- Posted by Tabitha David
- On August 23, 2016
- 0 Comments
A timeless article, that’s great to bookmark for all marketing professionals is Finding the Right Job for Your Product. It was originally published in 2007 in the MIT Sloan Management Review. This article describes the Milkshake Marketing tactic and how it can be applies when approaching the age-old 4 P’s of marketing.
In brief, the article contends that traditional marketing segmentation schemes miss the mark in today’s marketplace. The authors argue that while companies tend to segment their markets along product or customer characteristics, customers “just find themselves needing to get things done”. The author puts it simply, customers want to “hire a product or service to do the job”. This is increasingly true as the rate we consume information is rapidly increasing.
For example, the authors highlight the case of a fast food company that wanted to increase sales of its milkshakes (hence milkshake marketing). Traditional marketing wisdom meant the company segmented the market for milkshakes based on product or customer categories. However the this strategy did not impact in sales.
After careful market analysis, the company eventually realized that 40% of milkshakes were being sold in the morning. This is customers were buying them to help to relieve the monotony of morning commutes, not just because they’re a tasty beverage. Understanding the milkshake’s true ‘job’ and its true competition, enabled the company to tweak its products to do the ‘job’ better. The result? The company gained market share.
The benefits of segmenting by ‘job’ is readily applicable to the 4 P’s of any marketing plan.
Purpose brands are created by segmenting by ‘job’ allows for the creation of purpose brands. This decreases advertising costs for early stage businesses, as purpose brands “link customers’ realization that they need to do a job with a product that was designed to do it”. Positioning a product with a purpose allows communicators to market the product more effectively, catering to the users concerns and needs.
Understanding the true ‘job’ of your product helps you design your product to improve your customer`s experience. This is in contrasts to adding superfluous fluff that you think your target customer might value. In order to find success with your product, it is absolutely necessary to determine not necessarily the features of your product or search, but essentially the benefits. In the B2B world this is a simple principle that is seen across how content is developed, how value propositions and how meetings are conducted to ultimately close sales.
Your price is often determined by your competition. Understanding your product or service’s ‘job’ will lead you to discovoring your true competition (who may not be who you initially think they are). Think about what your solution or need your product addressed and why certain customers opt for your solution? Use those ideas to help guide your pricing structure. Don’t get stuck with your price. Take time to review your customer’s needs to see where your product or solution’s price fits best.
Understanding the ‘job’ of your solution can help you get your product to the right place at the right time. Use the placement of your product to work with the experience you want to give to your customers. Remember to always consider your customer’s buyer process, it often trumps your sales process. How is your placement going to contribute to the ‘job’ being completed? As a startup, choosing to segment by ‘job’ rather than traditional methods offers an number of benefits. These include increasing market size, understanding your true competitors and tweaking your value proposition. It helps you better target your products or services, and “escape the traditional positioning paradigm”. Continue to experiment with situational case studies in your sales and marketing process, to gain actionable and practical insights.
This blog post was originally written by Sam Brennand and posted on Jan 29, 2013. The content has since been updated.