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Marketing Intercom with Jobs-to-be-Done | Matt Hodges on Jobs-to-be-Done Radio

Chris Spiek // 03.31.15

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This week Matt Hodges, Intercom’s head of marketing, joins us to talk about integrating Intercom’s marketing efforts around Jobs-to-be-Done.

Matt talks us through his experience of uncovering the jobs that Intercom is hired to do, and applying the learning to things like SEO, landing page design, and website architecture.

He takes us into the details of putting together landing pages and product tours that were highly focused on the job (as opposed to a vertical, persona, or customer segment), and gives us some insight into how he uses jobs and personas for different marketing activities.

Show Notes

Jobs-to-be-Done Radio

 

Episode Transcript

Welcome to the latest edition of Jobs To Be Done Radio, where we discuss how to apply the Jobs To Be Done framework to understand why consumers switch from one product to another and, ultimately, how to get more customers to switch to your product. Here are your hosts.

Chris: All right. Welcome to the latest edition of Jobs To Be Done Radio, I am Chris Spiek and, as always, I am joined by Bob Moesta and Ervin Fowlkes. What’s up, guys?

Bob: Hey, Chris. What’s up?

Ervin: Hey, Chris.

Chris: Today, we have a very special guest. We’re joined by Matt Hodges, the Head of Marketing over at Intercom. Hey, Matt!

Matt: Hey, guys.

Bob: Hey, Matt.

Chris: So, before we dive into anything, we want to announce the next Switch Workshop, which will be at base camp in Chicago on Friday, April 24th. Do we have that right, Irving?

Ervin: That’s right, exactly right.

Chris: So, you can jump job online now, go to JobsToBeDone.org, grab tickets to that. If you haven’t been to a Switch workshop, obviously I highly endorse it. If you haven’t been to Basecamp and checked out their office in Chicago, it’s a very, very cool experience. So, tickets usually go pretty quick for these. Be sure you jump on. If you want to get your slot, jump on to JobsToBeDone.org and grab a ticket.

So, it’s been a while Matt. We were just talking. It’s probably been at least six, seven, eight months since we have been together, but I am really excited. So, I guess just as a little bit of background, we do these podcasts and we always think of Jobs To Be Done as having its roots in product design, product development, industrial design, that sort of things. I think one of the exciting aspects of the show is we’ve been able to pull people in, like Matt Gundersen, around advertising with different people from different functions that have kind of come to realize that Jobs is not just about product development, but it can fuel and inform other aspects of the organization.

Since we had a chance to work together, you have gone off and kind of, it feels like, have revamped the whole marketing side of Intercom. You have done some writing about what you have done and how Jobs has helped. I just thought it’d be an awesome opportunity, especially for the people who listen to this podcast who have their position in marketing, I thought it would be awesome to just hear a little bit about what you learned in applying the Jobs process and what you did around SEO and landing page design and navigation and all that stuff, because it sounds like you have been busy. Why don’t we start. Matt, tell us a little bit about Intercom and tell us about your role?

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Intercom is a customer communication platform. I know that sounds like a bit of a mouthful but that is actually the best way to describe the product. We enable every team within the business to see who their customers are, what they are doing inside their product, and then have very targeted and personalized conversations with those customers all in one place. So, typically, in the old world of communicating with customers, the sales team is using the CRM, the marketing team is using a marketing automation platform, your support team is using a help desk and you’re all using these silo’ed solutions to talk to the same set of customers.

Ultimately, that provides a very disjointed experience to your customers. So, Intercom gives your business one place to see your customers and talk to them so you can create a very personalized and targeted experience for all of you users.

Bob: Very succinct. It’s deployed, typically, on web apps, right? Do you guys have any other spaces that you are in?

Matt: That’s right. If you have a web or mobile app, you can install Intercom, either through using Javascript, just like you would install Google analytics on a website or, if you have IOS or an android app, you can integrate with our SPK. Once you do that, Intercom starts collecting all the information that you need about your customers and that opens up the door to start conversation with them.

I will mention that, coming up in few weeks, we will add a solution that will allow you to use Intercom on your public facing sites. So, if you have a website and you want to start to talk to people that are visiting your site and learning about your product, Intercom will facilitate that in the future, too.

Chris: That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s a huge upgrade. So, I need to go back and study the intro that you just gave, because I think Bob was right. It’s is very succinct and very effective. What I find is, most of the people that I interact with, know Intercom but the people that don’t, I always end up going it’s like the chat mobile that pops up but it’s done really, really well. Everyone goes oh, the chat and I go, no, no, no. I need to back it up and tell why it’s amazing and it connects all the internal functions of an organization, but I need the better explanation. I think you just gave it. That was very good.

