10 ‘jobs to be done’ media executives identified as part of discussion on Clay Christensen’s book

Media executives discussed “jobs to be done” as part of an interactive group discussion at Media Transformation on Wednesday morning.

The conversation was led by Dr. Paul Wang, Associate Professor, Medill IMC Program, Northwestern University. Those attending the session were asked to read Clay Christensen’s latest book, “Competing Against Luck.”

In the book, Christensen says consumers aren’t buying products and services they are hiring them for what they’re seeking. He notes that companies like Amazon, Intuit, Uber, Airbnb, and Chobani yogurt are taking this “jobs to be done” approach.

Groups discussed their biggest takeaways from the book. Here are a few they shared:

• If we have a five-rating in TV that means that 95 percent of viewers said no thanks to us. We spend so much time going from a 5 to a 5.2 because it means millions of dollars more for us. But we aren’t focused enough on the 95 percent who aren’t engaging.

• You have to stick to process. Sometimes it’s easy to overly complicate a job. But it comes down to a job to do. All of the marketing efforts to get me to by a razor through the mail finally worked and it came down to a job to do. The job was going to the store to get razors.

• Because we are so focused on day-to-day tasks, we sometimes forget about passion. We need to convey our passion to people we are trying to hire and those who might be struggling with their certain parts of their job.

• We have to embrace the problem. We may be providing a solution but what are the problems we are trying to address?

• Don’t assume the job you are solving today is the same job you were trying to solve two years ago.

• Be an ambassador of disruption.

• Look at which jobs to start with and pick a few of them and teach the methodology to our people. Focus on process and how to insert into that process.

• As media companies, we are competing against so many specialists and there are so many jobs to be done, if we don’t focus in on the ones we do well, we won’t win in any of them.

• We know people are consuming crime content, but do we know what problem we are trying to solve? Is it that consumers want silicious details of crime or do they want to know how to be safe?

• We have a very self-serving way of understanding the jobs to be done with consumers. We do a lot of surveys and lot of that is validating what we do, from our lens and not from a consumer’s lens.