The next morning, he returned to the restaurant and interviewed customers who left with milkshake in hand, asking them what job they had hired the milkshake to do.
Christensen details the findings in a recent teaching note, "Integrating Around the Job to be Done." Click to watch.
Unfortunately, neither way works very well, according to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, who notes that each year 30,000 new consumer products are launched—and 95 percent of them fail.
“The jobs-to-be-done point of view causes you to crawl into the skin of your customer and go with her as she goes about her day, always asking the question as she does something: Why did she do it that way?
"Most of them, it turned out, bought [the milkshake] to do a similar job," he writes.
"They faced a long, boring commute and needed something to keep that extra hand busy and to make the commute more interesting.
"The fact that you're 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product," Christensen says.
"It may be correlated with the decision, but it doesn't cause it.
" In his MBA course, Christensen shares the story of a fast-food restaurant chain that wanted to improve its milkshake sales.
The company started by segmenting its market both by product (milkshakes) and by demographics (a marketer's profile of a typical milkshake drinker).