Jobs-To-Be-Done: Pretzel Rods

Monday, January 26, 2009

It all started with a Tweet.

Annie and I had never actually met, but we had eaten lunch at opposite sides of the same table at a conference, and then connected and introduced ourselves on Twitter shortly after.

Months later, when she announced to the world on Twitter that she had an addiction to pretzel rods, I jumped at the opportunity to introduce her to jobs and see how much we could both learn about the jobs that pretzel rods do.

What's the Job?

In a few short paragraphs I explained the role that situational context plays in what we choose to consume (hire). I talked about the Snickers bar (help me make it through the next few hours without crashing; give me something that feels like food when I'm eating it), and the new home, (help me live the life I should be living; help me get out of this bad neighborhood).

Then we started talking about the containers of pretzel rods that she keeps on her desk.

Why not potato chips? - "Pretzel rods don't contain fat or any real calories."

If it's a health consideration, why not an apple or orange - "They're not as accessible and they make my hands sticky."

We know there is a lot of motion involved with jobs and why people hire things. So when you reach for a pretzel rod, is it because of something that just happened, something that's happening now, or something that's about to happen? - "Usually because my stomach is grumbling, but sometimes my mouth just gets bored!"

What People Don't Say

This is where it becomes important to really listen to people. During our email exchange, Annie started describing the recent changes that had occurred in her working environment. Her workstation was recently moved into a part of the building filled with software engineers. The engineers were more introverted than her other marketing colleagues and she started feeling disconnected; turning to Twitter for interaction with other people.

Another aspect of the job became apparent when she began talking about the fact that engineers would visit her desk throughout the day to grab a pretzel rod.

This was much more than just free food!

So What's the Job?

So how do you market to Annie? The job that the pretzel rod does for Annie is made up of the Technology Independent Job Requirements.
  • Help me fight my appetite throughout the day while staying healthy (my stomach is grumbling).
  • Occupy my attention for a few moments and give me a quick break (my mouth just gets bored).
  • Provide me with short periods of human interaction (my co-workers will visit m
    y desk to get a pretzel rod).
These requirements form the framework that Annie will use to make a decision at the time of purchase (what we see when we magnify the hire moment).

What Does The Pretzel Rod Compete With?

Because of how Annie may prioritize her job requirements, many items that seem like acceptable substitutions will not actually be considered:
  • Pretzel knots will still occupy my attention, and will help curb my appetite, but aren't as shareable (the person's entire hand goes into the bowl; not sanitary).
Also, because of the combination of job requirements, some items that marketers wouldn't consider as competition may be added to the consideration set:
  • Twizzlers may not completely satisfy Annie's need to stay healthy, but they are designed to be shared.
Think About Your Products

Do the people that market pretzels understand the jobs of pretzel rods and pretzel knots, and why they don't compete with each other? What else could Annie substitute that would fulfill her job requirements (leave your comments!)?

What are the jobs of your product? What falls into the consideration set when you magnify the hire moment?

CrowdVine is Rewired

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Help me meet someone.

I recently attended a conference on the topic of online marketing. I was traveling by myself, and besides a few people I suspected that I may run into, I didn't formally know anyone else that was attending or speaking at the event.

I'm not incredibly introverted, but I'm not also someone to walk up to strangers in a big crowded room and start conversations. I knew that it would be nice to start some online conversations leading up to the conference so I would have some people to meet, and probably learn some things from. Help me not eat lunch alone wihle I'm there, or end up without any after-hours plans each night!

Turning to my go-to social media site, Facebook, started me down a path. There was a Facebook group setup for the event which had a number of members. Scanning the list of names didn't turn up anyone familiar. There were no discussions going on in the group, and really no activity. My first path was a dead-end. LinkedIn's Groups feature is a little too formal for something like this, so I doubted that someone had created one just for this one-time event. I skipped them completely as an option.

Then I scanned over the email I had received when I registered for the event. The email prompted me to setup an account on CrowdVine, and that it would be used as the social media platform to communicate about the event. I had never heard of CrowdVine, but it was free, so I had nothing to lose.

Creating an account took less than ten minutes. I entered my interests, professional information, links to profiles (LinkedIn, etc), and uploaded my photo. When I logged in I knew I was on the way to accomplishing my goal.

I still didn't know anyone, but the discussions that were happening on the site led me to believe that other conference goers were hiring the site for the same reason that I was. Discussion topics included, "Who Is Arriving Early And Attending the Sunday Cocktail Party," and "Who Wants to Find a Good Manhattan Wine Bar on Monday Night?"

I joined in on a few of the conversations, and accomplished my goal. Then CrowdVine took it a step further. I received an email a few hours later telling me that someone wanted to meet me while I was at the conference. I clicked the link, and it was another online marketing professional with similar interests. Until then I hadn't noticed the "+ Someone I Want to Meet." link under the photo on people's profiles.

After scanning the profiles of a number of people on the site, I began clicking the link and letting people know that I'd like to meet them. This one tiny link was no great programming feat, but it's inclusion in the software enabled it to accomplish the job that I needed to have done. Help me meet someone.