A lot of companies want to be like Airbnb: a disruptive force born from a deceptively simple idea that upends the market and lays waste to competition. However, despite rising innovation spending, only a handful ever reach that status. The reason? Their (lack of) customer strategy.
Too often, companies are completely preoccupied with either their products or their internal processes. Instead, they should focus on what Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen calls ‘the job to be done’: what are your customers hoping to accomplish when they appeal to your services or products?
For example: Apple isn’t really in the business of selling laptops or smartphones, but of making connections, sharing content or apps and unlocking your creative or professional potential. And the most successful breweries aren’t just selling drinks either: they’re selling great experiences.
The drinks just function as a catalyst for social experiences in which people come together in connect. In this way, the ‘jobs to be done’ theory provides a powerful tool that companies can use to stave off competition. Identifying this ‘job to be done’ is no easy feat.
In the age of big data, many marketers and product developers tend to focus only on customer profiles and correlations, and not enough on what customers are trying to achieve in a specific circumstance.
The problem is not that there isn’t enough data – far from it – but that it doesn’t have the required quality level. This means companies need to talk to customers and non-customers alike to identify specific needs in their markets that have not been met to this day.
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