What motivates customers to buy? Conventional marketing techniques get it backward. These outdated methods focus on the product first, not the human buying it. They use data to justify the need for a product, like analyzing the demographics of a target market.But we really buy products and services to help us solve problems in our lives. This is where the Jobs-to-be-Done framework comes in.
Alan Klement joins the podcast to explain the process behind Jobs-to-be-Done and how we can use it to create a better business.
Listen to this Episode:
- What the Jobs-to-be-Done concept is (and why you should care)
- The products and services that don’t have a Job-to-be-Done
- Why a job starts with your customer and not the product
- How to discover your customer journey with the right interview
- The top 4 questions you should be asking your customers
- How to compile a data profile after every interview
- How To Use Jobs To Be Done to Read Your Customers’ Minds – Episode 33 with Claire Suellentrop
- When Coffee and Kale Compete by Alan Klement
- Know the Two–Very–Different Interpretations of Jobs to be Done by Alan Klement
- How to Create 100% Accurate and Detailed Buyer Persona – Episode 50 with Adele Revella
- What Jobs to be Done taught me about our users, our product and our company
- The Manufacturing of Consent by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky
- Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture by Stuart Ewen
- @AlanKlement on Twitter
Louis: Bonjour bonjour! Welcome to another episode of EveryoneHatesMarketers.com, the marketing broadcast for marketers, founders and tech people who are just sick of shady, aggressive marketing. I’m your host, Louis Grenier.
We have talked about Jobs to be Done before with Claire Suellentrop in her episode. And her episode was very popular. It seems like it struck a chord with you guys and it seemed like it really helped you to create and sell your products or services better. So I’ve decided to talk about this very topic again because I don’t think there’s enough of such a content right now in the marketing world.
And this is why I’m really trying my hardest to find someone who knows Jobs to be Done very well so that you can create and sell products that people will buy. Whether you’re a marketer, a designer, a developer, an indie hacker, a start-up founder, a coach, a freelancer, you name it. You will find that interesting.
So it’s in my experience that most of us have never really tried to understand our customers’ Job to be Done and it’s really because it seems quite difficult to do. And it seems quite a foreign concept. And this is what we’re going to do today. So my guest today is an innovator, an entrepreneur and I believe the go-to expert when it comes to Jobs to be Done and how to apply it in the real world. He helps teams and individuals become great at making and selling products that people will buy. He’s the author of
When Coffee and Kale Compete, which is a book we talked about numerous times on this podcast. And he’s also the creator of the Medium publication JTBD.info, jobs to be done.info. So Alan Klement, welcome aboard.
Alan: Hello. Thanks for having me on.
Louis: Right, let’s get started straight away. In the next few minutes, I’m going to ask you to pick a product or service or even a politician where we can go through a step-by-step method on how to identify a job and how to apply that to create and sell more products. But before that, can you define for me and for us and people listening, what’s a Job?
Alan: The best way I’ve found to describe a Job to be Done is, someone’s desire to change their life situation from how things are today, to how they would like things to be in the future. But however, they have trouble making that change, because there are certain constraints that are stopping them.
So the combination of things in my life are not the way that they ought to be and there are things blocking me from making that change is what creates demand. And we call this a Job to be Done.
Louis: Right. And why should people care about this particular concept?
Alan: I’ve recently wrote an article about this called Know the Two–Very–Different Interpretations of Jobs to be Done. I recommend reading that as well because that represents some of the latest thinking in there about Jobs and I think has done a really great job of describing jobs theory, because in there I talk about how Jobs is about, it’s different because it’s focusing on these be-goals that we have.
Now, I think that traditional marketers have always been tuned to this thinking about understanding that people are buying products because they want to be a certain way or they want things to be a certain way. But of the last 20 or 30 years, that thinking has been lost. And if you want to we can go into the history of why that’s happened. It’s actually a really interesting story.
But what’s relevant now is that what’s happened is starting around the 60s and 70s, this idea of “customer is king” and “you need to study customer needs” became the prevailing wisdom of marketing. And the idea that, consumers have these be-goals or are attracted to be-goals. Like, I want to be a particular type of father, or I want to be a particular kind of athlete. Some of that thinking has not been translated over to people who are in product development or entrepreneurship and innovation.
It’s all about, well study “customer needs”, which are often just functional things of how things work today. And so it’s nice for Jobs to be Done to bring that back into the discussion, the idea of focusing on be-goals as being the core motivators that drive us to buying used products, but also a way of thinking about how to connect these be-goals to actually developing a product itself. So that’s why I get excited about it and why I think it’s worth everyone’s time to investigate.
Louis: Right. And this way of thinking really bridges the gap between product development, marketing, sales, customer success and all of those disciplines, because they have the same job at the end of the day, which is to create and sell products that people give a shit about.
Alan: Yeah, exactly. I find that is really the power and the usefulness of jobs thinking is, so when I do some consulting work, I like to have a cross-functional l team involved in doing the workshops and doing the research. And that means someone from customer success, engineering, product management, marketing. All those different kinds of roles in there, because they can actually all relate to the same data and all start talking the same language.
And it’s really great to see people across departments all come the same conclusion and have the same understanding of, “Yes. This is actually why people are buying our product and how they’re hoping to make a change. And what business we really are in.”
