“I just built a product and there’s no traction. The word doesn’t spread, people aren’t signing up.”
– Have you tried blogging, tweeting about it?
– Of course I did
– Bought ads?
– Yes and I ran out of money buying those ads.
In that exchange, we’re seeing a disappointed person struggling to find a buyer for her product.
Of course, we could stop to ask if the product was made to cater to a specific job. According to the one who put the product together: “of course”. She herself had the struggle, understood the forces of progress, understood the habits that she was competing against, and that selling this product would be about changing the buyer’s orbit, so a progress could be made in their life. She understood the product’s Job-To-Be-Done.
But the product isn’t selling. The word isn’t spreading.
The Word Isn’t Spreading
In situations like the one above, it’s easy to be discouraged and angry. Applying Jobs-To-Be-Done ideas to a product is like taking out the best tools for the job. So what went wrong?
Evidently, it’s not enough to have a good product. It matters more what you do before you create the product. Way before.
How We Got to the Product
Before building the product, the person was working as a consultant, in professional services. She had clients, offering her expertise to improve the business of her clients.
She always dreamed of making a product of her own, and had been saving up her profits to invest in the product idea that would be her best bet.
And one day, she found her idea. She applied Jobs-To-Be-Done thinking, built the product and launched it.
What she failed to realize was this: she was only applying the sharp Jobs-To-Be-Done tools to her product. She should have been applying it elsewhere first.
The Newsletter and the Professional Services
It turns out that people hire things that aren’t normally seen as products. Just like how people buy into ideas, people buy into things like a newsletter, or a twitter feed, a weekly meetup or a social cause. Behind each of those “hires”, there’s a job to be done.
The opportunity is that if this is true, that means that you can apply the same Jobs-To-Be-Done tools to preparing a solid newsletter that will answer someone’s struggles. You can apply it to find out the job for which people hire your Twitter feed or your meetup or your cause.
There was a struggle, and your newsletter was better at a job than whatever other sources they were using up until that point.
Maybe they hired your newsletter for being close to someone who thinks the same way.
Maybe they hired your twitter feed to get rattled by differing views.
Maybe they came to the meetup to find people with similar values.
Additionally, like most people with a product, she started her journey doing professional services. People hire you for very real jobs as a consultant. That’s as a good stage as any for practicing using Jobs-To-Be-Done tools to sell ideas, getting empathy for buyers, and more importantly, building a following.
Building a Following
When aspiring to build a product, it’s more important to start by building a following. And building a following is about finding people who will gladly join you on your journey, buy into your ideas, and buy into your newsletter or twitter feed or meetup, so they don’t miss a single thing you put out.
Want to build a product where the word is going to spread on launch day? Practice your product mindset on the other things that are on the periphery, like your newsletter or your professional services. Make sure you do those right, that they help your followers make progress in their lives, and you’ll get a following.
Launch day will be greeted by your biggest fans.