So, how did you learn about Jobs and how has Jobs come into your role here at Intercom?

Matt: Yeah, great question. I was first introduced to the Jobs methodology when I joined Intercom back in March of last year, so a little over a year ago now.
Our product team specifically does trainer and [inaudible 00:05:13] customer success, Owen McCain, our co-founder and CEO and Paul Adams, who’s our VP of Product, are very big on the Jobs To Be Done approach. It’s the guiding principle for all of the new things that we build on top of the Intercom platform.

So, back in August of last year, we [inaudible 00:05:31] your guys over at the [inaudible 00:05:32] to really dive into and challenge some of our assumptions of what we believe were the jobs that people are hiring Intercom for, so that we could further inform our future product roadmap and to make sure that we were focusing on building the right things, based on what those jobs were, as well as potentially identifying any areas that we hadn’t been originally aware of.

While that was primarily an exercise to help guide the future development of the product, we were very big and keen on making sure that we have synergy across our marketing efforts with what we are building on the product side as well. I was involved, from a, okay, I need to understand what these jobs are and then create content and build out our marketing side, so that people who are looking to hire our product for these jobs [inaudible 00:06:21] Intercom instead of [inaudible 00:06:22] a competing product.

So, I was first introduced to it back then and what it allowed me to do from the marketing side is really break down this big platform that Intercom is into these really digestible product [inaudible 00:06:40], for lack of a better word. Typically, a product tool, you focus on a specific persona or you might focus on a specific vertical, like using a product for e-commerce, as an example, or how you might market a product that is bought by marketing professionals or sales professionals. Instead, we took the Job To Be Done approach, where customers can come in all shapes and sizes, from different verticals but the one, single thing that they have in common is the job that they are looking to hire a product for.

We came down to understanding these four core jobs that people are hiring Intercom for and that, in turn, informed what product tours I needed to work with my team on to build out on marketing side. You rewind back to August of last year, our marketing site was simply a single page. You would come to our home page and we would try to explain the entire Intercom platform on a single page and it wasn’t targeted and it didn’t really give people with good sense of what they could use the product for, for their specific use case.

Now, if you go to our marketing site, you land on the home page. You get a clear understanding that Intercom is a platform and it serves these four specific jobs. Those being observed, engage, learn and support. Then, you can dive in and there’s a dedicated product tour for each one of the jobs that goes into detail of what can I use this particular package for? What are the features I get in this package? How much does it cost and some social proof to see what other customers are using it and what benefits they’ve seen from using it [inaudible 00:08:26] for that particular job.

So, it really made my team’s life a lot easier, just having a very clear understanding, in very plain English, that someone is looking to hire Intercom to do this specific thing. We then go really deep into that and answer the following set of questions that we call our messaging guide for a job. That is why do we care? What is this problem that we are actually solving? Second, what is the job that people are hiring us for? Why are they looking to hire us for this job? What is it that we do, on the product side, that makes Intercom a good solution for that job? Then, who are the people that are actually searching for this job? It could be multiple personas, so identifying those audiences which will then inform later how do we target those people and make them aware that Intercom can be hired for this job that they’re looking to do. What are the keywords that those people who are searching for? This goes into SEO.

If we have a product that allows people to hire Intercom to see who their customers are and what they’re doing inside their product, what are the actual keywords that they’re going to Google or Bing or searching for to find a product that can do that for them. Then. once we understand what those are, we weave it into the copy that we write, to make sure that our page is ranked organically. So, when someone searches for those keywords, we rank at the top of the list.

What are the competitors in this space? Who else is out there that solves this particular job? The really, really key one is what makes Intercom win? Where are we different? What differentiates us from those competitors and makes us a better solution? So, those are the questions that we go and answer before we go and write any content. We’ll answer those questions, we’ll create this guide, we’ll get some consensus on it, and then that will inform the content that we end up putting in the product or that dives deep into the job Intercom solves.

Chris: To me, the difference between personas and looking at verticals or use cases and jobs, is was it harder for your team to work with jobs or was it easier? What was the difference, because most marketers are pretty much taught in both use case and personas. Is jobs really different than those?

Bob: Yeah, what did you have to change? It’s like, if you change the input, do you have to change the rest of the system that you normally would execute?

