In this episode, during a pandemic, we look at how you can use JTBD to beat the coronavirus. We usually focus on a company as a competitor, but we wanted to ask the question, "can JTBD be useful for companies during a pandemic?" JTBD is based on the premise that your customer's JTBD is stable, but the coronavirus has caused extensive changes to markets in just a few weeks. We explore how you can use JTBD to adjust your product strategy to respond to rapid market changes.
Welcome to our podcast. How would you beat? In each episode we pick a company and talk about how you could use jobs-to-be-done innovation methods to beat that company's product. We'll discuss innovation theory and explain the methods so you can put the theory into practice at your company. I'm Jay Haynes, the founder and CEO of thrv, that's thrv without the vowels thrv.com. We help product marketing and sales teams use jobs-to-be-done innovation methods to build market and sell great products. I'm here with my colleague, Jared Ranere. So today we're going to do something a little different. Of course, we're all in the age of this pandemic. So we want to know could you use Jobs-to-be-done to essentially beat a virus, the pandemic? And can jobs-be-done be helpful as an innovation method In times like this. So we know the basics of the theory are the jobs don't change over time that products and solutions change over time. So the theory is based on the fact that customer jobs are actually stable. But this is an incredibly unstable time. And things have change dramatically. So what does this mean? We know the jobs the same and the needs are the same, but what changes? And specifically what does this mean for your product strategy? How does it change your product strategy in response to a pandemic? So if you sell to airlines or hotels or restaurants, what product strategy should you use now? And can jobs-to-be-done be helpful?Jared Ranere :
Right? So if we think about a product strategy, in jobs-to-be-done, we say you're answering five key questions with your product strategy. First of all, is who is Is the customer you're going to target and we always look at the job beneficiary as your key customer, the person who benefits from the goal, the job being achieved. And second, of course, is what market are you in. And we define the market as the job to be done. So the market is a group of job beneficiaries who want to get a job done who want to achieve some goal. And then of course, that the size of that market has to be big enough for you to achieve your revenue goals. So market size. In other words, the willingness to pay by those customers to get the job done is a critical piece of information that you have to understand and be aligned on to create a great product strategy. Then there are the unmet needs. So why are people struggling to get this job done? What are the obstacles that are getting in their way today, that if they saw a new solution, they would be willing to switch to that new solution and create growth for your company? And then finally, what is the value you can deliver to your customers, the customer value is In your roadmap, so that's the choice of the product platform, you're going to use to deliver value, as well as the features that will exist there. If you're aligned on all of those things, then you can move forward with a successful product strategy. So it's about getting the right answers to those questions, as well as gaining agreement in your company on the answers to those questions. And it's when you start to think about the world this way and product strategies this way, it can be quick to see why strategy, why people's product strategies are upside down, why their value chains are upside down and why they're struggling to continue revenue growth. For example, if you're an airline, your customers are travelers. Your market is helping people travel from A to B long distance places. That's one of the jobs that you help people get done. The market size for that used to be really big. A lot of people were traveling, but that's become less the case. Now and so your platform choice of air, aircraft and airports flying people from point A to point B, in the middle of this pandemic, when people are on lockdown and can't travel is a very tenuous proposition. So the question is, how would you adapt your product strategy if you were an airline in this environment, given that you have this massive platform that you invest a lot of money in, and you're trying to create customer value through it, but far fewer people are doing the job?Jay Haynes :
Yeah, it's it's such a great questions and this this airline product strategy, as companies we've worked know we've talked about this for years, in order to demonstrate what a product strategy is, and the way we do it is an airline is being hired for a lot of reasons. And if you just said Oh, the job is to get from point A to point B. Well, okay, yeah, but that's not really what you're trying to do when you get from point A to point d be a consumer is doing that for very different Reason. So they might be taking a vacation, of course, but business travelers are trying to accomplish something when they get on a plane and business travels, of course, are very, very profitable for the airlines because they have last minute flights, they pay full fare, you know, they have to make changes quickly, etc. So the way we describe this, his salespeople are, for example, hiring an airline to help acquire a customer. And we've pointed out before that the airlines don't think about it this way, which is a huge risk and a huge problem for them. Because even before COVID as products and technologies like zoom and web conferencing, and for them WebEx and now you know, Google meet and Hangouts and all these video conferencing, the technologies that we're changing or much higher speed internet so video conference has gotten much, much better, and it's going to continue to get better because, you know, during a pandemic, everybody's online and you can see that you know, people are going