And that right there I think is probably one of the most valuable things of Jobs thinking is creating that cohesion that helps people and organizations untangle the, we call it the big ball of mud that these organizations get themselves into, the products can get themselves into, because they, when you’re driven by a feature driven development, or even like an activity centered or task driven development. “Oh, we’re in the business of helping someone listen to music.” Or whatever, some task or activity, because you’re missing the context of that.
Well, why is someone wanting to listen to music? Because you’re missing that context, you just start thinking about improving the activity and adding features and whatnot, whatnot and turns it into the big ball of mud.
Whereas, if you recognize, “Well, actually, we understand that people”, when they are hiring we call it hiring. Right. Hiring, listening to music for some job, well look, if a job is, help me be more motivated at the gym. Or, help me relax after a long day. Or, help me create a party atmosphere at my home or at a party I’m having at my place.
When you understand these be-goals, what life situation or what environment context that consumers are trying to create, that just creates, it’s better for marketing and it’s better for product development. And I could go on and on. But that’s what I really enjoy so much about it.
Louis: Right. And to give you another example, to give you listening to this podcast, another example of what a job is and we talked about that in the episode with Claire Suellentrop, is a Snicker. Which is an example you give in your book, Alan. So you can’t really explain why somebody buys a Snicker, even if you drill down into a personal, 35-year-old marketer, living in Georgia, making between 30 and 35. However, with one sentence, you can explain why they bought it, which is just simply to satisfy their
So this is what it is. A job, I believe, is really what gives clarity to all of the departments in a company. And you mentioned the big mud or whatever you describe it. I believe this is one of the core principals, the first principal of marketing and I think people are very excited to go through it with you.
Before we go into this step-by-step, picking a service or product, you’ve answered a question, what is a job to be done. I’m interested in the other question, the opposite. What isn’t a Job to be Done?
Alan: Yep. That’s actually great. And I think that’s really important to understand because I’ve
seen people … because again, jobs to be done, and I’ve mentioned this before, it’s an idea that’s slowly been half out there in the public for a long time.
I think Clayton Christensen first wrote about it in his innovator solution, I think it was in 2002, 2003 is when he published it. And then it kind of hung out there for a while. And only recently has Clay himself revisited the topic. So it was like a 12-year gap, where it was kind of floating out there and people were kind of coming up with their own interpretations of it.
And so it’s very fragmented. So I think it’s very much important to an understanding of just, you’re right, not saying what it is, but also saying what it is not. So now, what isn’t a Job to be Done? Is, I would say, and I’ll give some examples of this again in another article. But whenever someone is I would say consuming or using a product, but it’s not for the purpose of making some change in their life. Or trying to create some better life situation.
So, a very simple example would be, I would say batteries. Right. No one really wants batteries. What you want is, you buy the toy for your kid, because maybe you want to feel like a better parent or you want a great way to keep your kid distracted so you can sit down and have your cup of coffee in the morning, but then it requires batteries. And so, it’s like, you go out and buy the batteries. And you might be tempted to think, “Okay, well that’s a product and it’s being hired for this job.” Well, not really. You don’t really want the batteries. Actually, the toy itself is actually requiring you to buy the batteries. So that’s like you, I would say, I would recommend that it’s actually not a job to be, batteries are not be hired for that job to be done.
Same thing for things like gas or maybe car insurance. That could be hired for a Job to be Done. But I’ll call those second-order purchases. It’s like, you actually want something else. Like, I’m getting a car because I want to have a particular type of independent freedom in my life and that’s why I’m hiring this car to help me create that experience. But then because I bought that car, it kind of, all these other, more problems popped up. Car insurance and parking and gas and learning how to drive and whatnot. And so, I think it’s understanding that those second-order purchases are really side effects of that one product that was being hired for a Job to be Done. I think just drawing a line between, “No, that’s not for a Job to be Done.” Because it’s not being used, itself not being used to help transform your life in some way. Or is, these products are helping you make some transformation on changing your life.
Louis: So the basic question, if I were for car insurance, what the fuck am I supposed to do?
Alan: Yeah. So I think that’s, it still can be relevant. Right. But I think it’s from a product strategy point of view, I think the car insurance makers should understand that, that one’s kind of tough. Right. Because the products … it all works as a system. Right. So it’s not really like a hierarchy, necessarily, and it’s really tough to determine a cause and effect. But you kind of recognize that when we start buying these products and bringing them into our lives, it kind of creates this spiderweb, this system of things that all like together and it makes some changes in our life.
So I think actually recognizing that, that when I buy a car, that I actually perhaps changing my life situation in some way. It’s kind of like, you think about buying the car is like throwing a rock into the water and it’s creating these ripples. And it’s affecting other things in my life. And so, maybe it could be that the car does … for some people. This is where it’s relevant.
Because for some people, there is no Job to be Done. It’s like, you have to buy car insurance because the government is requiring me to do it. And so for them, there’s no job to be done. Whereas someone else may have a job to be done because of car insurance, because like, “Well, I actually have a high net worth and I live in an area where there’s a lot of risk and people are bad drivers.
Maybe I live somewhere in Florida where there’s lots of bad drivers and whatnot.” So for them, there is some demand, there is some job to be done of, help me create some safety or a safety net or help protect me, protect my wealth, for example. Or protect me from liability.
So I think that’s actually a really good example because that shows how, for some people, car insurance is really just like a second order purchase. Well, I’m buying car insurance just because the government is requiring me to do it. And if I don’t have it, it’s a fine and that’s it. Or some people actually do have a job. Like, “Okay, well there’s all this risk in my life I’m trying to reduce and I’m very concerned about it.” So, that’s for them, is a job to be done and there is some demand.
Louis: So can you, would you describe a Job to be Done on something negative or a projection of something negative? For example, in the car insurance thing, could a Job to be Done be, “I’m hiring the car insurance so that I’m not going to be fined by the government.”
Alan: Yep. This is all interpretive. We have to be honest. And I think it’s best for you to think about what works best for you in your organization. Me personally, I would not like to say that … okay. So I’m kind of figuring out the best way to say it.
I’ll back up a little bit. So to answer your question directly, it’s always better if your Job to be Done is described as something positive. Moving towards something that you want. So, therefore, progress. Right.
But there are things in our lives that kind of create a discrepancy or make us, how can I say it. It’s like, I want … think of it as like a thermometer, or a thermostat. Right. Sometimes the progress, I want to advance, so maybe I want things to be warmer. It’s like a plus happened in my life. Or sometimes things happen and there’s a negative. So you’re right. There is, something has happened in my life and now there’s some discrepancy and I’m just trying to get back to where I was.
So, you can think of Jobs to be Done that way, but it’s still, it’s not about … I’m trying to find the exact same words, but they’re both positive, but it’s because that, for example in the car insurance example … like suppose you do, you buy the car and it introduces this anxiety in your life. Before you had the car, there was no anxiety. You were happy and that was good. And so, you bought the car and it creates this anxiety, this kind of discrepancy now … before the car I was fine. I had no worries about it. But now I do.
And so, I want to make this positive change, but positive change to where I used to be.
Louis: Exactly. Right. So it’s still a progress, even if it’s negative.
Alan: Right. Yeah. But I want to say it’s not you’re just trying to avoid something, you’re always trying to get towards something. But it’s like–
Louis: Like financial independence. Right.
Alan: Yeah. So it’s this, you’re still trying to work towards something. Because you can’t just say avoid things. Another analogy that I like to use is, think of yourself as being lost in the ocean or raft, like in the Pacific Ocean. Now, everyone knows, okay, we don’t want to be in this raft and we’re lost at sea. We don’t like that. But unless we actually make a choice on a direction to go or some way to get ourselves out of it, we’ll just continue floating in the sea.
So it’s like, you might be negative, “Well, I don’t like how things are,” but unless someone says, “Ah. I think there’s a shipping lane this way. We should paddle in that direction.” Or, “We should stay right here because the wreckage of the plane is here and people are going to come looking for us.” Or, “We should go that way, I think there’s an island over there.” So, that’s the whole thing about Jobs to be Done. There has to be some direction, positive, influence that you want to make, but even if it starts from a negative place.
Louis: Right. And to go back to the tough question I asked you, and thanks for answering it, I guess for the car insurance part of it, it’s not really about so that I can avoid being fined, it’s more about because I’m saving for a house right now and anything that might prevent me from doing that is not good. So I want to make sure that I’m doing everything that I can to save for a house in order for me to be in the family and to be happy with my wife and kids and all of that.
Alan: Right. Yeah, exactly. I agree. And I think that’s also relevant to understand this idea of progress and the Job to be Done as, try not to start with the product itself. Actually, I think that life insurance or
the car insurance actually was a really great example. Because that just shows that the Job to be Done is independent of the product and is completely dependent on the customer. Right. Because for some people, the product is being served for a Job to be Done for some people. But the same product is maybe not serving a Job to be Done for others.
Louis: Exactly. Right. So we’ve been talking about a lot of theory in the first 15 minutes. Let’s go into a practical example. And perhaps to help you, because you’re a consultant because you’ve been working with a lot of companies and also individuals towards this journey.
Perhaps you can pick a product or service you’ve worked on in the past. You don’t have to name the service. But perhaps it might be easier than to go through the steps that actually you went through. So it’s up to you.
What is a product or service that you want to go through this step by step?
Alan: Sure. So I will actually, I’ll use a product that a client … because you’re right. It’s always a little tricky because you’ve got NDAs like crazy. Especially when you get up to some of the really fun clients who maybe have the budget to do really crazy stuff. Those are the times where they really keep you tight-lipped, which is unfortunate.
While I can talk about, for example, Pipedrive, who has actually, the founder gave a presentation where he talked about how his work with me and my partners actually transformed how they market and how they do product development.
So to make sure it goes in the right direction, how would you like to know the process of how they did what?
Louis: So first off, let’s just define briefly what Pipedrive is.
Alan: It’s a CRM solution, so I think it’s a customer relationship–
Louis: Management? Yep.
Alan: Management. Yeah. I always forget what CRM stands for. But that’s what it is. And basically, it’s a software product that people who do sales would buy and use.
Louis: Okay. Right. So, what was the situation that this company was in before they started to
talk to you?
Alan: Great. It’s really funny. They came to me and they talked about how they felt like they were struggling to, and the founders describe it as, “All sniff the same glue.” That was the joke they were using. So basically, it was that … and if you go back and watch this video, maybe we can link to it in the description of this podcast, where Hank talks about it.
They, in the beginning, you’ve got a small team, the founders, some extra help. 5, 6, 12, 10 people, whatever it is. It’s much easier to have cohesion around product vision and what we’re doing and so on and so forth. Because maybe all of you are in the same room and you’re all talking the same language and can have a shared mind easily.
But when you get up to bigger, scaling issues, 200 or 300 people and as Hank talks about, they have 12 product teams, 12 teams. Then you have all this scaling problem happen. Different product teams are reinventing each other’s features when they don’t need to. They’re stepping on each other’s toes. They have trouble communicating the founder’s vision, all the way down to maybe the engineer or to the interaction. Designers on team number eight. So they need to figure out, how can we organize but also maintain the vision and keep ourselves directed and all moving forward together.
So that was it. And so they felt like that job seeking would help them, like I said, all sniff the same glue.
Louis: Okay. So the actual problem, the actual thing they wanted to achieve was to sniff the same glue. And they thought about this way of thinking, the Jobs to be Done methodology as a way to solve it, to actually achieve this.
And how did you go about trying to find this job or those multiple jobs that customer were hiring Pipedrive to … and perhaps, you might want to go into details about the one or two methods that are simple enough for people to replicate and we can drill into them.
Alan: Absolutely. I’ve worked it out to where it’s a process that we replicate now that I’ve done for my own products in the past historically. And I also do with clients who want to hire me or hire my firm, I actually should say. And so what we do is we do these research sprints, where over five days, we interview 20-25 people. All right. So these are hour-long interviews with 20-25 people. And we talk to them … so it’s usually about a half and half. Like half people who just started using their product within the last month or two and then the other half are people who’ve recently stopped using our product.
Louis: Okay, first question. Because I know a lot of people are suffering from this. They know they need to talk to people. They know which type of people they want to talk to. But then when you tell them, just go about it, just do it, they don’t really know where to start. So, without going into a lot of details, how do you advise companies, and even individuals, to go about this very step.
Alan: Yep. So, at the highest level, what you want to talk to these people about is, find out why they were making some change in their lives. Which resulted in the purchase of a product, or maybe the discontinuing use of your product. And so, we talked to them about first learning about your product and what were the circumstances that made you think, “Ah. Today we need to go and get a CRM.”
Or, “Today we’ve been dealing with, maybe our previous CRM solution was terrible and the camel’s back is broken. We have to make a change.” And that’s actually for both, for people who’ve just started using your product and people who have left your product.
And so, the purpose of the interview is to go on that journey, explore that journey of, “Okay. What was that first thought, when did you first start thinking about making a change.” And then follow through of how they, we call it shaping up the job. It’s kind of like, how they were going out into the market and gathering information. We call it information foraging.
So if they’re going out in the market and they’re gathering what’s possible out there and what are other people doing and what are other people using and then what are the solutions that are out there. And then you try to understand how the consumer is trying to design their job in their mind. Or design the progress that they want to make. And then that ultimately culminates in what we call a switch, which is, they change their behavior. They change, ‘Okay, you used to use product A. And now you’re using B.”
So that’s at a high level what you’re trying to do, is discover that journey of, what made you realize about a change, study how did you actually think about and design that change. And then, finally, what did you finally switch to and did it meet your expectations.
Louis: It’s funny because your own process, what you’re describing right here, is the same than a lot of other processes we talk to in this particular step. Especially to Adele Revella, who is the CEO of the Buyer Persona Institute. And I asked her this very question, about, are you okay with buyer persona, but it’s very, it sounds like Jobs to be Done. And basically, it’s the same stuff. So I don’t want to overcomplicate things going through that when I said that. But, the question that you mentioned at the start and the word journey, is very important to me. And I believe that the only question that you must ask at the very start. And you can contradict me if you think I’m wrong is, talk me through the very first time you ever thought about potentially using Pipedrive.
Alan: Yep. So that’s good. What you’ve asked though is, that is actually usually someone who’s already been on the journey. So I would say, go a little further back and be like, “Okay. What, before you were using Pipedrive, for example, what were you using?” Start there. So maybe they say Salesforce. “Okay, so before Pipedrive using Salesforce, tell me about the time or the moment when you realized Salesforce was no longer working for you.” Because maybe they don’t know about Pipedrive yet. You see?
And so, it’s like, I would even say, go a little further back, because again, if you go back to the original definition of a job to be done, it’s like life before and then life after. So, you want to, you need that contrast to understand the job to be done.
So you want to say, “Okay. What was your life before?” “Oh, okay, so you were using Salesforce and this is what it was like. And then you reached some breaking point. Tell me about that. And then you went on a journey.” And then, that’s when you would ask, “Okay. How did you learn about or first hear about Pipedrive?”
“Oh well, I went on Twitter and after using Salesforce we were going crazy. I went on Twitter and said, “Hey. What CRM are you using?” And someone said, “Pipedrive.”
So, that’s a great question to ask. And we always ask that question. However, I would even think about the buyer’s journey. I would go even a little further back and start thinking about, start with the old solution and … think about those ads, you ever see with infomercials. But, this thing, “Oh. This is, your garden hose is all tangled up.”
And the person is all angry because their garden hose is all tangled up. You want to capture all that. Well, tell me about the garden hose getting all kinked up and you’re going crazy. And then, follow through the journey to when they bought the new fancy garden hose that never gets tangled up. So that’s how I would make a tweak to that question.
Louis: So if you had to summarize or select a top three or four questions that one should always ask, or at least go through in the step of the journey, what would they be?
Alan: Well, the interviews. So I’ll maybe go over, I’ll say four questions. But actually, I think there are four anchoring questions. So these are kind of like how we would do the interviews. And I recommend, think of the question as a starting point for then you to dig deeper. But, so this is how I would do it. So start off with, “What are you using today?”
Alan: “Well, I’m using this product today.” And just, start there. Because that’s what people are expecting you to talk about and ask them about and most recent in their memory. And then you say, “Okay. You are using Pipedrive? Great. What version?”. “Oh, I’m using the Platinum edition.”. “Oh, okay. Great. Are you happy with it. Da, da, da.” This is warming things up. So that’s question one. What are you using today.
Question two is, “Okay. Well, before Pipedrive, what were you using? Oh okay, Salesforce. Okay, tell me about that.” So on and so forth. So that’s question two.
Question three is, as I mentioned before, when did you first start thinking that Salesforce was not working for you?”. “Oh, we hired a new CEO and she came in and she was Salesforce and was like, Oh, this is way overcomplicated and too pricey. This is ridiculous. Go find something else.”
And so then, the fourth question would be, “Okay. Tell me about how you went out and started looking at solutions and finding up on Pipedrive.” So I would say that those four questions. So it’s like, start recently and then go way, way back in the past and start marching forward.
Louis: Okay. Very cool. So interview 25 to 30 people, if I recall you said.
Alan: Yeah. I would say 20 to 25.
Louis: 20 to 25.
Alan: It depends on the type of product that you’re doing. So the easiest products to interview around are consumer packaged goods. And that’s because, there’s only so many jobs that I could hire, say, sneakers for. Tennis shoes. Because it’s a physical product, it’s bounded by the things it can do.
Whereas you get more complicated software that’ getting more complicated, because now, you can pour in tons of features and now you’ve got a product that might do, who knows, three, four, five, six or seven jobs, depending on the software product. And even more complicated, probably the most complicated products out there are like, a B to B to C product.
Like, for example, we did some research, and I can talk about this again too because they’ve talked about working with us is, a large yearbook manufacturer, it’s, I can’t remember the name right now. We’ll add it in the description.
Alan: So they were making yearbooks and yearbook software and a yearbook platform for high schools who then would go on and sell those yearbooks to their students. So you understand that there’s actually, maybe three “buyers” or users there.
There’s the principal of a school who has their own process, their own jobs that they’re trying to make that, maybe they’re interested in the yearbook and then you’ve got the people who are actually in charge … I’m head of the yearbook committee, so I’ve got my own jobs here of what I’m trying to get done. And then there’s the students who end up would be buying the yearbook, who will then have their own jobs.
And so, that becomes a much more complicated product, because you’ve got three different types of progress and you’ve got to make sure that your solution aligns up with those three types of product or progress or touches on those types of progress enough to make everyone satisfied.
Louis: Right. So going back to Pipedrive and the interviews, outside of the interviews, did you do anything else to try to find out about the job or jobs that people are hiring Pipedrive for?
Alan: It starts with, it’s just the interviews. So it’s the interviews, but we’re looking for particular types of data. Right. So, we’re looking for … and we’ll put it here in the, and perhaps in the descriptions too. So we have, actually I haven’t announced this yet. We’ve been using this tool for a year and a half and we’ve been wanting to release a blog post or maybe a dedicated website and do it. But we created what we call, it’s a demand profile. So this describes the demand that was created that caused this person
to purchase this product.
And so, the demand profile talks about … you’re right. It’s kind of like the desired future state. So these are qualities of the desired future state that I want things to be like. So for our CRM solution, it’s maybe, I always have leads coming in, or I never have, leads are never being dropped. Or my sales team is always working at their top capacity. I always know if the salesperson is falling behind and needs me to help them out. Those kinds of things of how they would want things to be.
Alan: So we describe those. And then, below that, we talk about catalysts. So these are the events or things that happened to accelerate demand formulation. Because the way that we think about demand is like a chemical reaction. Things have to come together in order for demand to be synthesized. And so, we want to highlight these things that are helpful. And this is particularly helpful for marketing. The catalysts are particularly helpful for marketing. And it also gives really important context for product
So for example, when people are thinking about getting a CRM solution, a catalyst might be, “We’re about to launch a new product.” Or, “We’re about to expand our sale team.” Or, “There’s been a shake-up in our upper management and they want new tools or new ways of thinking about how to do sales.” These are the things that are causing, the demand formulation causing a change to happen.
Alan: Yep. So there’s that. And I don’t have it right in front of me. I should have it right in front of me, but those are like, the demand profile parts that we find very helpful and we use those and those types of data to help formulate the job to be done.
Louis: Alright. So I’m going to challenge you to go deeper on this. And I’m sure you’ll remember. So demand is the push, right. It’s what you should be, what you are kind of looking to do better. Am I right?
Alan: I’d say that’s part of it. So it’s, how I like to think about demand is like a chemical reaction. So it’s like these things that have to come together for me to go out into the market and hope to make some change.
So for example, it can’t be just enough of how you would like things to be. For example, I don’t want my fingernails to grow. I’m tired of cutting my nails. Or, I don’t want to grow old. I don’t want these things. But I’m not out there searching for a product to make my fingernails stop growing. Or, I’m not out there looking for a product that’s going to stop me from aging. Real aging, not like wrinkles and stuff.
Right. But the reason why I’m not doing that is because I don’t believe that that’s possible. So, there might be some things that people don’t like about the way things are, but unless they believe that there’s some solution that is out there, then demand won’t happen.
Alan: So yes, but I’m not saying no to what you’re saying. That’s part of it though. So, there’s
one part of, there has to be some idea of a better future for myself with those, some kind of be-goals of how I would like things to be.
And then the second part is, I have to believe that there’s some product out there that can help make that actually happen. And then there has to be some constraints that I’m facing right now that’s preventing
me from attaining that be-state. So those three things have to exist that come together. And then that’s what creates demand.
Louis: Right. I’d like to clarify this concept of demand, as you’re explaining with the other concepts interrupt to be known, which is a push and pull and inertia in society, right.
Louis: So maybe for listeners who might be confused right now, because we’ve done the interviews and we’ve compiled data. By the way, where, briefly, where do you usually compile data after these interviews? So you would record them, you get them transcribed, I supposed, and then what would you do with them?
Alan: Yep. So, after each interview, we create a demand profile. So I’m actually, I brought up on my screen right now. So you’re right, so I’ve got desired future, right, which is like, what experiences I want to have, what things I want to avoid or how I want things to be. And then we also like to assign a type of desire that is. Like, is it about control, is it about care, is it about belonging or self-expression. So that’s the desired state I want things to be. And then we, after the interview, we write down another data type, which is the constraints. These are, so what’s blocking me from moving towards what I desire.
Alan: And then we have those constraint types, which are talking about the forces before, like are these habits, are these anxieties, are these missing skills, are these things that are blocking me from making that change or having that desired future.
And then, you’re right, then the catalyst, which I mentioned before, which could be, pushes as well too. So pushes, if you’re thinking back to that model of the push, pull anxiety of habit. A push can be about a desired future, but also can be, so that’s an internal push.
I have this internal desire of how I want things to be, or it could be an external push. I bought a car. And now I’m required to get car insurance. Or we just found out that we’re pregnant, and so now we have to start figuring out what to do about getting baby stuff. So, this is external pushes that happen that accelerate demand generation.
Louis: Right. And briefly, for Pipedrive. So you’ve done those interviews and you build this demand profile, in a nutshell, what did you find out?
Alan: So, let me think here. I’m trying to think. I guess I can keep it at a high enough level because
they’ve talked about it. But there are, we found three or four jobs that people were trying to get done.
One job was around, I’m trying to remember. This was about a year and a half ago. One was definitely around organizing. So, it was like, life before was we’re not, our sales process is not organized at all. And there’s all these undesirable things about it. And then we have this idea of how things could be once we are organized. So we call an organized job or a controlled job, whichever one works better for you.
And then after that, we found another job around improvement. Because after people had made progress around getting organized. Like, great, now we’re organized, now let’s improve our sales process. So then they would want to go out and aim to improve their sales process. So again, different things would become important for them at that stage, different types of progress would be wanted. Different constraints started arising.
And then after that, there’s a scaled job. Which is great. We’ve finally got ourselves organized and we’re in control of our sales process. We’ve made that progress and now we want to improve our sales process. Okay, we’re all firing, all the salespeople are working great, they’re doing what they should be doing. Now we want to add more salespeople and scale from maybe from 10 salespeople to 100 or 200 salespeople.
So those are the three jobs. And there maybe were one or two more which were smaller. But we didn’t really care much about. But those were the three jobs that we had found out, at a high level, that people were hiring these CRM tools for.
Louis: So what I’m not hearing from you is that you’re not describing their customer profiles whatsoever. The only way you’re describing that is by describing the jobs. And an important concept you’re describing right now is the fact that, when you hire a product to do a job first, as soon as you’re hiring these products for this job, then the idea of progress is seeing the cycle start and there might be a second job that you can then hire the product to do. And the third job and the fourth job. Right.
Louis: So the idea of progress is continuous. It doesn’t stop as soon as you hire the product.
Alan: Yes. Yep. That’s exactly right. And I think that’s another really underappreciated aspect of jobs. It’s really unfortunate, you know, it’s like, we’re struggling to get people to like that first part of jobs. It’s like, “Okay. Don’t think about the product, don’t think about past activities. Think about the be-goals that people have.” Like, they’re trying to create some better future for themselves. They want things in their lives to be a certain way. We’re still trying to get people over that first hurdle.
But then once they do, then they get to really the more fun, advanced ideas of progress, which is what you just talked about. I’m sorry, the advanced ideas of jobs, which is again, understanding that once you do make progress in your life, then these new goals start coming up and new constraints arise.
Like for example, and this is a good article to read on JTBD.info. Rene, who wrote this article, describes this really well. Because he was working in a surfboard manufacturer. And so the three jobs that he came up with, some were to Pipedrive, which was again, this controlled job and then this improve job and then this scaling job that these surfboard manufacturers were facing. And it was really great. He could actually anticipate and predict when people would change from one job to the next. Because they started looking for certain metrics. Like how many surfboards that they were manufacturing and shipping.
So, when a surfboard manufacturer is, “Okay. We’re making five surfboards a month,” then they’re like, “Okay. Then they’re just in the control and be organized job.” But then once they start getting up to like 10 employees and now they’re making 100 surfboards a month. And we can see this within the app, we can predict that they’re going to start losing control because they are now having scaling issues and they want to help improve their process, because now they’re losing track of surfboards and they’re not, they’re having trouble managing invoices.
So there’s that improve job comes in. And then again, once it hit 500 or 1,000 surfboards a month, they start running into a scaling issue of like, “Where do we keep the inventory? Do we need a warehouse? And now we have inventory management problems.” So they could actually anticipate, depending on where the progress where people were, what jobs would come up.
Or, if people were not making process, then maybe it’s an opportunity for us to reach out to them. For example, surfer manufacturer, they just started using our product. And a year ago, they were making five surfboards a month. And a year now, they’re making eight surfboards a month. Well, maybe they’re not making progress. Oh, let’s go reach out to that person. Maybe, they’re just like, “Oh, this is my hobby and I only want to make seven or eight surfboards a month”, then you’re fine.
But if someone is like, “Oh yeah, I just can’t figure out how to make more than eight surfboards a month. I just can’t figure it out. I have all these problems.” And so then that’s the opportunity for you to reach out to them and find out what’s blocking them from either using your product correctly or maybe they need some education problems, or maybe they need some of their help from you to help them continue using your product and pay for the more fun features.
Louis: Right. So, let’s go through again this data profile very briefly, the key elements that you
Alan: Yes. So, there’s three things. That’s the desired future. That’s one. Number two are the constraints. And number three are the catalysts. So, that’s the three categories of data that we look for. And I’ll go back through.
So, for the desired future, that is what experiences I want to have, maybe things I want to avoid. How I want things to be. And then, the next one are the constraints. So that’s like, what’s blocking me from having those experiences I want to have. What’s blocking me from preventing something I don’t want to happen from happening. What’s preventing me from having things be how I like them to be.
And then, the third bucket is catalysts. Which are the events or things that happen that accelerate the demand generation process.
Louis: And where do you categorize those, you mentioned control, scale, improve. What are
those four topics, categories again?
Alan: Yeah. So, those were jobs that we synthesized. So for example, we use all the demand profiles. And then we look at patterns here and we aggregate those. And we think about, okay, what’s some of the common, these six people all seem to have these desired futures that relate to having more control, for example.
Louis: Right. You mentioned this phrase a few minutes ago where you said, usually, jobs are in
those four categories
Alan: Yeah. So there are, there’s two things I mentioned. There are desire types that we use. So–
Louis: That’s easier.
Alan: Yeah. We call it control, care, or self-care, belonging, self-expression, self-intricacy, recognition. These are, kind of describes the type of desired future, like individual aspects of desired futures that I’m trying to create for myself.
Alan: So, that’s probably of the demand profile. That just helps us, when we’re doing the debrief and maybe we’re having trouble, the team is having trouble understanding or thinking about, well, “How can we categorize or how can we pick out desired future states?”
And we’ll say “Okay, give me everything about control.” Like, “Oh, yeah, yeah, people are always losing track of leads.” Or, “Deals were getting dropped halfway through the process.”. “Ah, okay, so these are aspects regarding to control.” Or, “Did we hear anything around recognition and people trying to gain some recognition.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah, these salespeople were always, or the sales managers were always concerned about their team hitting their numbers because their bosses were always trying to, making sure … they’re being evaluated on whether their sales teams are hitting the right numbers, so if the salespeople are not hitting that, then they look bad.”. “Okay great, so that’s a desired future for those people.” So that’s kind of the elements that we like to think about and use to extrapolate or categorize desired futures.
Louis: Right. So we have those jobs. And in the example of Pipedrive that you gave, there’s this particular job of control and the leads flow. So, people listening might be wondering, “Okay, that’s all well and good. Thanks for going through those particulars step by step with us, but I, why should I care? How do I apply this knowledge now in my day to day company, in my job? How do I use those jobs to be done with practical examples?” So with Pipeline, how did they do it?
Alan: Yeah. So again, I would recommend watching the video again. So, I … going back to what Jobs to be Done is not, I would say, think about, so what Jobs to be Done is and what it is not. I think it’s also important to recognize how to use it and how not to use it. So I don’t believe that’s the way to use jobs is very heavily in, you use it in a day to day way, but it’s not my primary or not your team’s day to day tool.
It’s kind of tough to explain, because what I mean is, we find it best that organizations use this as a product strategy tool or helping them communicate product strategy. And when you are doing your day
to day work as a product manager or as a marketer, when you are, you yourself figuring out what changes to make to the product or maybe you’re brainstorming on some new ideas or concepts or maybe you’re thinking about new marketing campaigns, you think about, “Ah, okay. Is this tying back to this job?”
I think that there are better tools out there for helping you design solutions like, there’s design thinking and those kinds of workshops that you can do that are good. So while you are doing those types of exercises or tools, that’s great for very gradually designing a solution, but always make sure it ties back to that, “Ah, okay. Is this helping really people get control of their sales process? Which aspect of control is our solution? Our brainstorm solution really helping either make go away or help create.”
So that’s how I recommend it. And you hear about the Pipedrive guys, what they actually end up doing was, which was actually brilliant, they created a, they call it a comic book, but it’s the product strategy for their company. And they put it in this comic book format and that’s what they hand to all the people.
So all the product teams all have the same product strategy manual, but it’s maybe like 20 pages of models, pictures, but also text and information that everyone uses. Like, “Okay great. Here is what we’re trying to create. So when I’m here building whatever tool, building this product, I have to make sure that it’s fitting into the strategy.”
So think of it as guard rails. You don’t use guard rails every day out on the highway, but you just make sure that they’re there and it helps you keep on track.
Louis: Yeah. To me it sounds like doing this exercise really helps you to have the right foundations in place. And then if you have the right foundations in place, then yes, as you say, in the day to day, you might not think about it every day or every hour, but it’s there and it really helps everyone to be on track and also it helps customers to understand why they should use you instead of somebody else.
And I think one of the good examples of the use of just, we don’t, we explained that a few times, described that a few times in this podcast, is Intercom. Because they are able to tie in then the foundational stuff, so the jobs that people are hiring Intercom to do with the actual products that they are releasing. So they’re tying those two very closely together. And I can’t really find any other companies that seem to be doing it so closely. Associating one job with one product.
Alan: Yeah, well, so the Intercom guys, they have … actually, that’s an interesting thing. If you notice, Intercom has changed their marketing and their branding, recently. I would recommend it. This is actually a really important point to make, and very helpful. We think … okay. The Intercom guys are super smart. We think they went a little overboard with job seeking, in the sense of, they were communicating their internal descriptions of jobs and using that, like a one to one of market branding their company.
So if you go back to their website now, if can go back to the Wayback machine, compare how the website looks now to how it looked a year ago, or six months, a year ago. And before it was like, I think it was something like Engage, their products, quote products was called Engage, it was called Educate and then a few other.
Those were actually what we call the jobs from the research that we had done with them. That was actually the name of the jobs that internally they had called it. But reflecting that on the one to one to the customer was creating some confusion. So now they switched it to communicating what they call use cases. But those use cases still tie it back to the existing job monikers.
I think Intercom is great. I think that’s a great use case of maybe taking job seeing a little too far, just everywhere. And then scaling it back a little bit to actually making it work. Again, recognizing where something is helpful and where it’s best used and maybe where it’s not so well used.
It should inform your marketing, but it shouldn’t be a one to one of your marketing.
Louis: Yeah. I’m super glad that I actually talked about this because this is critical, I think. I’ve done this exercise a few times in a few companies. And I found that sometimes it’s easy to go down into this rabbit hole of thinking of jobs, jobs, jobs and forgetting about how people actually are looking for certain stuff. So, I’m on Intercom’s home page right now. And the way that they changed the feature is by calling it, for example, Inbox now.
Louis: And messages. And articles. Before, it was, as you said, Engage and Respond and Learn.
Whatever. But actually, that might create confusion, because people are used to terms like Inbox.
Louis: They are used to terms like Messages. They are used to terms like Articles. And they understand that they’re going to use those features in order to do something. But you might want to take it easy when it comes to describing certain things that people are used to describe this way.
Alan: Yes. Yep. Because, and this is actually very much in psychology, I think that we all can appeal to this. We all have, we, again jobs to be done, think about the be-goals. We all internalize our be-goals, but we don’t sit around and think about categorizing, “Oh, I have this idea in my mind of being a particular type of athlete. And here are all the kind of attributes of myself in the future that I want to have.”
We’re not robots. That’s now how we think. We just have this vision, we use visuals. We want to be, I don’t know, some famous football player or something. Or, I want to look a certain way. And maybe it’s some famous actor or something. Like, I have a vision, a general feeling in my mind.
And that’s what I use to guide me. But we might not actually say, “Oh, yes”, I mean, maybe like a bodybuilder, but you don’t think like, “Oh yes, I want 7% body fat. And I need to have a ratio of three to one of my …”. We don’t really do that so well.
So yes, understanding how people are connecting how they recognize solutions, probably historically and currently, how they connect that dot to the be goals in their brain, that is a crucial thing to understand.
Louis: Right. Thank you so much for going through this practical step by step with me. Before
you go, I have three quick questions to ask you.
Louis: The first one being, what do you think marketers should learn today that will help them
in the next 10 years, 20 years, 50 years?
Alan: I would say that recognize that all human motivation is ultimately powered by positive energy. so do your best to always communicate positive direction to customers. And that advice will carry you through 10, 15, 20 years. Even as techniques change on marketing, recognize that people are always
attracted towards positive things.
Louis: Right. Very good. What are the top three resources you would recommend to listeners, besides your book, Coffee and Kale, When Coffee and Kale Compete, which is free PDF, if you want to get it for free, just Google it. You can buy it on Amazon as well. JTBD.info. Jobs to be done.info. Your Medium publication, which is amazing. So outside of those two things, what are the best three you would recommend.
Alan: Alright. I would look at the work of Edward Bernays. So he has an essay out there called The Manufacturing of Consent. And he was the guy who invented, they call it marketing now, but in the 1920s and 30s, they call it PR, Public Relations. And study his work and how he invested marketing, basically. And his opinions on PR. That’s helpful.
Another great book that’s out there is Captains of Consciousness, which again studies Bernays’ work, but talks about the history of marketing, kind of what I alluded to earlier in the podcast, where before it was about persuading people to be a certain way. And then the 60s and 70s had changed to customer needs, but understanding the history of marketing in a very consumable way will be very powerful and they have given you a lot of tools to use.
Louis: Right. I completely agree with you on this one. Right. And final question. Where can listeners connect with you or learn more from you?
Alan: I’d say by Twitter. So @AlanKlement. Check out my website, AlanKlement.com. And keeping an eye on JTBD.info. I think that’s good. I’ve got more stuff coming in the future. I’ll be making some products, I’m really excited about. But for the time being, that’s the best way.
Louis: Alright. Once again, Alan, thank you so much for your time.
Alan: Alright. Thanks for having me.
I’m a no-fluff marketer living in Dublin, Ireland (but yeah, I’m French).
I believe you can treat people the way you’d like to be treated and still generate results without using sleazy, aggressive, hack-y marketing. This is why I’ve started Everyone Hates Marketers – a no-fluff, actionable marketing podcast – as a side project in April 2017.
I’m also the Content Lead at Hotjar – a powerful way to analyse people’s behaviour on your website or app and understand how you can improve their experience.