Study: Shoppers Need Product Info About ‘Jobs To Be Done’

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Recently, we appeared in an article for Marketing Daily, which we’ve excerpted in this post with edits. Read the full article here.

Shopping for consumer packaged goods seems like a relatively straightforward process, even in a digital world. But new research from the Behaviorally (formerly PRS) marketing consultancy has a new take on the subject that suggests CPG marketers need to make sure their online information is immediately useful to in-store and digital shoppers. That’s in part because even big retailers don’t do much to educate their customers about the brands on the shelves, and because brands don’t always recognize what their would-be consumers are really looking for. “It used to be, once you were in the store, the marketer’s job was done,” says Alex Hunt, Behaviorally (formerly PRS)’s CEO. Now, he says, that’s when the job really kicks into high gear. Not only do marketers need to be aware of straightforward purchase decisions — but also ones that seem harder to understand, information that Behaviorally (formerly PRS)’s newly introduced omnichannel path-to-purchase behavioral research attempts to decipher. The research studies the “jobs-to-be-done” (JTBD) usefulness of products. As explained by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, that theory basically says customers often buy products for reasons marketers have never thought of. Behaviorally (formerly PRS) says by way of an example, it identified search terms used by consumers who Googled “How to make meatloaf,” which led them to recipes incorporating Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, certainly not a top-of-mind ingredient for typical meatloaf recipes. “Conversion to purchase is often influenced by engagement that anticipates ‘jobs to be done’ in the most oblique ways,”  the Behaviorally (formerly PRS) report says.  For example, it notes, “‘How to clean mussels’  was a search term which led consumers to a page on a Knorr website, walking would-be chefs through the secrets to de-bearding these shellfish favorites and appending a recipe including Knorr bouillon cubes as a key ingredient.” (Christensen’s JTBD example was far more oblique. He tells the story of how McDonald’s discovered a ridiculously high percentage of its milkshakes were sold in the early morning to motorists making lengthy commutes because they needed a long-lasting snack.) About 70% of U.S. shoppers buy at brick-and-mortar stores and also online, and 81% of them depend on digital research, says Behaviorally (formerly PRS). Even when they are physically shopping in a store, 35% try to “validate” their choice by checking for information on mobile devices. In many cases, they’re checking to see the product they’re poised to buy will be successful at completing the JTBD. THE AUTHOR
Alex Hunt is the CEO of Behaviorally (formerly PRS) and provided his quotes for this article in November 2019 when he was serving as CEO of PRS IN VIVO USA.
Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexHunt84 or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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