to invest in higher speeds. And more routers, etc. So that's going to continue to get better. But that was a risk to the airlines even before COVID. Because if zoom, for example starts to build in features into its product platform that really helps a salesperson acquire customers. So doing things like hey, who's the person you're talking with? Well, zoom could find out a whole bunch of information about them and bring it to the salesperson, you can integrate it with your CRM system. So you're talking about relevant information, you have it on your fingertips when you're, you know, talking to them live. And of course, the video quality, the audio quality is just going to continue to get better and better. And you can actually do better demos. So if you're selling software, for example, you could actually do an actual demo together, you know, through zoom or, you know, meat, meat or whatever video conferencing you're using. So what's interesting about that is if you look at a product strategy, you say, okay, who's the customer? In this case? the beneficiary is a salesperson. What's the job The job in this case, of course, is acquire customers. What's the market size? Well, the market size really big. I mean, of course, you know, salespeople need to acquire customers. It's a huge market, and what are the unmet needs. And that's what's really interesting is you're now making a strategy decision based on how you're going to satisfy those needs. And an airline and airports are just one way, it's not the only way to acquire customers, the job is going to be the same. But the platform and the technology is going to change. Of course, there was a point in time when there were no airlines and people had to get on trains, or drive to acquire customers. So the platform changed even when airlines came around. So we've been saying for years, as you know, people we've worked with know that these are two different product strategies in the exact same markets. And we we always ask, should united buy a company like zoom? And the answer, of course, is yes. And they should have bought, you know, CRM systems and they should have made their platform this combination of Yes, you can get on a plane sometimes when needed. But most the time, we could use video conferencing and we're going to track your customers and we're going to help you get that job done. And that job, we looked at, you know, hundreds of times acquiring customers very, very complex job with tons of needs, of course. So, this is such a great example of why jobs need on product strategy can be so useful for teams, because you will look at your competition differently. And you won't just say, Oh, I'm United Airlines, I compete with Delta. No, no, no, you're actually also competing with zoom. And that is abundantly clear right now, all the pandemic did was just accelerate those competitive forces in a very unusual way, of course, and, you know, United could go bankrupt and zoom could become, you know, 100 billion dollar company. So it's a great way to demonstrate Yeah,Jared Ranere :
And it's, it's a really interesting thing to think about, because when you look at the video conferencing platform, zoom is not the only player In the game, right there are all their video conferencing platforms that aren't experiencing the explosive growth that zoom is that would probably be a far less expensive for united to acquire. And so then you can ask well, now they're in the the quote unquote video conferencing game. But that's not a market. As we've said before, the the market is to acquire customers and you're using video conferencing as a solution. So now united can think how can we satisfy unmet needs for salespeople in the acquire customers job very specifically with our video conferencing platform in a way that zoom doesn't because they're so general. And that's how they could create growth in the short term, as well as the long term once we're through the pandemic because they can continue delivering value to those salespeople that they always did before. So it's the same customers that they already probably have an enormous database of right their CRM is probably full of salespeople today. And they could you know, the customer acquisition cost of bringing those people onto a video conferencing platform that united owns would potentially be significantly low, because they have the contact information they can get to them. And if they speak to the unmet needs, that zoom isn't satisfying today and have a product that can satisfy those needs. Well, now they have an advantage for that particular segment and can grow in a very profitable segment.Jay Haynes :
Yeah, and what's interesting is, the job still is the same. This is why jobs-to-be-done can be very, very useful even in a pandemic. And I would say even especially in a pandemic, because what changes are the needs, and not even the needs, the needs themselves are stable, but what changes is which needs now are incredibly underserved. And a good example is you could look at other industries too, like Airbnb or restaurants and you know, before the pandemic, Airbnb, of course is the market for staying in a room while traveling or securing lodging for a trip or sleeping through the night on when you're away or etc, you know, generally the taking a vacation domain, and you can define jobs you know, in different ways but essentially the same goal a person's trying to achieve and the needs in those jobs are the same as well. So even before the pandemic, you need to determine if the location where you're going to stay safe, right that's a good example of a need that has an action and a variable you know, safety and determining the safety so you've got action variable, they're independent of any solution. And what what has changed is before safety might not have been that big of a deal you you know, you know, the neighborhood you kind of think it's safe and Airbnb is already kind of qualified, but now safety means something really different. Are you likely to get a virus in the room you're going to stay in, and that requires, you know, new solutions because that need is now unmet. In a way that it wasn't before the pandemic, and that's such an interesting way to look at these markets because companies can stand still pursue opportunities in those markets, but even if tomorrow we all had a vaccine, nothing's going back to the way it was before people are still gonna be concerned they're more aware of it, you know, that that need is likely going to be underserved. So Airbnb is going to have to if they if they can survive this, you know, with enough cash, which gets to a discussion of like margin of safety and what company should have been doing for this, but but let's say they survived, they're still gonna have to figure out are those these needs unmet in a way that they weren't satisfying before? And they're going to have to now satisfy them in a different way.Jared Ranere :
