About This Episode
Join us as scaling consultant, Zac Stucki, unveils his secrets to using Jobs to Be Done Theory in your marketing program. Zac is passionate about the jobs-to-be-done theory and how it can improve marketing effectiveness. He is an operations consultant with over 7-years of experience. He has a master’s degree in business administration from a top-tier university and has worked with businesses throughout the United States. His work has helped to scale companies from 7 to 8 figures by understanding their customer’s jobs to be done, finding and fixing their operational limitations, and reducing project timelines.
Marketing is fundamentally how you communicate your unique value proposition to your customers, and how you’re helping them make progress. So if you say one thing and deliver another, then what are you doing?
– Zac Stucki
This episode is perfect for you if you’re curious about the following:
- How to utilize the jobs to be done theory to improve the messaging to your current and potential customers.
- How to standardize processes to make marketing more efficient and effective, cut waste, reduce project timelines, and reduce customer churn.
- How to conduct compelling customer interviews and build effective customer journeys that will positively impact your marketing efforts.
Tune in for an insightful conversation with Zac Stucki!
Connect With Zac
- Visit the website
- Connect with Zac on LinkedIn
- Follow Zac on Twitter
- Find Zac on Facebook
- Subscribe to his channel on YouTube
- Business Scaling Quiz – Walks you through all the foundational stuff you need to scale your business and it will only take 10 minutes.
- Some great introductions to Jobs Theory are:
- “What is the ‘Job’ of a McDonald’s Milkshake?” – a 7:10 youtube video introduction to the concepts of Jobs Theory.
- Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen – Clay’s book introducing and elaborating on Jobs Theory.
- Demand-Side Sales 101 – A follow-up work by Bob Moesta, one of the fathers of Jobs Theory, applying the concepts directly to sales.
Check out all of the resources mentioned across our other episodes.
Other episodes you’ll enjoy:
- S2E01: Can you be more persuasive as an SEO Product Manager? Interview with Gus Pelogia
- S1E18: How To Be Persuasive In Managing A Digital Transformation Project with Tony Kopetchny
- S1E07: Using Data to Persuade, Train and Pivot your Marketing Team and Strategy with Janet Driscoll Miller
Loved this episode?
Leave us a review on your favorite podcast app. Tweet and tag us @dmvictories and @kwatier!
[00:00:00] Katherine Ong
Welcome to the Digital Marketing Victories podcast, a monthly show where we celebrate and learn from the change makers in digital marketing. Great digital marketers understand that people are the most challenging part of doing their jobs, and this show focuses on the people part of digital marketing wins and what tactics or skills the guests use to align people with their marketing strategy.
I’m your host, Katherine Watier Ong, the owner of WO Strategies LLC. We focus on increasing organic discovery for enterprise-sized, science-focused clients. Thank you for joining me. Let’s get into it and celebrate our victories.
Today we’re joined by Zac Stucki. Zac is an operations consultant with over seven years of experience. He has a master’s degree in business administration from a top-tier university and he’s worked with businesses throughout the US. His work has helped scale companies from seven to eight figures by finding and fixing their operational limitations, reducing project timelines, and improving quality. Now this show is going to be perfect for you if you’re curious about how to utilize the jobs to be done theory to improve the messaging to your current and potential customers, how to standardize processes to make management more efficient and effective, improve training, cutting waste, reducing project timelines, improving quality, and then how you can conduct compelling customer interviews and build effective customer journeys. Zac, welcome to the show.
[00:01:25] Zac Stucki
Thanks so much for having me, Katherine. It’s a pleasure to be here.
[00:01:28] Katherine Ong
It’s great to have you on, so can you tell me a little bit more, or tell the guests a little bit more, about yourself, your background, and how you got into this work that you’re doing now? That’s ancillary to digital marketing.
[00:01:42] Zac Stucki
Yeah. So I got hired on by a seven-figure business that was stalled out. They were just having a lot of problems with customer turnover, employee turnover, cash flow, profitability, you name it and so they hired me to come on and we wanted to figure out what was really stalling this business out. So what we did was we started just researching everywhere that we could and we came across this jobs theory and we said that’s it, that’s our ticket. So jobs theory, pretty simply, is just your customer doesn’t hire your product or service or, excuse me, your customer doesn’t buy your product or service. They hire it to help them make progress in their life. So we set out very quickly to figure out what progress our customer is hiring us to make. And we actually discovered that we had a customer and a user and they both had very different jobs. So we designed the operations around the user and the marketing around the customer and we started hitting 40% year-over-year growth rates for like three years. It was nuts.
[00:02:55] Katherine Ong
Wow, it was nuts.
[00:02:55] Zac Stucki
And so I said, huh, there’s something to this jobs theory thing, and so I started doing a deep dive and I’ve just kind of dedicated my life to it ever since.
[00:03:08] Katherine Ong
So, based on your experience, thanks for the excellent jobs to be done there, so I wanted to make sure we were covering that on the show. But how can organizations identify those jobs that their customers are trying to get done, either their target audience or their users? How do you get into that?
[00:03:27] Zac Stucki
So there’s a process that they’ve got to go through. The first step is getting clear on who they want to talk to. So you know, when I coach my clients, what I do is I start out by doing a client profitability analysis where we determine who are your most profitable clients because I don’t want you wasting your time talking to clients that you can’t serve profitably. So once you know who that is, then you have to get very clear on the fact that we’re getting out of the office. We don’t know why our customer is hiring us. We have some good guesses and some hypotheses that we probably should test, but we don’t actually know. So you got to get out of the office.
