“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole,” an HBS professor named Theodore Levitt famously told his students.
“Don’t sell one-size-fits-none products,” he said. “Instead, find the job your customer is hiring your product to do”.
To illustrate the “jobs-to-be-done” method of marketing, Professor Christensen told the story of milkshake development (which he also described in this fascinating HBR article)
“Job-defined markets are generally much larger than product category–defined markets. Marketers who are stuck in the mental trap that equates market size with product categories don’t understand who they are competing against from the customer’s point of view.”
In the pursuit of new products and new features, there is value in understanding the “jobs-to-be-done”.
Too often, marketers get wrapped up in the features and functions of their products, rather than solving the actual problems of the consumer. That leads to a lot of one-upmanship versus competition and over-bundled products that don’t handle any one feature particularly well.
Marketers also tend to average out all of the feedback from consumers, ending up with one-size-fits-none products.