It is one of the holy grails of marketing: predictability in new-product innovation. Yet again and again, smart companies spend tens of millions of dollars doing the best research they can, only to have products or services flop in the marketplace.
Our perspective is that the way companies assess and analyze markets shoulders at least part of the blame for this unpredictability. Marketers who segment markets by demographics, or assume that product categories divide the world, can consistently supply the market with offerings that don’t quite connect with consumers – while completely missing high-potential opportunities for innovation. They can continue to push for improvements along dimensions that already overshoot consumer needs, and then complain that commoditization has set in, when looking at the market the right way can highlight attractive avenues for product differentiation.
There must be a better method, one that allows companies to identify real opportunities to create the differentiated products and services that promise extraordinary returns.
We believe that focusing on the “job” the consumer (or customer) is trying to do can assist companies in breaking out of the marketing morass. The jobs-to-be-done model can help companies master the innovation life cycle – improving their ability to spot high-growth opportunities, optimize existing products, and inject life into even the stagnant categories.