Blurring the lines: SnapApp Takes a lesson from Jobs to be Done Consumer Methodology to Transform their Go to Market


One of the many reasons I love my job is that I get to work with companies serving buyers in many different industries. Not only does it serve my personal need for variety – sitting still has never been one of my strengths – but it provides new approaches that can be learned and translated from one business to another.

As you can imagine, when I learned that the VP of Products at SnapApp, Greg Achenbach had teamed with Neil Baron, Founder of Baron Strategic Partners to apply a well known B2C research methodology, Jobs to be Done, to grow their business, I was itching to dig in.

I had a million questions! Lucky for Greg and Neil I took a few minutes to get organized and asked only the really burning ones.

What is the essence of the Jobs to be Done methodology? Jobs to be Done is the practice of seeking the higher purpose driving consumers to use your product or service, and using that information to inform product development, messaging and advertising. Neil knows how to get my attention. He used the McDonalds milkshake to describe the concept. It turns out I’m not the only one who is ice cream obsessed. A remarkable percent of milkshakes are sold in the morning. While my days of drinking milkshakes in the early morning ended with my graduation from college party nights, it appears for many it was only just beginning when they entered the workforce. Commuters were buying milkshakes – and a lot of them. They were using them to get through the long slog to work. It took a long time to drink, filled their stomach and was easy to consume in the car. And it was “dairy” right? Joking aside, this was a wow insight.  The job of a milkshake is not always dessert. Insights like that are what make Jobs to be Done important.

Where could someone unfamiliar with Jobs to be Done learn more?  Once you’ve spoken to Greg you’ll see he’s gone all in on Jobs to be Done concept. When he started using JTBD we knew he was hooked! But it didn’t start that way. One of the company’s advisors introduced the idea which prompted Greg to learn all he could. Two things he found particularly helpful were this HBR article and this video.

What attracted you to Jobs to be Done? SnapApp has built a healthy business taking the coding burden off marketers who want to create interactive content. However, they found that many customers used the product for a particular campaign and didn’t return for more. It was frustrating and holding back growth. The company had made changes to packaging, tried different sales models and refreshed marketing programs but none of it was having the big impact they wanted. That’s when Jobs to be Done entered. Greg knew if they could really understand how customers were putting SnapApp to work, they could optimize for the purpose from the buyer’s perspective.

How did Jobs to be Done change the business? It changed a lot. The product feature set was reduced to the most essential elements marketers craved taking away distractions that made the tool feel hard to use, and the company completely transformed its website. Instead of focusing on interactive content as a mission, they are focused on the opportunities interactive content is used to serve – generating leads and uncovering purchase intent.

Can you give David Cunningham a high five for me? You don’t know David? You are missing out! David is one of my favorite demand gen marketers (and humans) who just happens to work a few feet from Greg. Not only is he a rock start marketer you should know, but he’s got the inside track on beer at Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. Connect with him, and tell him I said hello!

The Jobs to be Done philosophy aligns to my own personal view on research – we need to understand what someone wants to achieve in the context of their work not simply what our product or service does. But the Jobs to be Done methodology was designed for consumers, not selling to businesses. At Product Marketing Community Boston Greg and Neil are going to share how they took this important concept and adapted it for their business.

Consider yourself invited!

I hope you can join Greg, Neil and I as we dive into lessons learned transforming SnapApp at the Product Marketing Community Boston event on April 26th.

Register here and use CODE: SAMANTHAVIP for a discount.