Value Propositions through the lens of the Job To Be Done
“We need to sell more stuff!!!”
I remember sitting at our global townhall meeting listening carefully to our COO commenting about the quarterly results of our Medical Technology company. Results of new product launches were pretty good. Our COO all of a sudden stood up and said “we need to sell more stuff!”. The message was simple, clear, unfiltered, and spontaneously sparked enthusiasm, and laughter, among employees. Hurray! And off we went to sell more stuff!
A PUSH strategy is certainly still of relevance in many businesses however, this example of what happened less than 10 years ago, shows how this traditional view of the business has blinders.
The fact is that, every year, companies in Life Sciences spend billions in budgets to develop and PUSH new products in the market. However, statistics show that many of them fail or largely underperform. One of the explanations why this is the case is that, they don´t target the “Jobs” that customers are trying to get done.
Having worked in the Medical Device and Pharmaceutical industries for 20 years, here are some takeaways for you to consider to successfully identify and drive adoption of innovative technologies in Life Sciences.
Know your Customers´ “Jobs To Be Done”
The concept of “Jobs To Be Done” (JTBD) was presented by Clayton M. Christensen, a Harvard Business School Professor who labeled JTBD as a theory, in his excellent book, Competing Against Luck (2016). It suggests that “products and technology come and go, but “Jobs” persist over time. As a result, companies integrated around a “Job” can achieve greater market differentiation and success.”
Knowing the “Jobs” a customer is trying to get done allows companies to sell more and improve their products over time in ways that are relevant to their customers.
Bottom-line understanding the Jobs To Be Done brings much more clarity and dynamic to the understanding of why people will and won’t buy your products.
Avoid a “solutions in search of problems” mindset
Medical Technology and Pharmaceutical industries tend to be blinded by new gleaming scientific or technological breakthroughs, but they often have little to do with the actual Jobs To Be Done by Health Care Practitioners along the way from R&D to the Patient. This may lead to a “solutions in search of problems” mindset i.e. creating a proposal that is intended to solve a problem which does not really exist.
Crucially, and as mentioned in myrecent article (Customer-centricity in Life Sciences: 3 golden rules), life science companies have to shift from being mesmerized by “product features” and re-focus on “customer benefits” and their Value Proposition.
Developing a Value Proposition in a co-creative and multi-disciplinary way, helps to bring the customer back to the table.
Make sure your customer has a seat at the table
The Value Proposition helps to ensure your products and services are positioned around what your prospects and customer base actually needs and values. After rigorously defining your Value Proposition, you can generally tell consumers “What´s in it for them”, i.e. why they should buy your products and services rather those of your competitors, and makes the benefits of your offering crystal clear.
But here is the nub! The “Value” is in the hands of the Beholder. As a result, the Value Proposition definition can often turn into an inward-oriented exercise. It is pointless to start a discussion about Value Propositions without starting with the customer.
In this context, the Jobs To Be Done offers a dynamic and “future-proof” approach that elevates the reasoning on focussing on what your customers broadly hope to accomplish “over time” in their daily lives (at a functional, social and emotional level).
Contact us for more information about immersion workshops for Value Proposition and Target Audience/Personas definition.
Gain fundamental insights of your customers
Understanding the Jobs To Be Done brings much more clarity to the understanding of why people will and won’t buy your products. Your market insights should gather qualitative observations and specifically identify the core “Job” and its desired outcomes, not just at a functional level but also at an emotional level.
A deep understanding of the customer is essential to designing effective marketing communications. This is why every project should starts with an audit phase tackling and why UP has an integrated full service marketing research function.
Contact us for more information about integrated services in marketing research
Success is not final: Value propositions have a life cycle
Value Proposition and Jobs To Be Done are approaches that work in tandem.
Understanding the Jobs To Be Done brings however much more clarity to the understanding why people will and won´t buy your products. Furthermore, the Jobs To Be Done offers a dynamic approach that elevates your reasoning on focusing on what your customers broadly hope to accomplish “over time” in their daily lives.
Value propositions have a life cycle. So, don´t let your success of today lay into complacency for tomorrow. Customer buying cycles and the competitive landscape evolve over time. As a result, the definition of Value proposition and Jobs To Be Done should be seen as iterative processes that ultimately should become routinely integrated in business planning.