Right. And that's that's true as we begin reopening, and people start traveling again. And then the follow up question of course is will they travel at the same rate? Will they be willing will do you have as many customers and will it willingness to pay be the same in other words, Is the market size going to shrink? Or at least take a very long time to get back to where it was? And therefore should Airbnb valuation be the same if they stay in that market? And that is a difficult question to try to deal with. If your leadership at Airbnb, did our market size just shrink tremendously? And if so, what do we do about it? And this is where the level of abstraction of the job can be a really interesting product strategy move. So we talked about how you can switch product platforms to get jobs you were already in done. But you could also look at the level of abstraction. So you know, an Airbnb use case we were talking about staying in a room. And you could say, well, why do you stay in a room while you're taking a vacation? Well, why do you take a vacation? Well, maybe you're trying to get an escape from your current day to day boredom. You're trying to find some excitement, you're trying to learn something about a new culture. So then you need to ask, Well, is there anything Airbnb can do in those particular jobs with potentially some of the existing technology or assets? So can they use their product platform they're there people who own homes. The people who are providing experiences at Airbnb experience right which is a great product. I don't know if you've ever used it but this is where you when you're, you've made a reservation Airbnb says, Hey, while you're in this location, why don't you try taking an experience with one of these local experts who's giving you a food tour? They're teaching you how to cook they're I don't know why my brains on food right now, but they they try to give you some local flavor. And it really takes you out of your comfort zone and helps you experience a different culture. So if you abstract to that level, is there anything Airbnb can do with those assets while people are stuck in their homes and can't travel to at least get some growth and generate some revenue in the very short term and potentially grow that? So that level of abstraction questions really interesting. Maybe they can pick a different job and a different market and apply similar assets to it?Jay Haynes :
Yeah, and I think That could be a real benefit. Because that understanding those jobs that kind of experience job and building for that now, in during a pandemic, when we come out of this, those are still jobs that people are going to want to be enhanced. So they don't necessarily have to think of Airbnb is like, I go to someone's house and you know, rent a room. It can be a whole do different type of experience, which might actually be a bigger market. That's what's interesting, because remember, I know you've mentioned market size, the way that we define market size is the number of job beneficiaries in the market and how frequently they execute the job and that experience and that, you know, escape. You could define it a lot of different ways. But that's a that's, you know, a daily occurrence. You know, essentially Airbnb is competing with Netflix, right? So you you can take that approach and actually find bigger market opportunities that you can prepare for and pandemic if you can survive and have enough cash obviously, for like Airbnb, but, but it could be an opportunity to identify that growth. And that's what I think is really interesting. I think the same thing is gonna happen with live music. I mean, of course, right now, you know, live music has just gotten almost to zero. But when live music comes back, it's going to, you're going to have to find new ways to expand your market beyond just the venue you have that holds 100 people or 1000, or 10,000. And do people want to experience that live music? Even if they're not in the venue? Yes, of course. So are there ways now that you can connect that live performance which is unique because you know, you're in a band or you're an artist and musician, you're only performing in one place at one time until we have some really cool technology. But you could stream that all over the world and now people want to experience that because they're more used to it because they've been in this you know, pandemic lockdown mode and they still want to execute a job people that is still just like a, you know, a human connection job. And finding those opportunities as a result of pandemic is, you know, it's an interesting way to approach it. And it's really the way to approach markets at any time, because a pandemics, just an extreme change. But there's always that kind of change happening, even though the job is very stable. And what happens is the set of needs that are underserved and the way that you need to satisfy them changes because of the circumstances that are changing.Jared Ranere :
