Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Your Product Has A Job

In the 90s, McDonalds had a burning desire to sell more milkshakes. But in spite of following customer feedback to the letter, the fast food joint failed to increase milkshake sales.

The marketing department was at its wit’s end.

But as luck would have it, a Harvard Business professor called Clayton Christensen was one of the many customers McDonalds asked for comments.

Clayton later reached out to the restaurant and said it was approaching the milkshake issue all wrong.

“To you the milkshake is a desert,” said Clayton “but to customers the milkshake does a job. Figure out what that job is and your milkshake sales will go through the roof.”

McDonalds ran with the idea and set up a stakeout in one of the restaurants.

For 18 hours a man with a notepad kept an eye on every milkshake patron and scribbled down every detail.

Turns out half the milkshakes were sold in the morning to lone men who wanted nothing but the milkshake and to instantly drive off with it.

Hot on the job’s tail, Clayton decided to visit the restaurant the next morning and confront the milkshake buyers.

After an intense session of interviews, Clayton figured out the job of the milkshake.

You see, every dude was getting ready for a long and boring drive to work. And they wanted to hire a product that kept them engaged and awake, that filled their bellies, that wouldn’t fall apart and cover them in sugary goo, and that fit inside a cupholder.

To the customer, the milkshake was much more than just a desert.

All that was left to do now, was to make the milkshake better at its job.

McDonalds made the drink thicker so it took longer to suck up. Added little bits of fruit to surprise the commuter out of his driving daze. And moved the milkshake machine to the front of the counter so you didn’t have to wait in line.

As Clayton promised, milkshake sales went through the roof.

Don’t understand the customer, understand the job.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach