How to use Jobs to be done.
On today’s episode I’m joined by my guest Claire Suellentrop, a messaging and conversion expert at Loveyourcustomers.co.
Claire is also a published author and the former Director of Marketing for Calendly. In this episode she will introduce us to the “Jobs to be done” methodology that is replacing the old method of creating customer personas.
Listen in for a step-by-step practical guide on this method, why you should be using it, and how you can implement it in your business.
Everyone explains that making your business different is vital — but NO ONE (not even experts) explains how to actually do it... Until now.
Just click on that big fat red button, answer a couple of questions, and learn to stand the f*ck out in a no-bull, super-practical way:
"You're literally the only marketer I can stomach."
"When are you going to do something in French so I understand it?"
"A terrific celebration of marketers and marketing in all its forms."
Louis: Claire, thanks so much for your time and for being on this show. Before we start talking about who you are, what you do, and where you’re coming from, I think marketers struggle from a big, big issue. They struggle to understand customers, they struggle to understand people, they struggle to understand what those people really want, what they really need, the key issues they have, that’s a big problem for them. It seems like, that’s lead by HubSpot, doing persona analysis and understanding people by doing persona is the way to go. I’ve been reading about it for a long time. It seems like a lot of marketers now understand that yeah, they need to do persona. But we’re going to talk about the fact that it’s not necessarily the right way. There’s a better way to do this.
Claire: Exactly. As you’ve introduced here, I don’t think it’s so much that marketers don’t care about understanding who their customers are. Because we know, first of all, if you’re trying to sell something, you need to really understand what your target audience’s desires are. I don’t think it comes from a place of not caring but a place of a, not knowing how to do anything better and b, being under so much pressure to move so quickly from leadership teams, the businesses growth goals, everything like that. We can dive further into that as we go.
Louis: That’s true. There are pressures to reach the next quarter targets, there are pressures to managers from management to reach those targets. What type of other pressures do marketers suffer with at the minute?
Claire: I think those really are the two main ones. What’s funny is, I myself, I am no longer working in house for the company, I now, as you know, am on the consulting side, but even myself with my own marketing. I’ll be working on my own project whether it’s making my email campaigns more personal, whatever it may be. I will find myself like, ugh, I just need to get this done. I don’t have time to give it the energy it needs because I have to take care of this client and this client and I need to get all these things done by the end of the week.
Part of it is also internal. Many of us in this world are driven to be we want to be really good at what we do, we want to be ambitious. I think it’s both an external and internal pressure that makes slowing down to really understand who your customers are a bit more difficult than it sounds.
Louis: I agree. One of the things we discussed before going on this podcast and trying to figure out the subject is that, yes, people are going to understand customers and the usual solution is to do those persona analysis with this is the typical age of my customer, this is what they do, this is where they live, these are their hobbies and all that kind of stuff. In this episode, we are actually going to go through the fact that it’s not necessarily the best solution and there might be something else that we can do that is actually much better.
Before diving into that, let’s do a little bit of a teaser and go back to you a little bit more. As you started to mention, you used to be the director of marketing for Calendly which is a tool I use all the time to schedule goals and appointments with people, it’s a great way to avoid the back and forth of saying, “Hey, are you free at 9:00AM?” “No, I’m not but 9:30AM is better.” That’s a great tool for that. You left recently to go on your own and now you work with SaaS businesses in particular, on their messaging and conversion, right?
Claire: Correct. You nailed it.
Louis: There is one good thing. I discovered you through Product Hunt. You launched a book there that I read which is called Websites that Convert: The Fundamentals Of Writing Compelling Website Copy. I’m not trying to advertise it just because you are a guest or anything, it’s just because it’s a very good book so I would recommend anybody to read it. Your website is loveyourcustomers.co.
Louis: There is one thing I want to say to listeners is to go on the website and sign up to the emails and see how Claire manages to segment her list by asking questions and by making people click on certain links. It’s quite clever, I’ve never really seen it done that way before. Out of curiosity you should check it out. Well done on that.
Claire: I appreciate that. It means a lot to hear that come from someone else because you know this, and we all know this, when you look at your own work that’s from a month ago or a year ago, or two years ago, you’re just like, ugh, that’s shit. Could do this so much better now. Even though it’s email, I want to make better, I want to make more personal, I want to make more relevant, but the fact that you have read them and felt that they were valuable and interesting, that really means a lot. Thank you.
Louis: Yeah, no problem. I mean it. If it were a shit, I wouldn’t have mentioned them. What made you quit currently and go on your own then?
Claire: Oh, that’s a big question. First, even now, I have to say how much I love Calendly and the company, I love the product. I still believe so much that it’s something that genuinely makes a ton of people’s lives easier so that they can focus on things that they enjoy doing instead of emailing each other back and forth.
But as the team was growing, it became apparent that I was going to have to do one of two things. In addition to being director of marketing, I was also the number two employee. In those very early days, there is no just director of marketing or just director of sales. You’re one of two or three people who are just doing everything that they have to get done. It was very much wear many hats, do all kinds of different jobs type of role and I loved that. The reason I loved it was because when you come into a company that’s more established, you have a slightly more defined role and you might only work on Facebook ads, or you might only work on copy, you might only work on strategy, whatever it may be. But being at the company so early allowed me to understand.
Our team was so small at that time that I had to both watch how people were coming into the app and figure out how do we bring in more of these people. But also what happens once they’ve signed up? What is their experience after that? What’s confusing them that’s preventing them from upgrading? And how do we help them get past those things and how do we teach them how to use these products correctly so that they can experience how much easier it makes their lives?
Not a lot of marketers get to focus on both the pre sign up stage and post sign up stage and I love being on both sides because it felt more holistic, it felt more like I was taking care of this customer that we had versus okay, we just had to get people in the door. As the team grew, with growth, you need people to become specialists at different things. That’s how you scale marketing efforts. I sat back and I realized, either I will need to become a manager of a large team of specialists, which will put me a little further away from those customers that I love being really close to, or I will need to figure out something else.
I knew at that time I really wasn’t interested in moving up to become a manager internally at a company that was getting larger. I was much more interested in helping companies have that one on one view with their customers and helping them see their own product through their own customer’s eyes. We can talk about this, especially because you’re with Hotjar, you work in SaaS, so many people launch a product because they see that they can change people’s lives for the better, but because they have to focus on growing the business, they lose that view of their customers, they forget what’s going on on the other side.
I left and went to consulting rep because I see that’s all valuable and I see that a lot of companies, even big ones with large research teams, don’t always know how to stay aligned with what their customers are thinking and feeling. I can dive into that but I feel like I’ve already rambled enough at this point.
Louis: How are you getting your clients? How do you get the first two or three?
Claire: My leaving was a gradual process. I went full consulting in January. The CEO of Calendly, whose name is Tope, he and I sat down actually in Q4 and I explained this exact thing. I was like, “Look, this is what I care about, this is what Calendy needs. I think we both can see they don’t quite align.” I left the company on really great terms. I’m still in good terms with the team there. Because of that, at the end of the year, I had the last few months to get myself together. I started working on having a website that I consult now, and I started cold outreach because it’s the fastest thing I could do.
One of the things that I did that were really, really helpful was actually get on the phone with folks who had been consulting or freelancing for a while, also in SaaS, to just learn from them and to ask, “When you left your in house job. Where did you start? How did you position yourself? What didn’t go well? What did go well?” I learned a lot from those folks but I also got on their radar as someone they could hire to help with their marketing. Just by letting people know overtime not only that I was going in the consulting rep but that I wanted to learn from them, I established a number of really good relationships with other people in SaaS. I’m trying to think of a good example. That’s a good one.
A friend of mine, he himself is the owner of a SaaS company, he owns a couple of small businesses. One, he’s a consultant and two, he runs a firm that writes case studies for SaaS companies and agencies. He and I got on the phone early in my switching from in house to consulting time and I explained to him, I love SaaS and I love what SaaS marketing entails but I’m not interested in doing this in house anymore, how did you get started? What that leads you was both a conversation with him about how he made the move to consulting. Then also about a month later, an email from him that said, “Hey, would you want to team up on some client marketing projects with me?” That wasn’t the only time that happened. Just from letting people know that I was doing, and what I was interested in, I was able to form some partnerships with a few folks and that has just snowballed from there.
I want to come up with some actionable take aways but the easiest way to say it is I let my network know what I was doing and I positioned myself as someone who wanted to learn from people and not as a hard salesman like, hey, please hire me. That approach ended up working really well and has just grown overtime.
Louis: But that’s a good tip. It sounds obvious to you but I think it’s important for listeners to have that in mind is that as you put your journalist hat on and don’t try to be a hard call sales person and want to be learning, I think people trust you more and they are more likely then to help you as well. I found many, many people like freelancers or consultant starting on their own try to get into this cocoon scale to reach out to people. It’s a great tip, for sure. I haven’t heard this way of doing or finding new clients yet. It’s quite original. Thanks for sharing that. Let’s go back to a subject that I think we both love to talk about, marketing bullshit. Why do you think marketers have this reputation, in general, bad reputation?
Claire: You and I would probably both roll our eyes at the term ‘growth hacker’ as I’m sure many of the folks listening would. I tend to be a rambling person so I want to give this some thought before I just run my mouth. But I have seen, I’m sure you have too, I’ve seen two approaches to marketing. There is the approach that is only numbers focused, where it’s we have to hit this number of sign ups, we have to increase conversion rates by this, we have to get this many people in the product and paying for it by this time next quarter, and those are important from the business perspective. Otherwise, your company’s going to go out of business. We’re not doing these as volunteers, we’re doing this because there is monetary growth at stake.
At the same time, I’ll use the word you used which is cocoon, when you as a marketer get so wrapped up in the cocoon of the numbers that you’re trying to hit, you forget that the people that you’re selling to are just the people that got up this morning and maybe they were up late taking care of their kid last night and they’re exhausted or they were out late with friends last night and they’re exhausted and now they’re at work and they’re on their fifth cup of coffee and they have their own problems they’re dealing with and they are looking forward to leaving work because they want to go see this new movie or go see their kid’s baseball game.
If you as a marketer ignore or get so focused on the numbers that you forget that your product is just a little part of someone’s day, then you can fall into that trap of being very growth hacky, where it’s all about what ways can we trick people into saying yes to our marketing. I tend to work with SaaS companies who are a bit more mature but this one is on the younger side. For them, just getting the first round of sign ups right now is what matters. The head of the company in house was like, “If we have people sign up this newsletter, should we also then say that, ‘Hey, you can jump on line to get our product earlier if you tweet this thing.’” We were having a discussion about what are the ethics and what does it feel like for a user to be asked to jump through all these hoops. Ultimately I was like, “Hey, put yourself in that person’s shoes. How annoying would it be if you had signed up to get access to something and then you were told, ‘Before you can have access, you should go do all these other things for us.’ Picture that in your day.”
He comes from a UX background. He was like, “From a user experience standpoint, that actually feels pretty shitty.” I haven’t met anyone who is inherently a bad person who focuses too much on more scammy feeling tactics or those tactics that people hate. So much as I’ve met people who forget that you have to put yourself in that end user’s shoes. To me, that’s where it stems from, just stems from too much internal focus and not enough of that connection to who your customers are and what their lives look like. Honestly brings us back to the beginning of the episode.
Louis: Exactly. All of what you said is true and I agree with it. It’s difficult sometimes to remember that people are people and that they are not just numbers.
Claire: Especially when you can’t see them, right?
Louis: That’s true. Especially as a digital marketer where we look at Google and then it takes all day. It is difficult to get empathy, to understand that those numbers are actually people. As you mentioned, there are usually two approaches, the number driven approach and then the empathy driven approach, and I think both are part of the same thing. It’s just a matter of making sure that you use numbers in the right way and empathy in another way.
Let’s drill into the problem we’ve identified at the start of this episode which is, as a marketer, I struggle to understand customers, not that I don’t care about people but the fact that it’s just difficult to almost read their minds, and therefore I’ve been told a few times and I’ve read on the HubSpot blog, I’ve listened to a lot of people saying the same thing, I need to create personas. I think both you and I agree that it’s not necessarily the best way to go about it. The approach that you would recommend instead of it or at least as a complement of the personal driven approach is called…
Claire: It’s called jobs to be done.
Louis: What’s the overall pitch that why should people try to use this method instead of the traditional personal driven marketing?
Claire: I’ll answer that with an example. Back in June, I spoke at Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference about this exact topic. Maybe I can send you that link and we can add it to show notes so people can watch the presentation. Let’s think about a persona for a second. Personas, they are fake names, it’s like Marketing Melanie or HR Sally, whatever.
Louis: There’s always a Sally, always.
Claire: Always a Sally, yeah. Let’s say HR Sally, she has a Honda and she has two kids and she lives in the Suburbs and she’s middle aged and she loves tennis, and she loves dogs. She works in HR, and now we know all of those other things about the rest of her life, that’s cool. That seems like we’ve brought to life who this person is outside of her job title. But having all that information, do we have any idea why she bought a certain brand of purse, or why she bought a certain brand of wine? Do we have any idea based on those characteristics, the fact that she drives a Honda and that she plays tennis, why she made those decisions to purchase something. The answer’s not really. We’ve got surface information on her but none of that surface information tells us anything about why Sally chooses to take out her credit card and make a purchase. As marketers, if we’re relying on those types of personas then we have no idea what’s motivating people to buy our stuff.
Jobs to be done is a theory that helps correct that. It’s a theory and it’s a way of creating profiles or personas or whatever you want to call it about your customers that are focused much more on that motivation, as opposed to just random details about their lives.
One that I used in this talk that I just gave was a story of my friend Alan. My friend Alan recently bought a drill for his house. The kind that you use to hang pictures on the wall and things like that. What’s interesting is that Alan, he and I were talking about this and he didn’t buy the drill for any of those reasons, he didn’t buy the drill because of his job title, he didn’t buy the drill because of the kind of car he drives, he didn’t buy it because of the city he lives in or the state he loves in.
He actually bought the drill because he and his wife had just moved into a new home. He had previously been completing all these house projects using his father in law’s drill but every time he needed to borrow his father in law’s drill, he had to go through the pain in the ass situation. He had to call his father in law, see if he was home. If he wasn’t home, then he had to call him back later, he had to drive to go get the drill, he had to come back to use the drill, and then he had to do it all over again every time he wanted to use the drill. It’s like I don’t know what led you to sign up for Calendly but the pain you were feeling previously was that you had to send five emails every time you wanted to get a meeting scheduled or a podcast interview scheduled.
Jobs to be done is about figuring out what that pain is that makes someone go, okay, screw this. I have to go find something better. It’s that pain that motivated Alan to go buy a drill for himself. Not struggle, that’s the job and it’s done, so to speak, when hopefully your product but anything really, when that job or struggle is solved and the person can go on with their lives in a better way. Calendly solved your struggle of having to waste time sending emails and now you are free to go do other things.
I do want to send you the slides of this presentation because it may make this easier to understand. As I ramble on about it, I don’t know if I’m really making this clear. But that’s what jobs to be done is all about and it’s so much more useful to us as marketers because then when we’re creating an ad campaign for example, if we want to speak to the Alans of the world, then we can target people who are very likely going to be feeling those same struggles and have that same job. We can target people who maybe recently moved to a new place. This comes down to all kinds of technicalities, like can you track the previous purchase and things like that. But if you sell drills and you have a mailing list full of people and you can see what they have and haven’t purchased, then you can actually look and see, who’s moved to a new place recently but hasn’t bought a drill in five years?
Essentially, you can start to figure out where are the people that are going to have that same struggle and how do we go find them and put their product in their life at the time that they need it. Instead of just blasting them with ads that are not relevant or using copy that doesn’t speak to them and really all along down the funnel.
Louis: The best indicator of knowing whether or not somebody is going to buy something is by looking at past behavior of people looking like him. It’s incredibly difficult and also it could be very tricky to get by just asking questions to understand what people are planning to do. People are very bad at telling you what are they planning to do in the future while they are very good at telling you what they’ve done in the past and why they have done it, even though you might need to drill into the exact why. It’s a little bit easier to get into the past behavior.
That’s a very good introduction and yeah, we will add your slides to the show notes, of course. Now for listeners to understand the difference, the fact that you can use jobs to be done as a much more powerful way to understand why people are buying and why they are not and how you can make sure that they do. Let’s try to get into it step by step, not into a very extremely in depth step by step but perhaps as an introduction to it, could we go through a step by step of a company that has literally never done this exercise before and probably in tech as a SaaS business, and how would you advise them to go about it. Step one, what do you do?
Claire: A great example of this is actually, I worked with the video hosting company, Wistia, to train one of their internal team members on how to create these jobs to be done profiles on their customers and how to do the research to figure out what those pains over those jobs were. The first thing we did was looked at who are the customers that we want to better understand. Because if you work at any SaaS company, you probably have a very wide array of people that buy your product. Maybe for something like Hotjar, they have similar job titles but their industries are different and their price points are different. The first thing you want to do is figure out who exactly is it that we’re trying to reach better. Are we going after a new market, are we going after higher paying clients. You want to actually find people in your products who have already been really successful and are already paying you, who are part of that segment. In the future, after we get through this, are people like those people. If you want to find the people who are already super happy with what you do, you actually want to get on the phone with about at least 10 of those people.
Louis: Sorry to cut you, but step one, try to agree on the typical power users that you have, people who are happy that have been using your product for a while and make a detail profile of those people, that’s step one. The step two…
Claire: Then step two is actually reaching out to those people and saying, “Hey, we are looking to better understand how people like you use our product and why and we would love to connect with you for 20 minutes.” This is a true key part because of two reasons. You gotta reach out to a lot of people because it’s simple math that not everyone is going to be interested, not everyone is going to have time.
Two, marketers, and not just marketers, but really many, many people are terrified of getting on the phone and interviewing someone. You and I are at an advantage, you run a podcast, I come from a journalism background and a radio background so interviewing is not as scary. But even when I started doing this, it was so scary to get on the phone with a customer and ask them these questions about their life and how they use our product.
Step two is actual outreach. Since you’ll have access to those slides, on the last slide, there’s a link where you can just download the email template that I use when I’m inviting customers to get on the phone. For those who are listening, you can just use the one that I use instead of having to create a new one. That’s step two. You want to keep reaching out to customers until you’ve gotten at least 10-15 people on the phone. If you talk to 10 or 15 people in one segment, you’ll find about 80% of the information you need. Just start finding patterns in the pains and what motivated them to sign up for things. That’s your number there.
Louis: I want to make a note here. There might be time in your organization where you feel like you don’t have enough data, that there is never enough data, that you need to talk to more people, that you need to send more surveys or that you need to make more thing before making decisions and start doing stuff. Be careful of that, exactly as you said, if you have 80% of the data, it’s going to take you an infinite amount of time to get to the 20%. Because you’re never going to get the full, full picture. You’re always going to have to say, “I trust the data we have now to do the job as well as possible. Let’s learn from what we are doing instead of just over analyzing as well.” That’s just what we need to say.
Claire: Exactly. I’m glad that you did mention that. This is a time intensive process. Getting on the phone with people takes time and analyzing those conversations later takes time. It may be something that you and another team member do together, it may be something that you bring someone in to do for you which is why I have work. Because people internally are busy. That’s step two, sending out those invitations. Step three is actually getting on the phone with customers and having a 20-30 minute call.
This gets tricky because it’s easy to ask the wrong types of questions, it’s really easy to ask people for their opinion and opinion, as you mentioned earlier Louis, You could ask Alan, my friend, why did you buy this drill. He might not really think to say, well it’s because borrowing my father in law’s drill was a huge pain. He may just say something simple that’s on the box. I like that it had this many speeds, or I liked that it was this design. It’s really unlikely that he’ll be able to just spontaneously give you his motivation. You need to ask the right questions. Thankfully, in the slides in that link, you can just have my questions, it’s fine.
Louis: For people who are not going to bother looking at those slides, what other key questions would you recommend?
Claire: I’ll give you small handful. The ones that you want to avoid are anything like why. Why did you choose to make this purchase? If I was asking Alan for example why did he chose to buy this drill, he could very easily give me some incorrect information. You want to avoid why, and you want to avoid questions about the future. Like, hey, we’re thinking of creating this new feature, would you use it? Because like you said, humans are just really bad at being able to predict their own behaviors. Avoid those, instead ask questions about the what. I don’t start interviews with this but I ask this on every interview. We can use Wistia because I was working with them, we can get on the phone and say, tell me about your life before Wistia. What did it look like? What was happening? And then you have this person talking about events in their life and things that were going on, not just what they think they made a purchase for, and you can guide the conversation from there.
You can start with what was happening in your life before our product. What was that like, what was good about it, what was bad about it? What finally took place that made you think, you know what, we need to go find something else. Was it an internal conversation with a team member, were you experiencing frustration with the last way you were doing things. You’re mostly looking to film a documentary of what this person was going through leading up to purchasing your product.
What are the ones that I’ve said, let’s recap those. What was happening in your life before our product, what was that like? What happened that finally made you say we need to find something else? After that, what did you do? How did you start looking for other things? Were you Googling for them, were you asking friends? Did you just pick something you had already heard of previously? What lead you to us? Notice that pretty much of what I’m saying here starts with what. So then, once you found out about us, what made you confident that this was the right solution for you? What did you notice? This could go on and on and on, but for those who are interested in getting further ones, again, you can have my whole list. It’s a lot easier to read.
Louis: I like to go back to the step two. There is one thing that marketers are struggling with, is to get buy in from their managers or decision makers in this particular process. As you said, it’s okay, you should definitely get somebody else on board with you. If you convince somebody else to get into this crusade with you, it’s going to be much easier. Do you have any other tip to convince people to use this method? I would personally say, you might disagree, to start very small, to start with one other person and just do it not on your own but you don’t have to make a big deal out of it, it’s your job as a business marketer and then show the findings and say this is the type of stuff we can get if we get even deeper.
Claire: There are a couple of ways that this can happen. One of them is very similar to what you mentioned which is just you and a colleague do this on your own time. Don’t make a big deal out of it, don’t say okay, we’re going to take this huge project and it’s going to disrupt everyone’s work. Just get on the phone with even fewer people than we’ve discussed here, even two to three to five. Go through these questions with them, record those calls, get them transcribed. Once you’ve done that, then share with your team, hey, here is what we’ve learned about our customers that we did not know internally.
Do you know the platform Meetup? It’s a platform where you can find events that are happening in your city. I don’t believe they were on the marketing team, I believe they were on the product team. Someone within Meetup was really interested in these interviews for product development as opposed to marketing. This person just conducted a few jobs to be done interviews by himself. Then he held a short presentation over a lunch hour with his team and he called it ‘Why People Fire Meetup.’
In that presentation, he actually showed pictures of the people he interviewed and he used their quotes from the calls to say, “These are the reasons people are leaving our product. What can we as a team can do to fix it?” He got this very emotional buy in without first saying to everyone, “Hey, we’re going to adapt a new process.” From there, it grew, because then people were invested, they understood the value without him having to convince them, he just showed them. This is what I’ve learned in this very small project.
I totally agree with you there. That’s a really, really good way to get started without getting a hard no from your boss.
Louis: There are so many topics we can drill into and I don’t want to fall into a trap where we can’t get out. Rabbit hole, that’s it, I was searching for a term. You said a very important thing here. It’s all about the emotion and the story. I’ve said that in the podcast many times, but it’s worth repeating. It’s much easier to convince people using stories and individual stories and emotions rather than spreadsheets. Exactly as you said, once you have the findings, do try to make them as personal as possible. Do tell a story. It’s okay if you tell just one customer story, but if it’s valuable, people will remember that, it will strike a cord.
Step one, you can make your customer profile of those power users, people who love your stuff. Step two, you contact them. Step three, you start talking to them and use some of the questions you use. You avoid using why, you start with what. Another good question I will ask is what almost stopped you from buying from us. Not only do you identify the key benefits of the key reason why people buy from you but you also identify the key objections that almost stopped them from doing so, so that you can address them, right? And then step four, you basically started to talk about it. You transcribed the conversations.
Claire: Always record and always transcribe. Because if you’re just trying to take notes, you will miss those quotes. If you’re on the call with the customer, you shouldn’t have to worry about taking notes. This is very, very tactical and a small detail but there’s a service called rev.com, they create transcripts at a dollar a minute. It’s so worth it. They’re very accurate and they come back within 24 hours.
Louis: I agree. There’s a good one, there is also speechpad.com that does the same, but yeah, don’t be afraid to use those services because it will save you a lot of time and you can focus on the actual important thing. You do get the transcript and then you make sense of all of it and then I suppose, what you mentioned might be another step which is try to make a story out of it, try to organize a presentation. But I like what you said with the example of Meetup. Try to tease your managers in a sense, try to extract some good angle that you can use such as why do people stop using our product or something like this, right?
Claire: Right. If for some reason you’re introducing it to your team and you’re showing them look what we’re learning from customers and they’re still, maybe you have a manager who loves spreadsheets or needs some kind of data to prove yes, it’s worth you spending more time on this.