Once you get out of the office, you have to actually talk to these people, and these conversations can’t be prescripted, because your customer can sense that from a mile away and they will shut down. You have to have these open-ended conversations where you’re saying you know, one day you had you have this problem, and one day you had a really difficult time solving this problem and you decided that something had to change. So tell me about that day. This isn’t the day that you decided to hire me. That comes later. I just want to know when was the pain from this problem so severe that you decided that you needed to change. And you just start having a conversation there. The other alternative that some jobs theory practitioners talk about is working backward in the timeline. So you say you know you hired us, but before that what happened, and before that what happened, and you just kind of work back on this timeline until you can get to a place where it’s causal. Generally, you can go about five, five Y’s deep to identify causal relationships there.
[00:05:21] Katherine Ong
Would it be okay during that process to ask if they went to Google search to research what keywords they used to kind of get? Double value out of this customer interview.
[00:05:32] Zac Stucki
Yeah, absolutely, you should, Absolutely.
So here’s the thing.
This is the value of jobs theory Is the jobs theory is all about getting into the mind of your customer to understand what actually caused the purpose of the purchase decision Pardon me the purchase decision.
So the whole point here is that you’re asking if you know, “What did you search for as you were trying to solve this problem?” You know what I regularly ask, so you know, before you were working with me, before you were working with my competition because I’ll talk with people who hired my competition instead you know, before you were working with my competition, what are some alternatives that you were weighing, what were some other things that you hired to try and solve this problem that just didn’t get the job done and why. And you can start to understand what were they weighing, what were the tradeoffs, what were the alternatives that they were looking at, and you can build this picture of a decision that they were trying to make and it helps you design your strategy and your operations around that so that you can solve that problem better than anyone else on the market and do it more profitably.
[00:06:39] Katherine Ong
Does this work better for particular industries or B2B over B2C, or can you kind of use the stereo across the board?[00:05:21]
[00:06:48] Zac Stucki
So you know, I think that a lot of people get very anxious when you say this is a universal theory, but this is one that actually is a universal theory because it’s kind of rooted in biology as well as, like sociology and a million different things. But you know, at the end of the book that introduces Jobs Theory, the author, Clayton Christiansen, says you can apply Jobs Theory to religion, you can apply it to politics. He asks one of the most brilliant questions I think anyone has asked as it regards politics. He says are we hiring our leaders to lead us or to give voice to our fears? You know, so you can apply this politically, religiously, b2b, b2c, sas, medical, it doesn’t matter, because everybody our lives, fundamentally, are made up of.
We have these problems that we’re trying to solve. We have this progress that we’re trying to make and it doesn’t matter if it’s with my computer screen, with my lunch at home, parenting my kids, or being a good leader to my team. There are jobs there that need to be solved and any business can apply this framework and solve it. Now I’ve found specifically personally in my own experience that there are certain types of businesses that have more need of this because it doesn’t intuitively fit, and that generally is marketing agencies like Basically marketing, accounting law services, financial services, all of these sort of businesses that are like oriented around an expert, Because the expert they say, well, they’re just buying me. Well, they’re not actually buying you, they’re buying something that you do for them, and so the expert will build a business that relies on them and it’s unscalable.
[00:08:51] Katherine Ong
Interesting. So, based on your experience seeing organizations sort of working through this process, are there common mistakes that they have when they start implementing or aligning with this “jobs to be done” theory/process?
[00:09:05] Zac Stucki
Absolutely, absolutely. You know. The first one is targeting the wrong customer. You know, if you target the wrong customer and you target an unprofitable client and you start understanding the job that they’re hiring you to do before you are profitable or you know before you’re ready, generally what you’ll do is you’ll reorient your business around an unprofitable service and you’ll build an unprofitable business right from the beginning. So that’s, that’s one major problem I see.
Another major problem that I see is hubris, I guess, where it’s like these business owners they think, they think that they know the job that the customer is hiring them to do, or these CEOs or these managers, but they don’t. They don’t. They’re not God’s gift to business, they don’t know everything. So you know, humble yourself, get out of the office, start talking to your customers, because you’re going to get humbled real quick and so innovating in a vacuum is very expensive, and then you know.
A third problem that I really commonly see is basically siloing that knowledge. So it’s like you do that research, you are a marketing agency, a digital marketing agency, you do this research. Then it just is siloed in or the part of the organization that did the research. It’s not trained throughout the organization, it’s not spread around so it can’t lift everybody in the organization. It causes a lot of problems if you do it that way, because then you have this fighting that goes on because operations think you need to do it this way because of the rules of operations and finance says you got to do it this way because of the rules of finance. You have to take a look at it from a holistic perspective and make sure that everyone in the company is on board, understands the job your customer is hiring you to do, and is speaking that language.
[00:11:11] Katherine Ong
Does that mean when you implement jobs to be done theory, you actually pivot the process of multiple departments across the board? So it’s not just marketing and sales, but you might actually be working on operations and pivoting what they’re doing, based on what you’ve learned about the job that needs to be done.
