There are many possible customers; buyers, users, influencers, administrators, and distributors. So who is your customer? When looking through a jobs-to-be-done lens, we see that they are all trying to get a job done, but not the same job. Of course, companies want to help any and all potential customers get their unique jobs done better, earning their loyalty. The key to success, however, is knowing who the primary customer is and the hierarchy to follow to optimize value creation and profits.
When asked who is your customer, companies often tell us that they serve many customers. This customer selection includes internal and external customers, distributors, buyers, influencers, employees, and so on. Calling them all “customers” is common, even acceptable. But it perpetuates a myth that misleads. They are not all customers in the true sense of the word. Companies are making a mistake when they give all these constituents an equal or greater priority than they give their primary customer. This leads to focusing time and energy in the wrong places, inhibiting a company’s ability to create value and grow.
So companies get the job done for "everyone" or address customers in vague terms instead of speaking directly to their target customers.
It’s hard to conceive that the people you sell to, collect revenue from, and talk to every day of the week are not your primary customers. IBM thought ComputerLand was its primary customer, not the computer user. But then Dell and Apple created offerings that took the distributor out of the equation. The result? ComputerLand went the way of the dinosaur, and IBM eventually got out of the PC business. But computer users didn’t disappear. They were, and are still today, the primary customer.
The first step in profiting from the customer is knowing who they are. We work through the confusion and the resistance to make the right choices, so value can be created. This is part of our innovation process, Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI).
Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) brings clarity by expounding on a customer's need and finding solutions to address those unmet needs. Here are some of the strategies used to win over the target market.
Drop the notion that the innovation process starts with an idea. On the contrary, an idea is the output of the innovation process. This helps businesses construct the best solution to help their ideal customer get the job done faster and more cheaply.
From a Job-to-be-Done perspective, asses how efficiently a product or service is helping ideal customers get the job done. Identify how to measure value and offer a better product or service than the competitor. It's no longer about a technical comparison of your product to your competitor; it starts and ends with creating value for your existing customers.
A product or service should effectively communicate to attract customers who find value. ODI informs marketing messages to communicate value and how to do the job better than other competing solutions.
Understand the methods customers use to measure if the product gets the job done. Focus on the feedback to understand your target market's opinions and attitudes toward your brand. Remember, happy customers whose jobs have successfully been executed will likely return.
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