Matt: Yeah, that’s a great question. To answer the question of how it is taken up by the team, pretty much everyone in my team was new to the Jobs to Be Done methodology. I don’t think it’s very widely adopted by marketing team in general. It’s very much, as you guys mentioned at the beginning of the call, it’s very much something that’s well known in the product management and product design space, but not so much in marketing.

So, it was a new concept to everyone on the team, but what I found, when working with the team, as we went out and built each of these product tours, focused on each job, is that it allowed us to cut through a lot of the marketing bullshit. It made sure that we were just all in agreement of, in plain English, this is what people are looking up our product for. Then, you naturally steer away of from a lot of the fluffy benefit statements that you might normally see in marketing concept and you kind of strike a nice balance between benefit oriented marketing and feature oriented marketing which, for us, is really important because we market primarily to a little bit more of the technical audience. It’s just the nature of our product. It’s picked up by, generally, product teams and they just don’t care for a lot of the marketing fluff that you generally see out there in the world day. They just want to get to the core of the problem, so that is, what is this job and what does this product do and how can I use it for the job that I am looking to get done?

Additionally, also going more deeper into feature based marking, to make sure that it checks all the boxes and has the features that they’re looking for. So, the job based approach allowed us to strike that nice balance, starting with the job and then flushing it out from there, then, really, to steer away from lot of the fluffy marketing that you would normally see. Does that answer the question?

Bob: Where do you have the marketing basics? The question that I always think of is, if you tell me to target, we’re going to go after e-commerce, like retail outlets, and we want them use Intercom. It’s an addressable market that I can go after and it’s a segment. It’s a traditional slice of the market, whereas in Jobs, you get the progress making part of it, but you don’t necessarily have that clear, I always think of automotives. It’s like 25 or 35 year old female with an income of \$45,000 to \$60,000 a year, blah blah blah. Did you add that later on or you were able to operate without it with the Jobs? How did those two things can intersect?

Matt: Yeah, we did absolutely added on it. It’s another layer on top of the Job. You start with the Job, the Job definition, and one of the Jobs that came out of the research that we do with the guys was help me guide new users to become an active user of my product. You start with that job in mind and then, based on the customer research you’ve done, talking to customers is key here. You’re not going to have a good understanding of what the jobs are unless you actually go in and speak to a lot of customers. You go back to all those conversations and you start to notice some patterns with the job title or the functions that those customers work in that are looking to hire that particular job.

That provides a good starting point for you to then go, okay, this is the job that people are looking to hire us for. These are the types of people that look to hire a product for that job and then you can go and be more targeted with your marketing towards those specific categories of people, whether that be using Linked In and doing targeted ads based on their job title or we also use Facebook a lot in our marketing, and re-targeted ads, whether it be writing content that’s targeted toward a specific category of people that’s focused on the job that they’re looking to hire a product for, but it’s definitely a layer that we added on top. We didn’t start with it.

Bob: So, to me, I bring it back to the analogy of the houses. The jobs is the foundation piece that you can build on top of, but if you try to build it on personas or you try to build it on just verticals, you find that the ground becomes soft and, to take it to another place is really difficult but, when you’ve got the job and it’s kind of that core foundation, it cuts across demographics, cuts across personas, cuts across verticals and now you can figure how to tweak the language for the verticals, but you’ve got the essence of what they’re trying to do or what they’re trying to hire. So, to me, jobs is really a great foundation that then you layer everything on top of, as opposed to a foundation usually is a persona or something else.

Matt: Yeah.

Chris: So Matt, back in March, you were completely new to jobs. Did it automatically make sense to you right out of the box or did it take some convincing?

Matt: I spent a lot of time, before I joined Intercom, reading up on the Intercom blog, blog.Intercom.io. It’s called Inside Intercom, and there is a lot of articles that Des Traynor has written on the topic of jobs. So, I did a lot of reading there. The one example that really kind of hit home the concept for me and one that I was very able to clearly resonate with was Clay Christian’s example where he talks about a case study with a fast food chain. They were looking to increase sales of their milkshakes. At the end of the day, the way that they were able to come out successfully do that was by understanding the job that people hire a milkshake for. It’s kind of a weird to think about it, but when you watch the video, it just makes complete sense.

To spoil the ending there, people were hiring milkshakes as a replacement for other breakfast food, like coffee or bagels or [inaudible 00:16:54] bars that they might have on their long morning commute, because the milkshake kind of lasted longer, it didn’t need them to go to the toilet 30 minutes after they had it, and it was something they could sit in the car and sip on during their long morning commute. It had nothing to do with gender or the typical personas that you might identify who buy milkshakes, and it had everything to do with understanding the job that those people were hiring the milkshake for.