[00:11:26] Zac Stucki
Absolutely, absolutely. I’ll give you an example. So there is an Irish SAS company that does customer service like chat support stuff, intercom I don’t know if you’ve heard of them, they’re. They’re. They’re like 10 and a half billion market cap, maybe more. Now they started implementing jobs theory when they were about 5 million market cap and what they did is they started doing their research and they had a high amount of churn, customer churn, and it was just, it was going to sink the company. So they say we’re going to use jobs three, we’re going to figure this out. Once they understood the customer had four jobs, they were going to orient around those four jobs. Once they understood what those four jobs were, then they started changing their onboarding processes. They started changing their messaging, so their marketing. They started changing their training and they started changing the actual product so that they had four products that aligned with these jobs. They had, you know, training that said, if this is the job that you’re hiring us to do, if this is the result you want to get, then follow this course. That is the other course, based on the results that you want. So it really impacts your whole business for the better, for the better.
You know, just very briefly, a lot of people like to silo their organization and they say, well, marketing has nothing to do with operations. And I get a lot of marketers who hate it when I say this, but I’m going to say it anyway. Marketing is fundamentally how you communicate your unique value proposition to your customers, and how you’re helping them make progress. If you say one thing well, okay, let me add this so operations is how you deliver that unique value proposition. So if you say one thing and you deliver another thing, then what are you doing? You’re communicating that all of that marketing was a lie. You’re communicating something in your operations. So there’s overlap in your organization, and you have to make sure that it’s a holistic application of jobs theory, not siloed.
[00:13:38] Katherine Ong
That makes a ton of sense. So, talking about implementing some of this and coming back to marketing, how have organizations used the jobs to be done, research that you’ve gotten to change their marketing efforts, and now if there are any best practices around taking that data and integrating into what you’re doing in marketing.
[00:13:54] Zac Stucki
Oh yeah, absolutely so. Intercom is a great example of this. Once they understood the job that the customers were hiring them to do, they changed their marketing messaging and within 10 years, they hit unicorn status, which is it’s nuts. That’s a meteoric rise.
[00:14:13] Katherine Ong
So sounds like to me you’ve got this data about messaging. I heard that, but it also seems like what you would do is ditch your personas, update them, start using customer segments, and then do any of this information. It sounds like it would give you information about your customer journey, so you might be creating one or updating that as well for the marketing end.
[00:14:36] Zac Stucki
It’s absolutely updating the marketing journey, the customer journey, absolutely jobs theory. We look at the customer journey through six segments. The first one is the first thought. So Clayton Christiansen says that a question is an answer, there is a hole in the brain for an answer to slot in. If you don’t have that whole, then you’re not going to be looking. So you’ve got to create that first thought. Jobs theory allows you to understand because if you’re doing your interviewing right, you’re asking this question what caused that first thought in the first place? I’ll give you an example Very briefly. For some of the people that I interviewed, the thing that caused their first thought was oriented around their vacation. One woman was on a cruise, and she was still working part-time while she was on this extended cruise with her family she was at the very, very front of the cruise ship because that’s where the Wi-Fi reception was best, and she was still doing this digital marketing work for her clients. And this couple walks up, or up to her, this old couple, and they say you know, you work a lot and she just sits there and it hits her like a ton of bricks I absolutely do work a lot.
The next part is this passive-looking phase where people are just kind of looking. They’re not actively dedicating time, money, or emotive energy to solving this problem. They’re kind of looking around seeing what other people are doing, they’re weighing their options, and they’re looking at how effective their current solution is versus other solutions out there. So step three is this active looking, where they’re dedicating time, money, and emotive energy. They are actively weighing options. You know, and you need to know, what those options are, because those options are who your competition really is. And the next step is the deciding phase, where they’re actually making a decision and they’re looking at trade-offs. So you’ve got these different people. They’ve made a decision on who in that active looking, who they’re actually going to sort it down to probably three to five options at the most. And you’re making these trade-offs and you need to know what those trade-offs are, because that’s how they’re determining what the value is.
After that, you’ve got the first use. This is where rubber meets the road and when they’re actually starting to use your product or service. And then, after that, you’ve got ongoing use, which is every time that job comes up in their life. Do they look to you or do they look to another option? Do you constantly have to re-win this customer because they’re not so certain that you’re helping them make progress? So that’s the customer timeline.
And then in terms of personas, I don’t look at things in terms of personas per se. I don’t think personas are non-compatible. Which jobs theory? It’s just that the persona shifts. Because the persona doesn’t look as much at demographics or correlations, because correlation isn’t causation. The correlation is more like it’s hot outside, people eat more ice cream and murders happen. When it’s hot outside, correlation would say, okay, there’s a relationship between ice cream consumption going up and murders going up. We don’t want people believing that ice cream causes murder, especially because I love grasshopper ice cream. But the other part of this is that causation is the underlying thing that actually creates the circumstances that lead to a change. So we wanna understand that causation. So persona is not necessarily demographics, although demographics can cause a job, right, menopausal women have certain jobs that are pretty universal, based on the circumstances of their body or their life. But by and large, we’re looking at the progress because just because a certain demographic has that progress does not mean that another demographic will not have that same job to be done.
[00:18:47] Katherine Ong
Hmm, okay, yeah, now this is very interesting. I’m thinking through some of the personas that I’ve worked with that I thought were sort of off base for bigger brands and it clearly would make more sense to orient toward the jobs to be done.
[00:19:01] Zac Stucki
Oh yeah, oh yeah, if I may just really really briefly, the whole thing that got this started was Clay Christensen talked with Tony Olwick. Tony Olwick kind of put a bug in his ear and then Clay Christensen got hired by McDonald’s to do a research project and he found that most people were buying milkshakes at two different times in the day. The first time was 6 am to 9 am and the second time was 6 pm to 9 pm and he said this is really confusing. Why are they selling so many danged milkshakes at six in the morning? And so he and his team, they actually went out and they confronted people as they were walking out of McDonald’s at 6 am.
[00:19:48] Katherine Ong
Tell them you’re weird, but it looks like yeah.
[00:19:50] Zac Stucki
Yeah, no, exactly. It was like I’m really confused here. Why are? What is the job that you were hiring this milkshake to do and the early morning crowd? It was basically. I have a long commute, about 20 minutes. I need something that’s gonna just stay in my stomach until about 11 a.m. I only need to use one hand to drive, so I want something to keep this other hand occupied, and that’s it.
The competition on that was stuff like bagels, bananas, snickers, bars, and donuts, and they all had their trade-offs right that were involved with these different competitors. Now in the evening, it was different because it was a dad or a mom that had been saying no to their kid all day and just wanted a way that they could say yes and feel like a good parent and adding a milkshake to a Big Mac meal that worked great. And so these two different jobs lead to two different personas that are hiring the same product to get two completely different jobs done. Now McDonald’s can then say, huh, how could we innovate what we do in the morning to better serve that job and how can we innovate what we do at night to better serve that job and design around that?
[00:21:17] Katherine Ong
Yeah, yeah, that totally makes sense. All right. So we talked a lot about this customer interview part, so I’m very curious because I think you’d have a lot of tips. So what kind of tips do you have around finding the pain points, the motivations, the struggles I know you’ve got a formatted customer journey Does it ever deviate, Is it ever different, or is it always those, whatever? That was about six steps that you have in mind there, so kind of two questions.
One was like this: how do tips for interviews? And the second part was, are the journeys always the same six steps.
[00:21:50] Zac Stucki
Yeah, so I’ll go with the first, with the second question first. So the thing that’s important about this is that the customer journey is always gonna go through those six steps. The length of time that a customer is going to stay in those six steps varies, depending on a lot. So there are, when you look at the jobs part I should have explained this sooner, but part of the important thing about jobs is that jobs aren’t just the functional aspect of the job, so there are actually social and emotional motivators or energies as well. So it’s like you buy a toaster because you want toasted bread. That’s largely a functionally driven purchase, but they’re also social and emotional.
So the social is you buy a Bugatti Veyron or whatever the new versions are. It’s like a $5 million supercar. And I know a guy who does marketing research for Bugatti, and he told me something interesting. He said people don’t buy Bugatti’s because they’re regularly taking them over 250 miles an hour. People buy Bugatti because they want to connect with their family and share a passion for racing culture, which is really fascinating. It was this social thing where I wanna feel connected to my family, or I wanted other people to look at me and see how cool I am that I can afford this supercar.
[00:23:27] Katherine Ong
So something I would have guessed at.
[00:23:30] Zac Stucki
[00:23:31] Katherine Ong
Yeah, that was my rocket science.
[00:23:34] Zac Stucki
Yeah. So the next one is emotional, so it’s largely an emotionally driven decision. So, understanding these jobs right, the length of time that people are spending in these different segments of the timeline, the customer journey, is dependent on how weighty those different things are, because you’re not spending a lot of time buying a toaster. You are spending a lot of time weighing whether or not you’re gonna buy a Lambo, a Ferrari, or a Bugatti.
[00:24:07] Katherine Ong
One part of the journey I did here that would be like an normal no, not normal. The customer journey that’s all over marketing is that there’s this influencer piece at the end. Like you’ve bought the thing, you love the thing, you become a brand advocate and I was thinking with my work with the National Cancer Institute it seemed similar but like you advocate on behalf of the resources nationally, like you become a free marketing person right, that kind of raving user.
[00:24:34] Zac Stucki
Yeah, raving fan.
[00:24:35] Katherine Ong
Right, raving fan. So how does that work into this? Jobs to be done? Is that a separate thing? Is that just part of the reuse? Do you think about that at all?
[00:24:42] Zac Stucki
Yeah, that’s the ongoing use, and we do think about this because if you are consistently hiring that product or service to do that job, you’re gonna tell other people when that job comes up. It’s a natural part of that phase. So thank you for bringing that up because that is an important aspect of it. If you don’t do a good job with that first use, then they’re largely gonna turn over. I was talking with someone today, actually, who has a big turnover problem where they really don’t last. 40% of their customers don’t last through that first use, which is massive. Yeah, that’s a lot of sales effort yeah For new people in.
Oh yeah, so that’s where that is. Now, one thing that the reason I bring this up is because one thing that gets really tricky transitioning into that first question of what are some tips and tricks as you’re identifying this customer timeline, one of the things that I fell into the trap of was thinking that the thing was the first thought that they say was the first thought was the first thought. It’s not the first thought. They’ve been thinking about it for a while and when they bring up what that first thought is, most of pardon me, most of the time, what they’re bringing up is this event, this catalyzing event that took them from passive-looking into active looking, and so that’s something to be very, very aware of because it can be really tricky to understand what are the options that they’re weighing in their mind. If you’re thinking that they’re in the passive-looking phase when they’re actually in the active-looking phase.
