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“People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill they want a quarter inch hole.”  Professor Theodore Levitt

SnickersTake a healthy dose of sociology, psychology and marketing, mix them liberally and serve up a marketing presentation to the Northeast Tennessee ADFED.  That’s exactly what Bite Interactive’s Chief Technology Officer, Brant DeBow, did recently in talking about his company’s “Jobs to be Done Theory.” He used the professor’s quote above to introduce the concept of discovering what consumers really want. Focus groups are not always the answer. Neither is blanket targeting of demographics. Instead his team uses a system of in-depth interviews to determine the functional, social and emotional reasons for purchasing a product. “When you purchase a product you change your behavior,” he says.

“People are bad at knowing the future,” he said. “But they are good at telling you what’s going on now and about the past,” he said. “Correlation is not causation.” His example was the Motorola 2007 Razor phone. SMS was barely on the scene and that slim, little phone did its job as a telephone extremely well. Who would want something bulky with a large screen back then? (Little could they imagine the iPhone!)

Netflix vs. Blockbuster was another example. Blockbuster mowed down the Mom and Pop video stores offering a better in-store experience. Netflix however offered a completely different model; what the customer really wanted — entertainment in his/her own home.

DeBow said four forces are involved in purchase decision making: push, pull, anxiety and habit.  The first two move us toward the new product and the second two keep us maintaining the status quo.

4Forces

DeBow’s team launched a clever campaign for Snickers after determining that Snickers, unlike Milky Way, was used to curb hunger. They deliberately mis-spelled words related to Snickers in their online ad campaign and then purchased associated mis-spelled keywords, attempting to gain the hungry and tired 3 PM-need-a-candy-bar crowd. “Snickers is now the most successful candy bar as a result of the Jobs to be Done reorganization of the brand,” said DeBow. “Who do you compete with? For Snickers it was hunger, so it was actually other snack foods. It was not Milky Way, as they originally thought, because Milky Way was perceived as a guilty pleasure, a reward and something people didn’t want to share.”

What examples have you experienced where a company has completely met your needs as a consumer? When did someone serve you the “quarter inch hole?” instead of making you buy the “quarter inch drill”? Please comment below.

Follow me on twitter @MarketingMel.

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