So, if you’re new to the concept of jobs to be done, I would highly recommend watching that case study video from Clay Christianson. It’s only four minutes long it really hits home the concept.

Bob: Yeah.

Chris: So, it gets back to what Bob was saying of building the foundation. If you get to the understanding of that, the job cuts across how we normally segment people. You’re already ahead of the game. You can always add the segmentation back in, but it’s better to understand the core motivation going in and building upon that.

Ervin: I’m not sure if I can ask this question, but I’m sure it’s the burning question to anyone listening to this. You guys have done jobs. How did that work out for you? What is the result? Share as much as you feel comfortable sharing.

Matt: Sure. Sorry, can you just repeat that question again. I kind of missed the brunt of it.

Chris: What are the results, coming out of applying this. You redid the nav, you did all the videos, you did your SEO, huge failure, huge success? What are you looking at, coming out the other side?

Matt: Yeah, sure. It’s a question that’s very hard to answer and that is due to the nature being a very fast growing start up. There are many, many different things that are happening at any one point of time that are impacting the numbers that we look at on a daily or weekly basis in order to judge our performance. My team, being the marketing team, is responsible for bringing in traffic at the top of the funnel and bringing in quality traffic. Then, also focusing on making sure that our conversion rate from new visit to a sign up is healthy.

So, what I can say is that, since I started in March of last year, we have more than tripled top of the funnel traffic and that’s continuing to grow on a weekly basis, and the trend is looking very nice and up to the right but, at the same time, what I think it is very important is that we’ve managed to hold our conversion rate at the same level. So, we’re bringing in a boatload more traffic but we’re still converting them at the same rate.

As I mentioned, there are a lot of moving pieces and I can’t point to any one thing but, typically, when you grow traffic that much at the top of the funnel, you do expect to see some decrease in the conversion rate, because you are expanding you’re net. You’re bringing in people that might not necessarily be the right, qualified traffic for you.

I have a good feeling and I’m very much invested in this, so I might be a little bit biased, but I think, over time, we have gotten a lot better explaining what it is that you can use Intercom for, what are the jobs that it serves, which, as we’ve grown traffic, we’ve continued to improve how we explain the product, not just on the website, but we carry that through the whole funnel.

We work very closely with our growth team to make sure that people have a very good sign up and onboarding experience and we actually ended up spinning up the Intercom product into four distinct packages, one for each job. You can start with one and you can add more packages later but the key being, let’s onboard you for this one specific job, get you successful at that, and then you come layer other jobs in later.

We re-architected the product in that way, so our whole golden mark strategy is jobs based, but I think to answer your original question, has it been working out for us, it’s hard to point at any one thing, but I think the fact that we’ve been able to grow traffic so much at the top of the funnel and the fact we’ve been able to hold our conversion rate steady is a good sign to me that we are taking the right approach of explaining our product in a way that people will want to hire and [inaudible 00:20:59] understanding.

Chris; Yeah, that’s a great answer. We ask this question to a lot of people and it’s like, anything you develop, it’s like, yeah, we worked on the product for three years and we were successful. It’s because we really nailed the personas. It is hard to point to a method or a tool or something. It’s all the work together that provides the success but I think that was a good way of explaining it.

Matt: The only thing I would add there is that it also helps us inform other go to market strategies. For example, now that we have a clear understanding of what these jobs are, that helps some former strategy. One of the events that we want to sponsor this year, one of the events that we want to speak at, where we are going to meet the people that are looking to hire Intercom for these specific jobs? So, we have benefits there. There’s benefits on the [inaudible 00:21:49] side, so for our paid acquisition tactics are also all focused on making sure that we are being true to the jobs and identifying and marketing towards the right people that are looking to hire Intercom for these jobs.

It also has informed our PR and communication strategy, identifying influences in the areas that people that hire us for these jobs. They’re going to be reading, what are the types of publications these types of people read and making sure that we’re building relationships in those areas and also, with content marketing, we recently published our first e-book on the topic of product management and, again, it is very much focused on we know that people hire us for one of the jobs being learned, and that is help you identify the right personas to get quality product feedback from. One key persona that looks to hire us for that job is product managers. We have a lot of great [inaudible 00:22:51] content on the topic of product management and product strategy. So, knowing that that was a target audience for us based on the job that people hire Intercom for, we were able to put together a book that’s since been downloaded by 10,000 unique people and shared with 20000 more people. So, it has benefits across all facets of marketing, not just product marketing, but communication and PR and events and demand generation. It can inform your entire go to market strategy.