For the actual interviews. A couple of things that I specifically look for are body language cues, vocal cues like tone, tonality, the language that they’re using, the energy that they’re saying things with Like I love Indiana Jones, but I hate this woke stuff, right, there’s energy there that you can work with and understand. Or man, I love motorcycles. Those are really cool, but let me tell you why I chose a Honda over a Harley. There’s less energy there, so you can kind of weigh. Okay, this isn’t as hefty an issue for them as this other stuff. Another thing that I like to do is look for contrast, so you know when they say something like it was I needed a computer and I needed the computer to run really, really fast, okay, well, what does that mean? I need you to quantify that because if I’m going to change my operations in my business, I need to have that quantification there. I need to be able to measure that. Another one is being sure that you get clarity when they’re using additional terms or jargony terms. I was in an interview with someone and it was a firm that did some market research when we were starting out, you know people use words like customer, client, and user interchangeably, but in this instance, those had very specific meanings and so I had to stop the interview and say, okay, I just want to be sure that I understand. Client means this, customer means that and user means this. So is that true? Oh, yeah, that’s true. Okay, now we can have a uniform state through which we can interact and interpret what the other person is saying because when I’m saying customer, I’m meaning something totally different than what they’re saying in the meeting. So you know, making sure that you have that clarity is really important, and then you know.
Another thing that I’m looking at is just like, over the course of that interview, I play dumb a lot. I play dumb a lot because I can often get more out of them in terms of, like, what’s causing this stuff? When I say what do you mean by that? I don’t really understand that. I’m confused. Can you help me understand that more? So playing dumb is a really, really good thing.
One thing that I’d love to try haven’t been able to try yet, but Bob Mesta swears by, and he’s another big jobs implementer is good cop, bad cop If you can have two people in the interview and kind of play this good cop, bad cop. He has a whole methodology to it that you can check out in a book called Demand Side Sales 101. It basically allows you to get more out of it and have someone who’s who’s positioning as a friend. And then one last tip that I have I had to learn it the hard way, so please learn. Please learn from my mistake my mistakes. Before you start digging, take three to five minutes that’s all it takes and just explain the purpose of the interview.
So you know I’m doing this interview. I’m just trying to understand this story and explain it like you were making a documentary film. So it’s like I’m trying to understand this story. You know you, you made a decision to hire this person and I just want to understand your journey. Help me understand your journey. To give you context.
What I’m trying to do is I’m going to be asking you some questions that are probably going to feel a little uncomfortable. You’re welcome to say I’m not comfortable answering that, but you know, just, the more data that we have, the better, the more helpful it is. But I’m trying to implement this thing called jobs theory, and this is what jobs theory is. So its customers don’t buy products, they hire them to make progress, and progress has social, functional, and emotional aspects, and I’m just trying to understand what that is over the course of your personal journey. So you know, and then you can start into it. But by giving them that grounding, what it does is it gives them the confidence to know that they can do a good job and helps them contextualize what you’re looking for so that they can actually be more helpful.
Before, when I was doing these interviews and I was just kind of jumping in and trying to be a little bit more secretive about it, what I found is that the interviewee, the person being interviewed, was trying to help, but they didn’t understand the context of these questions that I was asking, and so some of these questions became very repetitive because they would give me an answer and it wasn’t quite what I needed. So I’d come back and ask it just like five degrees different, and so it could be kind of frustrating for them, and you know I would. I would often find myself stopping in the middle of the interview and saying just so you know, this is why I’m asking these questions, and then, like a switch, all of a sudden the interview went a lot smoother.
[00:32:01] Katherine Ong
Interesting. So, there are a few logistics around these interviews. You do not script what you’re asking, necessarily, but it sounds like you do them face-to-face or via video, and do you? I’m assuming you don’t take notes, but you do record?
[00:32:16] Zac Stucki
So I actually do take notes, and I do them face to face or via Zoom, and I let them know I’m going to be taking notes on what you’re telling me. I also tell them that what they’re sharing with me is, you know, deeply confidential unless they’re willing to share. And we’ll reach back out to them if we need to get permission to share. But that confidentiality can often bring out a lot of insight that they wouldn’t have shared otherwise. And yeah, you can do it over Zoom, you can do it over face to face, and I do record these calls, and they’re aware that I’m recording the calls. I let them know.
But the purpose is that I often will go back and look at these and contextualize them in all of the framework. After the fact, when I’m having that interview, I’m not so worried about necessarily answering all the all of the being able to, in that instant, put everything in the boxes. It’s more about understanding that journey and walking that customer through that journey again, and then, if I have follow-up questions, I’ll send them an email or schedule a follow-up appointment. But most of the time a good rule of thumb is to expect that these calls are going to take at least an hour, Because you you cannot in 30 minutes get the level of depth that you need. Otherwise, I’ve tried, it doesn’t work.
[00:33:43] Katherine Ong
And these are. These are. It’s not group, it’s 1 on 1. Confidentiality is with you as an outside consultant versus the organization?