Intercom, their head of marketing, his name is Matt Hodges, he gave a great presentation of how Intercom used jobs to be done in their product development and their marketing together. He has, in that presentation, a great slide. At the time that he came on board, they undertook the process of learning their customer’s jobs to be done and then it was about 18 months that they revised their marketing strategy and their product. Of course they had a lot of people on board, but because of that effort, they went from 35,000 unique visitors a month on their website up to 5 times that, it was 200,000 something per month. What they saw was that the rate of sign ups was increasing at the same time. Clearly, the marketing was sending the right message, it was attracting the right people and so they were growing the product using this.
If you do have a boss who’s looking for a case study of someone who’s done this before, Matt’s presentation that he gave showing the Intercom case study is really, really helpful.
Louis: What strikes me about Intercom example, is that what we are discussing here seems obvious and I know that listeners will say, well duh, it almost seems like too obvious. But that’s the beauty of it, it’s that you come back to the root of marketing, you come back to the root of understanding people and by using their own language and segmenting your product or your service per jobs, it just speaks to people much, much better than just features or list of benefits even. It seems like it’s something that goes beyond that and that works really well. That actually was the question I wanted to ask after the steps we mentioned. Example, Intercom is a very well known example for having used this technique and strategy even, very successfully. Did you come across any other SaaS companies, or even outside of SaaS company who used this particular methodology?
Claire: The place that I can think to find the greatest number of people using this methodology is in a book called When Coffee & Kale Compete, it’s explained in the book but someone was struggling to really start their day in a way that made them feel energized and ready to go and they started with coffee and then they eventually switched to a Kale Smoothie. You would never look at those as competitors. But, ultimately, they were both getting the same job done for this person and so Kale won.
Anyway, that’s beside the point but When Coffee & Kale Compete is written by a guy named Alan Klement who is much more well versed on jobs to be done than I am. He’s been doing it much longer. He’s the same Alan who bought the drill, it’s the same guy. He’s written a very, very in depth book about this and he cites many, many people both in the SaaS world and not in the SaaS world who use this. This is less about the big companies and more about small software companies but are you familiar with Justin Jackson, he’s very much an internet marketer.
Louis: I interviewed Justin in one of the episodes and was published in August, I think, with Justin.
Claire: Okay. I was about to say, yeah, I’ve done my homework and I had seen a couple of guests.
Louis: But at the time that we are recording this episode, Justin’s episode hasn’t been published yet, which is why.
Claire: That’s hilarious. Alan in this book, he talked about how Justin used jobs to be done to create a series of products that helped an engineer for example, someone who’s a product person and wants to get started creating and wants to get good at marketing. But the first struggle they encounter is I don’t even know where to start. Justin has a specific product that he has for that and I won’t butcher the name of all his products because he’d got many. There’s the community, there’s tiny marketing wins, there are several other ones but if you read When Coffee & Kale Compete, he and Alan discussed this at length and they go into one product gets one job done. Once that struggle has been solved, then this new product focused business person faces a new struggle which is, okay, how do I actually do marketing. Then the next product solves that struggle.
As they get better at what they’re doing over time, Justin’s products actually grow with them and solve struggle after struggle after struggle after struggle. He creates this long customer journey where the same person is buying from him time and time again. That’s a really great case study. When Coffee & Kale Compete is free. You can download that and Alan dives into a number of other companies that have done this and it’s really, really interesting.
Louis: Aside from this book, what are the top three resources you would recommend any digital marketer? It could be books, podcasts, blog articles, whatever you want.
Claire: We talked about the book, we talked about Matt at Intercom and the presentation that he gives, those two are really, really powerful, the presentation is much shorter than the book. Really, Intercom’s blog talks quite a bit about jobs to be done as well. I will honestly just search Intercom plus jobs to be done and see what they’ve written on it.
Alan also runs a blog called jtbd.info and he actually invites people who use this methodology to write about it. From the marketing perspective, from the product development perspective, from the perspective of growing a business. That’s really useful because you get a much more holistic view of how you can really use it. And it’s many, many different people’s writing. You’re learning lessons from all kinds of people as opposed to just one person over and over and over. jtbd.info would be a good other place for that.
Louis: Amazing. I think that’s a great way to end this episode. Unless you have anything else to add outside of the questions I asked you?
Claire: Really, I think we’ve discussed a lot. If we keep talking, I’ll just keep rambling.
Louis: Alright. Let’s end this episode. Claire, thank you so much once again for your time. It was a pleasure to talk to you.
Claire: Likewise, this is wonderful.