Bob: That’s excellent. I am kind of curious, though. It seems like jobs has opened up a lot of things for you to do. Was anything kicked out? Like, what did you use to do, before you found jobs?

Matt: I was the first marketing hire at Intercom back in March of last year, so marketing was very much a new thing to Intercom. So, I would say that we’re kind of starting off with this approach in mind, rather than kind of replacing anything or kicking anything out. It’s kind of been the foundation of marketing in Intercom, is the job based approach.

Bob: One of the other things I wanted to dive into, how did you go back to the insights? Part of what I mean is, I feel like when teams spearhead some research and do some interviews and conduct analysis, it is like the whole team is bathed in all the details of how people buy their product and the trade offs and that sort of thing. When you start designing or putting together a strategy that you’re going to go execute, how do the team refresh themselves on the jobs, use the jobs to make decisions? Can you talk at all about how you got together and discussed that sort of stuff over time?

Matt: Sure. So, one of the outcomes of the workshop that we did with you guys back in August last year was we produced a Job Board. So, we have a board for each of the four jobs that we identified and we had our internal design team design those boards for us. We had them printed out [inaudible 00:24:53] all around the office. So, it’s just a constant reminder that, as you walk through the office, you’re still seeing these job boards and also, when a decision needs to be made about, talking from a product management use case, we’ve been asked by our customers to build this specific feature. Let’s go back and revisit the job. Let’s make sure we refresh our memory of what is this job more about or what it is less about and is this thing our customers are asking, is it actually serving or bettering our solution for this particular job in mind?

On the marketing side, we are in the process of putting together a campaign for a brand new package that we’re announcing to add on top of the Intercom platform. I mentioned it at the beginning of the call but it essentially is a new take on legacy live chat solution and it will allow you to start to talk to the people that are showing interest in your product when they are on your site. So, people you don’t already know, leads. You can now use Intercom to talk to leads.

So, the first thing that we did from the marketing side is we put together a messaging guide. We defined what is the job that people are looking to hire us for and then we went and answered all those same questions that we did when we went and built the original product [inaudible 00:260:09] we have on our marketing site right now. So, we started with the job and we went and built out the messaging guide.

Bob: Awesome, that makes sense.

Ervin: You mentioned personas a couple of times. How do jobs interact with your personas creation or revision? Are you still using personas? I have some strong opinions about them, so I’m interested in your take.

Matt: Sure. So, one of the questions that we ask ourselves in our messenger guide is, we don’t actually use the term persona at all. We just simply, in plain English, say people that are searching for this solution. To give an example, going back to the learn job, where you want to identify the right customers to get quality product feedback from, The answer to that question for us is through the people searching for this. It’s product managers and it’s founders and CEOs at small [inaudible 00:27:11] companies that are wearing many hats. That’s where personas come in, and that, in turn, informs other marketing strategies like how do we make sure that these types of people are aware that they can hire Intercom for this job.

That goes down to events we go to. One of the events that we speak at and sponsor each year is Mind the Product, an event for product managers that is usually run out of London but they’re doing their first one in San Francisco this year. Since we know what the job is, we know the people that are hiring that job, we’re able to say that’s a good marketing investment, to go sponsor that event and talk to the specific personas, all those people that are going to look to hire us for that job. So, I would say that is where personas comes in. Does that answer that a question?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So, what you’ve got is you’re building the persona off of the job, off of the type of progress. So, when I say I have strong opinions, the more I get into it, it feels like I don’t think personas are flawed in any way, it’s just, when I look at what people pass off as personas in a lot of cases, and not even to say that jobs is the only way to build it, but it’s like they’re just built on, like Bob said, on shaky ground. When I start to unpack it, it’s like how are these two different and why don’t they overlap and what causes this person to do this? There’s not enough depth to them, enough concreteness to them, I guess.

Bob: We have descriptions of personas before, something soulless?

Ervin: Yeah, I always think of personas as kind of like, I don’t know how they make the decision. It’s a description, but it’s a soulless person. I don’t know what their drive is, what their motivation is. To me, the job helps me understand what they’re trying to do and then I can wrap persona around it. To just have personas, you come in and say all right, I’ve got this persona. How do they make a decision? I don’t know.