Yeah, and, you know, we don't want to overstate that this is easy in any way, right? Or that companies that were in previously great markets made some kind of bad decision because they should have seen this pandemic coming. That's that's not the message at all. In fact, I've always admired Airbnb for their ability to continue getting more of the job done or more jobs in the domain. You know, the fact that they even spun up experiences when they were in the, you know, if they were not innovative, they would have thought we're in the renter room market. Right. All we do is we help people who want to rent a room, connect them with renters, but they realized that they were in helping people take a vacation and immerse themselves in your experience. And so they added experiences, they've been very good at getting more of the job done and more jobs and more domains. And it's this is really a freak occurrence that you know, so stable jobs like that would go away. But it's a really it's just a really interesting lesson that you know, there are moves you can make, they will be difficult, and it will take work. And you do have to understand your customer really well. But there are moves you can make. You know, we talked about the job get to a destination on time, all the time as a great example of a stable job. And it is it's really hard to imagine that you we would live in a world where far fewer people need to get to destinations on time. But here we are. And Uber is experiencing that too. And so you can't really blame anybody who invested in Uber over the years for investing in an unstable market. It's a real shocker that get to a destination on time has suddenly shrunk massively and market size.Jay Haynes :
Yeah, even in a crisis like this, when things seem really bleak and really bad, there are opportunities emerging and that is I think the key to all of this is that the jobs don't change. And you know, new jobs become more important like we do need to, you know, optimize our health and prevent the spread of a virus You know, that's a job now that everybody is very aware of, and you know, masks and gloves are a solution to that. So, but but those opportunities in your existing market if you are someone like an airline or a, you know, Airbnb or restaurants, whoever those opportunities can be an a, a way for you to develop a product. roadmap and thinking about your product strategy that can lead to bigger opportunities, I think that's really important to consider is that the jobs are the same, the needs are the same, but which needs Do you need to satisfy now and which jobs can really be an opportunity, once the pandemic settles down, and we get back to something like normal, that you can take advantage of that. And I think that's crucial because it also help the society be more resilient in the future. We can't have a collapse of society that happens this extreme because no one was prepared for it. And using jobs-to-be-done can actually help across society because it won't be this just total collapse in like in a few weeks 30 million people are underemployed, right? So every transition,Jared Ranere :
It reminds me a lot of an ad that we use as an example, in our messaging training when we talk about how do you message to a job and How do you message to the unmet needs there instead of the product, and it's an ad during its that was the iPad2 launch commercial. And it shows consumers sitting around using an iPad, but they never say the word iPad, they say, we'll always want to share memories of our family. We'll always want to cook. We'll always want to root for a team. We'll always want to learn how to play an instrument. But how we do those things will never be the same. And it's a really optimistic outlook on how you're going to use the iPad to make it better. But it applies to today in a way that's a little bit dark, the way we do all those things will never be the same. But how we put the fact that we want to do them will not change. And that's where the opportunities are.Jay Haynes :
Yeah, that's great. And I highly recommended people go back and look for that iPad2 launch ad it's probably the greatest jobs-to-be-done. Focus to add, you know, that we've that we've found. Yeah, and I think that's interesting if you know, seriously like airlines and companies that are being really affected by this should look at different ways of thinking about their markets like salespeople and acquiring customers, you know, should you know united airline when it gets back on its feet if it ever does, you know, buy a CRM system. And that I think is super interesting. And in the question, you know, comes up with Salesforce, what should Salesforce do should Salesforce should absolutely have, you know, video conferencing, but an integrated system like that, when you look at the job, you know, it could tell you when you need to take a flight. It could have analysis that says, you know, look at your customers in your pipeline, and there's a whole bunch of needs around this, you know, evaluating prioritizing customer leads, etc. And, and say, hey, look, we've got some intelligence that like, you better get on a plane and go see that customer, right, cuz we've got indications, you know, whatever it is, number of calls, you know, etc using some sort of data that says we've may help you make a decision of when to get on a plane. Yeah, that is incredibly powerful because you know, every job is a goal you're trying to achieve, and every new solution that can help you get that job done faster and more accurately is that is why there is changing innovation. Right. So, yeah, the powerful way to look at new opportunities.Jared Ranere :
Yeah, and I really hope that people find them in this day and age we we need it.Jay Haynes :
Yeah, absolutely. Well, I think that's a that's a pretty heavy discussion. You know, we're in this, we're all in this together. So hopefully, jobs-to-be-done can be helpful for companies and can help them build more resiliency because, you know, no one wants to see 30 million people go on employed and just a few weeks, right. Thanks for listening to our How would You Beat Podcast. Visit us at thrv.com. That's thrv.com to get our free how to guides and try our jobs-to-be-done software for free.