The Job to be Done

I’m not particularly handy, but I own a drill. I’m very confident it has both a motor and a battery. Beyond that, I couldn’t tell you much about it.

I use this drill for one thing: mounting heavy objects – like large, framed pictures – on walls. That’s it.

In fact, when I have a lightweight picture that doesn’t need a wall anchor or a stud, I skip the drill and go right to a hammer. And, if you showed me a faster or cleaner way to hang heavy items, my drill would never see the light of day again.

For me, that’s an equally true statement, regardless of how fast the drill’s motor is, how long the battery lasts, or how many bits it came with.

As marketers, we sometimes get caught up in how our product’s features compare to the competition: ours has 37% more of this, 23% less of that, etc. And then we assume consumers care about these comparisons as much as we do.

Focusing on feature comparisons often blinds us to the real dimensions of improvement/innovation that matter to our customers and the emerging alternatives that can complete the same job for consumers (and risk disrupting our business).

“When we buy a product, we essentially ‘hire’ something to get a job done.”

Clayton Christensen

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