What Job Do Consumers Hire Your Product To Do?

Typically the first thing product manufacturers do when launching a product is to start segmenting their markets by product categories, price, function or by the target audience’s demographics and psychographics. However, Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, is suggesting product manufacturers take a different approach.

Christensen is suggesting the best approach to marketing a product is to identify what job consumers hire your product to do. He feels this approach really allows you to “crawl into the skin of your customer and go with her as she goes throughout her day, asking the question: why did she do it that way?”

While some marketing professionals may argue that Christensen’s idea isn’t really new, it is an interesting exercise to conduct. Ask yourself, what job will consumers hire my product to do? Or if it is an existing product, ask your customers what job they hired your product to do.

Christensen gives an excellent example of how his “jobs-to-be-done” approach applied to marketing milkshakes in the video below.

It is possible you might come to the same conclusions why consumers will purchase your products using traditionally laddering (identifying features, functional benefits, higher order benefits and emotions). But it is worth putting down the research data for once and asking what appears to be a very simply question: What do consumers hire my product to do?

Read the full article on Christensen’s “milkshake marketing” at: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6496.html?wknews=02142011

Jennifer Manocchio


After starting her career with Edelman in Chicago, Jennifer joined Sweeney and quickly established herself as an exceptional industry innovator. In 2004, she opened Sweeney’s first full-service office outside of Cleveland and quickly rose through the ranks to become agency president. Jen leads by example and without fear. She has been critical to agency growth throughout the past decade and continues to lead the agency into the future.