Jobs To Be Done: Memphis Grizzlies, Peabody Hotel, Sonic Drive-In
Each fall, my daughter Cate and I drive from Nashville to Memphis for the weekend. The focal point of the trip is to see a Memphis Grizzlies basketball game. But the basketball game itself is really only one aspect of a myriad of experiences.
Cate and I have a set of “jobs to be done” on that wonderful father-daughter weekend, and we seek out the companies that can successfully do those jobs. The concept of jobs to be done gives us a way of looking at the real reasons that people buy things or experiences. You might say that it peels away the outer layers of what it appears that the customer is buying, and gets down to the real driver of the buying decision.
So let’s look at the jobs to be done for Cate and me on our Memphis trip, and three companies that we always choose for those jobs.
Cate is a basketball player and fan, and loves to watch the game. The NBA is the height of basketball excellence and talent, and so a trip to see one of their games is a no-brainer for us. So you might think that the job to be done is to provide the best talent playing the best game. But you’d be wrong.
For us, the job to be done is to provide the most accessible game – one that we can get to easily and that has the least amount of hassle in the experience. Memphis is a three hour drive from Nashville, so it’s easy to get to and gives Cate and me just the right amount of car time together. The Memphis Grizzlies, while sometimes being very competitive, generally doesn’t give us the best game played by the best talent in the NBA (which may be why they fired their coach last week!). But that’s not the job. We want access. Easy access.
On our annual trip, Cate and I always stay at the Peabody Hotel in downtown Memphis. For some, the job to be done would be a reasonably priced hotel close to the game venue. That’s not what we’re looking for. For us, the job to be done is an over-the-top luxury hotel that is interesting (the lobby is one of the most grand in the entire country), entertaining (they have ducks in the lobby fountain), and if it costs a small fortune – that’s OK. But a very important job to be done is that our hotel be close to the game, and the Peabody is only four blocks away. So we’re back to easy access as a core requirement.
And then there’s Sonic Drive-In. It’s our tradition that we stop at a Sonic for lunch on the way to Memphis, and sometimes stop at a Sonic for lunch on our drive back to Nashville. Cate loves Sonic cheeseburgers. She orders one with nothing on it – just the burger and the cheese, with french fries and a Cherry Slushy. It’s obvious at this point that “eating healthy” most definitely isn’t one of our jobs to be done. Sonic successfully does the jobs of providing good food (Cate’s judgement and choice), consistency of product and service quality at all of their locations, and – here we are again – ease of access with a number of Sonic’s to choose from along the way.
Here’s a final example to drive the jobs to be done lesson home.
I will often take a late afternoon break out of the office to go to Starbucks and get a tall Flat White. What would you guess is my job to be done? To get a great tasting treat?
To get a dose of caffeine to get me through the rest of the day? It’s neither.
My job to be done is to break up the tedium of having sat in front of a computer all day. I need someone to keep me from getting bored. Starbucks and the Flat White do that job for me. Any number of other places or activities could do the same, but Starbucks often wins.
The point is this: think about what your customers’ jobs to be done are. Go beyond product, price, and service and think in terms of what itch the customer is really scratching.