[00:33:55] Zac Stucki
Right. So the confidentiality is like if you’re doing a B2B interview, right, so you’re interviewing someone who’s in a partnership. So, I’ll give you an example, I’m a B2B business, so I often interview companies that have partnerships. Now, if I’m interviewing one partner and they’re saying things that frustrate them about another partner, it can severely damage the partnership if that gets out. But obviously, there was a job that involved that partnership that they needed to be able to bring up and feel confident that whatever solution could help solve that problem. But if that confidentiality isn’t in place, then it damages that.
[00:34:37] Katherine Ong
Yeah, that makes sense.
[00:34:39] Zac Stucki
I just want to go back real quick to this idea of scripting as well because this is another really important thing. A lot of marketing researchers out there. They will script these calls, and they’ll say I have ten questions that I want to ask you and then they’ll ask these ten questions. The problem with that is that it assumes that in 10 questions, you’re going to be able to get the level of detail that you need to understand something as extremely complicated as a causal relationship, and we don’t, with jobs theory, we don’t even do one interview and say that’s the cause. We’re looking at doing as many interviews as we can. You know, depending on the size of the company, depending on what you’re doing for them and for their customers, what they do for their customers, you’re looking at hundreds of interviews. So it really is important not to fall into that trap, and it’s one of the things that just drives me crazy about market research.
Let me give you an example. So former clients of mine have been these business coaches, and they would hire these market researchers to go out, and they’re delightful people, very insightful, but they would do this market research and say help me understand why I’m not churning why I’m not re-signing them. And so they would do these interviews. They would have these ten questions, and they would say, you know, I’m going to ask you these ten questions and then just answer to the best of your ability, and they wouldn’t really do a lot of digging. The ten questions would invariably produce three answers that were, you know, help me be more accountable, I needed more structure, and I needed better community or something to that effect.
So they would ask these three questions, or ask these ten questions, get these three answers, but they would never follow up with those questions, with those answers, to understand what those answers actually meant to that customer. So then the business would say great, I know that my customers want greater structure, greater accountability, greater communication. What does that mean? I don’t know, so I have to guess and put it in place. So you’re still wasting time, money, and energy trying to implement based on that, instead of just going in unscripted without any sort of which way you want to lead this interview and just being open to where the customer will take you. There are a lot of costs involved in the first option versus the second, so that’s why I wanted to touch on that difference and why it’s so important not to go in with scripting.
[00:37:14] Katherine Ong
Let’s go back to that: the logistics around people. So I think we talked prior to this call that you offer up payment to the folks who are willing to talk to you from your client’s organization, the users, but then you know if it’s a UX-type research project. The general rule of thumb is that 10 folks is enough, and I think I just heard you say hundreds. So what’s the bare minimum? I’m thinking about clients and asking about their budget.
[00:37:43] Zac Stucki
[00:37:44] Katherine Ong
What’s the bare minimum of people you think you need to talk to? I’m sure it depends on how big the organization is, because I worked with some organizations that cover 1000 different topics, so obviously different job sprawl topics, you know, honestly. But if it’s a relatively small business, maybe they have two service areas. We’ll just take that as an example. Yeah, how many folks would you need to talk to?
[00:38:04] Zac Stucki
Great question. So what you’re exposing here is there is a deeply divided debate and statistics which here like what who would have thought? Statistics is divided between Bayesian statistic statisticians, and I think it’s Haley, and there’s another guy, and this base wrote this thing called the central limit theorem, and it’s basically based on the size of your market. If you can have 30 data points, you can get what’s called a normal distribution, which is a bell curve. That you can, because of mathematical wizardry, guarantee that about 90% of the population will fit in that bell curve. And another group says no, that’s that’s. While it may be mathematically accurate, it is not. It is not factually correct based on what the real world looks like. So the thing that I say is err on the side of getting more interviews, not less. And you know, if you can only get 10 interviews, get 10 interviews. If that’s what your budget can afford, and get 200, get 200, because the more data you have, the more you will increase your ability to find and track these patterns that go on in these customer experiences that lead them down to hiring your product or service.
Now you touched on saying that I do compensate these individuals when they interview. My rule of thumb is if I can get them in an interview for free, I’m doing it for free. If I have to compensate people to get them into the interview, then I’ll compensate them, and it’s generally compensation is related to who the user is and how much they value your value, their time. So if I’m a B2B and I want to speak directly to the CEO, I’m probably going to pay him $300 for that hour. If I am doing B2C and I want to talk to a mom of young kids, I’m probably gonna say I’ll give you a $20 Amazon gift card. Some guys even get by by saying I will enter you for the chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card. So like, the more that you can do it to stay free or low cost, the better.
[00:40:40] Katherine Ong
Yeah, that makes sense. All right, so you’ve got to give us all these tips around gathering information about your customers. You’ve got new information about segments, personas, who you’re gonna target, what the message might be. Also, information needs to be integrated through the rest of the organization, and once we know, a lot of organizations are siloed. So, how do you engage these teams in this sort of cross-functional way to make sure that this all flows through the organization? And if they’re not cross-functional at all, do you have any tips on how to make that successful?
