Friday, July 11th, 2014

Clay Christensen's Milkshake Marketing: Strategy New or Relabeled?

Label Masquerades As Disruptive Brand Strategy

A client recently asked our thoughts about this story discussing "Milkshake Marketing," published 2011 in Working Knowledge, a newsletter of Harvard Business School, in which the author breathlessly extols Milkshake Marketing as the latest creation of Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen:

About 95 percent of new products fail. The problem often is that [product] creators use an ineffective market segmentation mechanism...  It's time for companies to look at products the way customers do: as a way to get a job done.

Christensen, discussing an example in the video, labels this approach jobs-to-be-done marketing - building an entire brand, naturally, around a particular job-to-be-done:

The jobs-to-be-done point of view causes you to crawl into the skin of your customer and go with her as she goes about her day, always asking the question as she does something: Why did she do it that way?" 

The author suggests Christensen is inventing something new.

We call BS, and leave it to you as to whether we refer to brand strategy, or something else.

What Christensen does instead is take an existing marketing strategy - focus on user benefits rather than selling product function - and relabels it as jobs-to-be-done, with the a nudge from the alliterative metaphor, Milkshake Marketing.

According to Christensen, the jobs-to-be-done approach requires a Why did she do it that way? process.

Again nothing new as, in contrast, for over a decade at one agency a process labeled as uncover what the user actually does, rather than listen to what they say.

Christensen's first book, The Innovator's Dilemma, articulated his theory of disruptive innovation, widely recognized as a landmark work discussed by thought leaders worldwide. Of which we among many are fans.

Milkshake Marketing resides however, at the opposite end of the spectrum, from Boston spreading only so far as some 60 plus miles.

To Connecticut.

Leave a comment

Make sure you enter the (*) required information where indicated. HTML code is not allowed.


Contact Us

Find Us

From Address:

Locate Us

443 Park Avenue South
11th Floor
New York, NY 10016

(212) 300-3760