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Create Compelling Customer Value Propositions By Understanding Important Jobs People Want To Get Don

Long ago, Peter Drucker famously said:

“… the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

The question is how do you create customers?

The answer is conceptually simple: To create a customer, we need to help them get their important jobs done better than they currently are achieving with existing solutions.

When we are able to define and deliver solutions that help real customers get important jobs done perfectly, we have the formula and recipe to create and deliver compelling customer value.

Compelling customer value is what creates customers. If we fail to design a customer value proposition around an important job, chances are the value proposition will struggle and ultimately fail in the market. As Vinod Khosla, founder Sun Microsystems and Khosla Ventures, observed:

“No problem, no opportunity. No one will pay you to solve a non-problem.”

The more important the job is to the customer, the lower the level of customer satisfaction with current options in getting the job done, and the better your solution is than existing solutions at getting the job done, the greater the customer value proposition.

In my new book “The Innovator’s Playbook: Discovering and Transforming Great Ideas Into Breakthrough Products, I define “jobs” as the “means” a person uses to achieve specific desired outcome. The circumstances and constraints a person faces defines the context in getting the job done, which affects their ability to get jobs done perfectly (i.e. 100% satisfaction in achieving their desired outcomes).

Focus on getting important jobs done perfectly

So what is a job? Let’s begin by creating a definition of a job:

• A job is a task, objective or goal a person or organization is trying to accomplish or a problem they are trying to solve. • The job is important to them and they are dedicated to getting the job done. • Customers migrate to products that get the job done best, according to their definition of success (desired outcomes).

Jobs-to-be-done have both functional and emotional aspects

Functional jobs describe the task that a job executor wants to accomplish. For example, a person wants to travel from point A to point B. The functional job is very specific and provides the inputs into creating the functional specifications.

The circumstances define the context of getting the functional job done. Moving from point A to point B, doesn’t provide enough definition to create a compelling value proposition. It’s not specific enough. We need more context to understand the specific job to be done. We need to know the circumstance. Circumstances influence both the functional job as well as the emotional job.

For example, let’s say, a person wants to go visit a friend who lives 15 miles down the road. The core functional job he wants to get done is to visit his friend who lives within driving distance, but too far to walk.

Additional circumstances and context he faces includes the weather and traffic condition and other auxiliary jobs he needs to get done (i.e. bring a package over to his friend).

Let’s assume the weather outside is nice, and he doesn’t need to carry any packages to or from point A to point B. So he can either use his car, use public transportation, or use his motorcycle.

How will he choose his solution? Mostly likely it will be based on his Emotional Jobs he wants to get done.

Emotional jobs are related to feelings and perceptions, and as such they are subjective. There are two kinds of emotional jobs:

• Personal jobs describe how customers want to feel about themselves. • Social jobs refer to how customers want to be perceived by others.

For our transportation example, an important emotional job to get done for our subject is a feeling of safety. He wants to make sure he gets to his friend’s house in one piece. Note: Safety could qualify as a functional job too – since we can define very specific design parameters around making transportation safe. But safety is also in the eyes of the beholders, defined by one’s personal definition of risk tolerance.

Our subject believes in certain circumstances, motorcycle travel is plenty safe. In this specific circumstance, the weather is good. The subject feels confident that any of the three solutions will satisfied his emotional job to get done of feeling safe. Had it been raining out, he probably would have eliminated using his motorcycle.

The customer also wants to run some errands after visiting his friends (a circumstance to get additional jobs done). Public transportation is not convenient for those activities (a functional limitation), so he decides not to use public transportation. The errands he needs to run, don’t require him to pick up any large objects (i.e. grocery shopping), so his car and motorcycle can get his job done equally well.

But it’s a really nice day, and the subject wants to satisfied his emotional job of experience the freedom and thrill of riding a motorcycle. So our subject is leaning towards choosing his motorcycle based an emotional dimension of feeling free and exhilarated.

The final job dimension he considers (consciously or otherwise) is based on social emotional job. He wants to be considered cool, and different. He wants to present an external persona to his friends and observers, that he is somewhat of a rebel and free spirit. So he decides to take his motorcycle which helps him get his functional and emotional jobs done while achieving his desired outcome: Getting from Point A to Point B in style and fun.

In my next article, we will look at how to construct job statements for our transportation example. And examine how we use the job statement to frame the opportunity based on the specific job that needs to bet done.

In the meantime, here’s to the freedom of the open highway!


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