[00:41:13] Zac Stucki
Yeah. So Job Series is actually a really, really great tool to use to make things cross-functional because what I experience is that when businesses understand the actual progress that their customer is hiring them to do and you orient around, that you’re able to tell your team. This is the measuring stick by which all your decisions should be looked at. Are you helping the customer make progress, or are you making it more difficult for the customer to make progress? Finance: what is your billing methodology? The way that you get money from customers, does it make it easier or more difficult for them to make progress? Operations: are you delivering on that progress? Jeez, admin, customer service, are you helping, or are you hurting? And it gives everybody sort of this Rosetta Stone that allows them to communicate in a really valuable way. So it helps break down these silos just by training the organization.
So, there are a lot of different ways that you can implement it. It depends on your organization, and it depends on how you want to do it. You could do have a representative from each member of the team, each member, one member of each department, be involved in the research, right, so you could do it that way. You could do it that once the research is done, you have one team that does it. Once that research is done, it’s their responsibility to go out to every department and train them on their findings. You can do that. It’s like each department is independently doing their research to understand this. So they’re all doing this research.
One thing that Intercom does that I think is actually really effective for them is that they require that employees engage in four, I think it’s four job research interviews every. It’s either every quarter or every year, so it’s either once a quarter four per year, or four per quarter, and I can’t remember which. But basically, it requires that they stay on top of the methodology and that they’re talking to their customers so that they’re understanding the job and keeping that front and center in their mind. So there’s a lot of ways that you can do it. The key thing is that you just get started. They can also hire me, and I can help them do it.
[00:43:45] Katherine Ong
Right. Well, it sounds like there’s a lot of you’re restructuring internal KPIs, and there’s a bit of organizational change that you might have to help with as well, right?
[00:43:58] Zac Stucki
Yeah, and that is just the nature of the beast, because a lot of times when we build these organizations, we build them with internal focus. So this is the supply. It’s got these features and these benefits. Do you want some? But customers don’t buy that way. They don’t think that way.
When you were buying your house, you weren’t thinking about necessarily all of the features and benefits per se. You were thinking about does it have this and that and the other. And when I walk in, am I gonna be able to feel like I’m at home? Do I like the neighborhood? There was a lot more than just it’s got a gas stove, and it’s got a 500-gallon gas tank out back. Like you weren’t thinking about that. You were thinking maybe, “Does it have a gas stove?”, but you weren’t necessarily thinking about the specifications, the product specifications of the refrigerator, or does it have a jetted tub with exactly six jets? So you were thinking about all of these other different progresses that you were trying to make. So that’s where I come back to. Is that making this shift from an internally focused organization into an externally focused organization that is focused on the customer? Progress does take time. It does take deliberately managing the change, but when done properly, it’s extremely effective and creates massive growth for organizations.
[00:45:38] Katherine Ong
But two sort of last questions like one, what do you do if there’s a lot of resistance? Because I can envision this as a bit like digital marketing, you show up with something disruptive. And two, how do you make sure that they sustain this? I mean, I guess you sort of answer that because some of these organizations have a regular keep meeting with your customer process but I’m just kind of curious if there are any other best practices for making sure this is not a one-and-done, but this is like an evergreen thing.
[00:46:08] Zac Stucki
Yeah, great question. So you know you will likely find resistance to the ideas of the progress that your customer is trying to make, and what you’ll find is that the people who are hiding in your organization aren’t really gonna be able to hide as well anymore because jobs theory requires active implementation. It’s not very passive, and what I mean by that is that, when done properly, all members of the team have to be clear on what that progress is, and they have to be actively working toward that progress. If you’re not, then you’re out.
The second way that I will say conflict comes into an organization during this implementation is that they get a lot of people who disagree about what the job is, not necessarily about the need to orient around the customer because capitalism is all around serving the customer. So they agree yes we need to serve the customer. They may not agree on what that is. So when that happens, there’s something called the four phases of team development that you can guide your team through. That will really help with that. When you pair that with edge method leadership edge, like the edge of a cliff, edge method leadership it can be very effective change management. And then, what was the second part of that question?
[00:47:35] Katherine Ong
We can make sure that they keep this up.
Okay. So intercom, as you mentioned, does a really good job of requiring people to do regular research interviews, which I think is a really good one. Another one is that this is what I urge my clients to do, and actually, they’ll pay me to help them implement it is turning innovation in the organization over to your team. So, what I mean by that is that Clayton Christensen talks about three types of innovation. The first one is disruptive innovation, which is how you build new markets by serving underserved target audiences. It’s really difficult to do, and when done properly, it can be a game changer. Most businesses do not have the core competencies. They don’t have the resources to do that. Number two is sustaining innovation. Sustaining innovation is all about growing your market share by doing what you do for your customers better than anyone else. That is something that the people on the front line are way more intimate with than the people in the C-suite. So, the people on the front line are the people who should be leading innovation, which means that they need to be keyed into that job to be done. So it means that they need to have regular refresher courses, regular conversations with the rest of the team, test these ideas out, implement Kaizen methodology to find these solutions to problems and really test them and implement them. And then the last part of this is consistency.
In an organization. It starts at the top and works its way down. If the C-suite isn’t on board with this, isn’t consistently driving this, and isn’t showing through their actions that they are on board with this and that they are adopting things and doing the same things that they expect the rest of the team to do, then it’s not gonna last, it’s not gonna get implemented. And that, I think, is where a lot of people miss because they’ll say, hey, here’s this new product, excuse me, here’s this new methodology, this new project that we wanna implement. Because people at the top are generally, if it’s an owner-operated business, they’re generally idea guys, they get carried away with ideas. So they say this is the new thing, this is the shiny new toy.