The core is I always get back to the causality. Why do people do what they do and how do they think? Most of the time, it is not necessarily rational. It’s just, as you pointed out, Matt, it’s the pattern. It’s like, when they do this and this and this, they think that. Okay, so, if they’re thinking that, then how do we help them? That’s the important thing. It’s getting in their way. So, I was wondering was there any kind of, as you did the time lines, and you found unique moments? Were there opportunities like when I was in the [inaudible 00:29:50] building side. It was like to advertising from the real estate section to the obituaries, because people were [inaudible 00:29:56] one of the times where you’re thinking, oh my gosh, we’ve got to move but I don’t know how? I was able to link [inaudible 00:30:01] places where you founder and think [inaudible 00:30:04] too happy, where he’s like, I never would have thought of advertising there, but all right. When we advertise in this place, we’re actually getting a lot more traffic than we thought.

Matt: Yeah, I guess the one that really sticks out to me there was the support job. The job, in very plain English, was that people wanted to hire Intercom to fix their support problem and understanding what that actual problem was came out very clearly when we did the story based approach and understanding the different points along the customer journey that led them to look to look for a product to hire the job. For us, it was really interesting to understand that people that were looking to hire Intercom for their support job, they only came to the realization when they had a catastrophic event, whether it be they just launched and they had an influx of inbound support requests or they released a new feature and it had a major or critical bug which introduced a whole bunch of inbound support requests.

It is at that point where their current support process broke, they were typically using a shared inbox of sort. They might have been sharing a gmail account. When they had this onetime event, a huge influx of support requests, they started to tread on each other’s toes and they would start responding to the same customer twice and their whole process was just broken. So, they needed a product that would help fix their support problem. Looking at it from that light really informed if you go to our landing page on the spot, how can we help people visualize and recreate the moment in their mind of when they were like, yes, this is why I need to look for a new solution right now.

That job in particular, understanding the different touch points in their customer journey and that specific moment that triggered them to want to look for a solution, to hire a product for the job is really just that one point which really just informs on how we positioned it and how we messaged it to really pull the heart strings, so to speak.

Ervin: Yeah. Now, when you said the job kind of surprised you, was it the whole support was just completely out of left field? You had no idea about it or was it just like I didn’t think it was prevalent?

Matt: We use it. We use Intercom ourselves for support. We always kind of knew that it wasn’t the best solution for support at that time, based on what we understood support to be and so, our understanding that there are people out there that are using Intercom for support and this is what triggers them to look for a solution, over a shared inbox, that really then helped us inform how do we position the product or the messaging in a way that identifies with these people at that particular point in time, which is an approach we might not have taken had been not really understood what it was that led them to look for a product in the first place. So, does that answer your question?

Ervin: Yeah, absolutely. So, to me, there is a great example around, I always use the phrase “context creates value.” Most marketers will not put up and try to get consumers back to that negative point of where their support system broke. They’d rather tell you how good their support system is and how much better it is than anything else, but the notion, to me, that you’re able to actually confidently and comfortably bring them back to a really bad moment, so they can value what you are doing. To me, it just highlights a different level of marketing mentality, because most marketers are schooled not to talk about the negative side of things.

To me, it is a great, great example of how jobs, you need the context and you need the problem to help frame up how you can actually bring a solution to the table, as opposed to just talk about how good your product is compared to somebody else’s.

Chris: It’s not bad. It’s not unethical. It’s not fear based marketing. It’s just that, in order for them to value it, they need to be aware of the fact that something went wrong. Things were not ideal when everything broke and the reason that you’re here looking at this page is that happened and now you’re trying to make things better. We understand that stuff went wrong. The other side is, you get people to be [inaudible 00:34:39]. We want the best support ever, we can give the best support ever. It’s like, no, I have a problem and this is what I need. We aren’t looking to actually have the best support ever. We’re looking to fix that problem. It’s like, they understand me because they actually just highlighted what I just went through. To me, it’s a really, really good example. I just wanted to get out that.

Chris: So, what’s the range then, because it seems like, on one side, we have the aspirational, everything is going to be wonderful and great and life is going to be a basket of muffin wrapped in a rainbow, all the way back to that Superbowl commercial with the kid passing away on it. How do you find your sweet spot between, I just want to put you into enough pain to remember what’s bad versus I don’t want to just tell you these completely [inaudible 00:35:23] ideas.

Ervin: To me, it is about context that creates value. I need to have enough of the negative connotations so people understand the pain of what they’re trying to do and the trade offs they’re willing to make along the way, because if I don’t put the context, they can’t make the tradeoffs to actually make the decision. To me, it is enough so that they can resonant with the message. Matt, what do you think?

