly unique your culture is. There is someone else out there offering the exact same thing, covering the exact same spot, addressing the exact same problem.
And you have two things to do to mitigate this problem.
First, understand who someone else is – and by the way, this is a decision of those you are serving.
Second, be as specific as possible in figuring out and expressing what you are.
The alternative is most of B2B marketing nowadays: companies with fantastic products and services playing in broad and fuzzy markets to increase their customers’ productivity. All the same type of better, faster, cheaper.
The reason why your value prop is full of “and”, your product is full of features, and your strategy is full of verticals and use cases (and exceptions to both), is that we are biased towards additive solutions.
We think that adding is better than subtracting when we look for solutions.
People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.
If you work in marketing, you have certainly heard this quote by professor Levitt. But that is not true, because nobody wants a quarter-inch hole in their wall. They might want to install some shelves to keep things organized, or perhaps they want to fix the furniture to the wall to prevent it from falling, or they might want a tool that makes them feel more comfortable and ready when there is some work to do around the house.
The point is that you should never stop at your product, nor you should stop at the first thing people do with your product.
Go further, understand their motivations, accompany them on the journey they are taking, and you will be with them all their lives.