Product Searching for a Customer Job To Be Done

keep-calm-and-sell-just-one-moreGrowth and market share seem the holy grail of most businesses. A McKinsey report titled, “Grow Fast or Die Slow”, says, only businesses that grow survive (tautology?).

Sometimes, in a mature market, product and brand managers tasked with meeting growth targets,   build products with the single minded goal of selling just one more to the customer. They build the product first then search for a customer job to be done.

Active product positioning starts with customer needs (jobs to be done) and informing the customer

  1. Which specific job you want them to hire the product for
  2. Which jobs you do not want them to hire the product for
  3. Why your product is the most suited candidate to do the job better than any other alternatives out there

Passive positioning is letting the customers decide which job they want to consider the product for. Active positioning is choosing the specific customer job to be done. In either case customer needs must be identified first. Growth driven positioning takes active to the extreme and becomes annoying.

In an attempt to get more wallet share from customers they resort to,

  1. Telling customers why a specific need is so acute that they better fill it or risk disaster
  2. Make yet another product variation  to apply for specific instances of a particular job – one for night time and another for day time
  3. Use emotional messaging to appeal to our System-1

That is what we see happening with Febreze Sleep Serenity. We have seen this before with Downy Simple Pleasures. When 99% of households already buy at least one P&G products the only option for growth seems to be get them to buy one more. So P&G wants us to buy different version of Febreeze just so we can sleep better.

You could try misting Febreze® Sleep Serenity™ Bedding Refresher on your sheets to help create a calming and relaxing environment as you wind down from the day.

Sure you could but it is highly likely it would have any effect on your sleep. (Their claim is not based on a double blind controlled test and they do not need to conduct one when they keep the messaging emotional.)

When you chase revenue you start at the wrong place. Instead of starting with customer job-to-be-done you start with your internal needs. If your growth strategy do not start with customer needs and products don’t evolve from which prioritized needs you want to address you will become irrelevant.

Customer Jobs To Be Done Growth Matrix

Does your growth strategy align with customer job to be done?


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