Matt: Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of research that has been done and a lot of schools of thought out there that the general consensus is, you have eight seconds. When someone hits or lands on your product landing page, you have eight seconds to capture their attention and get them to continue to read on. We call that section of the first thing that a person sees on any of our landing pages, we call that the hero section. It’s very important that, in that first eights seconds or in that section of the page, you very clearly speak to the job and, as someone scrolls, you want to use a bit of visual. Your copy need to be very precise and punchy. It needs to be in plain English and it should encourage them to scroll. We then use [inaudible 00:36:38], not as a [inaudible 00:36:40], but as a way of revealing a solution. It’s all about that first eight seconds. You’ve got to speak to the job or the pain point that they are having and then encourage them to scroll, where you can reveal the solution. If you do that correctly, you’re going to hopefully encourage them to invest the time to learn more.

Chris: That brings up the article you wrote, which I’m in complete awed of. It was The 12 Steps to Better Landing Page Design. I’ll include a link in the show notes.

Matt: Yeah, 12 Steps to Create Landing Pages That Convert.

Chris: Amazing article. I read that and realized I need to go back and look at JobsToBeDone.org and just rethink quite a bit of stuff. If you are looking for just one place to kind of get started and understand, I need to create a landing page using job mentality, this article, this post, walks you through, step by step, where the rails are, what you need to stay between to really get the thing done. That was a great article.

Matt: Thank you, I appreciate it.

Ervin: I don’t have this question really well formed but I’ll ask it anyway. Did you guys have a lot of situations where you had to resolve conflict around interpretation of a job, as it related to a design decision or anything like that? I’ll give you little context. I’ve been working with more and more design teams and the conversations that I’ve been having are like, sometimes designers don’t know when to hit the red button, when to hit stop, and when to go back and get refreshed on the insight. It’s like they want to get the download, go off and design and then come back with something and it’s like, that’s not right. Okay, me take another shot at it. Do you remember an instance where somebody raised their hand, like I am having a hard time making this decision and I really need to get to the root of this and understand it at a deeper level. Can you talk at all about how the team would come together to kind of hash through ideas and make decisions and that sort of thing and how that happens?

Matt: Yeah, sure. I will say, there was a lot of heated conversations as we went through the process of creating these pages. Mostly, a lot of the debate came down to once I said okay, we’re going to focus on building the landing page for this particular job, we would then create the messaging guide. We’d all agree on that and then Dan, our product marketer, would go away and create a skeleton of the content that needed to be on that page. We’d broken it down into very specific sections, so it’s a hero section, there’s an overview section, which talks about what you can actually do with this product. I actually like to think of that section as identifying the sub-jobs that allow you to do the main job.

The next section is the features. So, what are the features that enable you to do these things? Some people like to have a checklist and make sure that it has these specific things. We have a section of the page focused on that. Then, obviously, we have pricing and customer testimonials spread throughout. Dan would go away and put that skeleton together and then we would get back together, him and I and we would just debate on copy and we’d question ourselves, why is this section on there. We’re calling out this specific thing that you can do or you can use Intercom for in the context of this job, but you know what? It doesn’t actually help you do that job. Let’s revisit what that job is and we’d just read the one job statement and then we would say, you’re right. Yes, Intercom can do that, but it is not actually helping the person get that particular job done. So, we need to leave it out.

So, a lot of discussions or debates around what made the cut and what didn’t. Then, Dan, our product marketer, would go away and create that skeleton and then we’d come back to design and then we get into the why framing stage. The only other big areas of debate we had was in that initial hero section. I can’t actually think of a time where we had much debate on those. I think our designers kind of nailed each one of those. So, kudus to them. It was more a lot of healthy debate and discussion around what was the rest of the content on that page and making sure that we weren’t including things for the sake of including them. Even though the product could do that particular thing, it just doesn’t makes sense in the context of this job.

Ervin: To me, it gets back to what are we willing to take out. As a product developer, to me, it’s not the yeses, it’s the nos. To me, it’s stripping it down to the the essence and the simplicity and those kinds of discussions, to me, that’s the real power of jobs. It has to have such a strong foundation because you’ve got to have those tough discussions. If you are not having those tough discussions, you end up with [inaudible 00:41:33]. You end up with a bunch of stuff on there that means nothing to nobody.