It’s important that the leader, right, the owner that’s operating this business, that they have that space to do that. But with jobs theory, you cannot abandon it for another shiny new toy. And so it’s very important that the other members of the team hold them accountable, that they are all doing these interviews just like they’re expecting everybody else to do that. They’re all taking time on the front lines. This is actually one of the ways that Walmart is really exemplary It doesn’t matter what job they do at corporate in Bentonville. They are still spending time on the store floor in the vest doing the work for the average person who’s coming in so that they can get that time on the ground talking and interacting with the customer as well, to keep the customer front and center in their mind.
[00:50:57] Katherine Ong
Yeah, so that’s what I was thinking: that this is very disruptive, and if you don’t have seen your buy-in, because you’re basically changing organizational culture. So it could be very powerful, but only if you have C-suite buy-in to do that much disruption. Because it doesn’t sound like it’s a minor thing, it sounds like it’s kind of a major disruption.
[00:51:14] Zac Stucki
So, Well, yeah, you’re absolutely right. It’s not a minor thing, but I mean, it could be the difference between staying at seven figures or growing to nine.
[00:51:28] Katherine Ong
Right, yeah, no, it’s powerful, but still a big change. Yeah, so I’ve got sort of three final questions. Thank you for being on the show, by the way. So the last three, and you’ve shared a lot of resources, but if there are any other resources that you have and if you have any sort of aha moments that you’ve had recently with your customer interviews, where some target audience had a completely different behavior than you had expected.
[00:51:55] Zac Stucki
Okay, yeah, so resources, Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen is the book that introduces the concept of how you will measure your life, but competing against luck is really where he dives in and fleshes it out. So that’s where I recommend people start. Demand Side Sales 101 is by Bob Mesta, who helped implement this with Clay, he takes it, and he says how do we apply the jobs to be done theory, in a marketing and sales context. So that’s another good place to start. I kind of recommend Competing Against Luck and then into Demand Side Sales.
And then Clay did a really great talk before he passed away in 2020, called When Does Growth Come From, and he delivered that at Google, and I think it was in 2017 that he delivered that. But just type in “where does growth come from” , and it pops right up. He outlines this theory of disruptive innovation, which is the three types of innovation that I talk about. He also talks about jobs theory, and then he applies it to businesses and says this is what it means: Highly, highly. Oh, it’s a dense, dense lecture, but incredibly beneficial and valuable. Okay, so that’s question one. What was question two?
[00:53:25] Katherine Ong
Have you had any aha moments about your client’s target audience or your target audience, something that surprised you once you started learning more about them?
[00:53:33] Zac Stucki
So I was talking with a guy a couple of weeks ago, and one of the things that I had been operating under the assumption was that people were hiring me to help them get free of their business, and that was only a part of it.
But the thing that really hit me was just how much these business owners that are in this position where they’re at seven figures and they want to continue to grow, just how much confidence was really at play and how heavily that weighed in, as well as how heavily having, in that size of business, a personal relationship with their consultant mattered. I think I talked with three people in a row who all said, yeah, I hired a coach, and the reason why I hired them was because we were friends. They were a friend of mine before, and I just hired them. It was funny because they always said it didn’t work out. It didn’t work out, but I hired them, and so did that personal relationship. It was always really interesting to me to see just how deeply that was involved because one guy even said I don’t know that I would have gone out looking for a coach or consultant if I didn’t have one of them already in my personal network.
[00:55:08] Katherine Ong
That’s interesting. Yeah, yeah, a lot of trust there really. So how can people learn more about you?
[00:55:16] Zac Stucki
They can go to businesslegendconsultingcom, or they can email me at Zach at homerricconsultingcom, homeric is spelled like Homer Simpson with an IC at the end. Or they can go to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn. I’m on all of them, Homeric Consulting. Or search Zach or Zachary Stucki, and I’ll come up.
[00:55:42] Katherine Ong
Great, this has been fabulous. Thank you very much. Lots of great tips. Yeah, I now know a ton about job theory. It’s awesome.
[00:55:50] Zac Stucki
My pleasure. Can I add just one tiny bug in here real quick? Totally so. I have just put out a new quiz that helps business owners determine how able they determine the scalability of their business. It’s ten yes or no questions, very simple. But if they go to homerconsulting.com/scaling_quiz, and I’ll make sure that it’s on the homepage, so it should be easy for them to find just in the top search bar. It’s ten questions, super easy. It will help them determine how able they really are in their present state to scale or if they’ve got work to do.
[00:56:39] Katherine Ong
Great, that’s an awesome resource. I’ll make sure I’ll be added to the show now. Thank you. Thank you for your time today.
[00:56:46] Zac Stucki
Yeah, thank you, Katherine, it’s been a pleasure.
[00:56:51] Katherine Ong
Thanks so much for listening. To find out more about the podcast and what we’re up to, go to digitalmarketingvictories.com, and if you like what you heard, subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Rate us, comment, and share the podcast, please. I’m always looking for new ideas, topics, and guests. Email us at digitalmarketingvictories.com or DM us on Twitter at DMVictories. Thanks for listening.