To me, it’s really the testament to what jobs can learn from, is this notion of trade offs. What should be there? What’s the essence? What am I diluting? Again, when is it not actually helping to do the job? It’s really good. It’s phenomenal.

Chris: Another thing I would add is now we’re five or so months into having all this content built out and a product sold for each job. We’re actually now starting to understand better what these customers are using the product for when they hire us for a specific job and we’re actually starting to go down the path of thinking one of the jobs we have is actually two different jobs. That’s something that’s on the top of our mind right now. Do we have the jobs right? Can we be going further into each of these jobs and are they actually multiple jobs that, six months ago, it made sense but now it doesn’t make as much sense as we have a better understanding of how people are using the product.

Matt: I think the other thing is that people evolve. As people evolve and they get into a different level, it’s like I came in for this support job, but now my definition of progress, six months later, it is something different. Helping with support is now different. It’s evolved. So, again, I think why people come in is different than way they stay. That’s where, again, it does evolve. That’s why, to me, the jobs stay the same but the hiring criteria and the firing criteria is what evolves, because we learn and we have experience.

I still think it’s support but it’s really about what is the essence of it and what’s important about it. I am always a big proponent, especially when they’re already using it, it’s like, I would be interviewing the people who are leaving. I am sure there’s not many, but the people who are leaving are the ones whose voice really counts, as opposed to the ones that say, “Oh, I am going to leave if you don’t do this and this and this,” because you end up adding a lot of features to your best customers and don’t let your initial customers come in. So, one job might evolve to another job.

Chris: So, I think the three of us probably each have 15 more questions for you. We could go on.

Matt: I’m not sure the listeners are going to listen any longer.

Chris: So, I’ll jump in and ask one. We talk to a lot of people who have the anxiety or they’re in the situation where, I have a project, I want to use jobs to be done. I listen to this podcast. I’ve read all the blog posts. I don’t know where to start or, as a marketer, I am not sure if it applies or what should I do. You’ve kind of crossed to the other side. Do you have any advice you would give to those people or things that you would suggest? You know, “Go do this and definitely don’t do that,” or any guidance that you would give to marketers?

Matt: I would say the big one is talk to your customers. You’re not going to get a good understanding for this jobs approach or how you might tackle yourself unless you actually invest the time, get on the phone and speak to a bunch of different customers. To Bob’s point earlier, that needs to be both active customers, it needs to be new customers, it needs to be customers that tried your product and didn’t buy and it also needs to be customers that cancel. You need a broad mix and that would be my number one piece of advice. Invest the time in speaking to customers and identify the patterns that come out of those conversations. It is very time consuming but it is highly valuable.

Then, follow a simple framework that makes sense for you. We put one together that’s highlighted in the a blog I wrote. You can use that as your starting point but have a framework that you can follow from that point forward.

Chris: So, stop agonizing about it and start talking to your customers and the path will kind of illuminate in front of you. We’ll be sure to link to the article. We’ll link to the Intercom blog, obviously. Are you on Twitter? How do you want people to follow you?

Matt: Sure, yeah. You can find me @MattNHodges, N for my middle name, which is Niven. That’s probably the best place to reach me. If you head over to the Intercom blog, there’s a link to my Twitter profile there as well.

Chris: Awesome, thanks for the time, Matt. We really appreciate it.

Ervin: Thank you, man.

Bob: Thanks Matt. Take care.

Matt: No problem at all. Thank you.

  • http://tubreak.com Aidan Lawlor

    Really great chat guys. Can I ask you a question relating to content creation for an Enterprise SaaS product. Once you have defined the JTBD; how can your content reach the C-Suite execs that ultimately will make the purchasing decision? Thx a mil.

    • chriscbs

      Hi Aidan – great question.

      The details of what the message should be and where it could be presented should be buried in the switching stories of the people that you interviewed:

      – When did they find themselves thinking about the problem?
      – How did they describe the problem early on in the process (did they know our lingo/industry terms, or did they have their own language that we might be able to use in our message)? This language might sound simplistic or unpolished, but it will resonate with the shopper and it should guild how we craft our message.
      – Where did they first turn for a possible solution, and how can we position ourselves now that we know that? (colleagues, google search, professional orgs)

      When Bob tells the home building JTBD story, he always references the obituaries because it’s what people would be reading when they saw that someone they knew had passed away, and had the thought “we need to downsize.” You’re looking for your own version of that. When are they focused on their struggle and how can we be in front of them.

      Let me know if this clears things up or if you want me to clarify/expand on anything.