So a couple of years ago, a large fast food restaurant was trying to increase the sales of milkshakes. So as every marketer would do, they reached out to their consumers and asked feedback on the following;
- How can we make the milkshake better so you would like it better?
- Do you like it with more chocolate or cream?
With the robust feedback that was collected, they incorporated it to make better and tastier milkshakes. But these changes didn’t have any significant impact on sales or profits. So um, why is that? People loved the product so much more, vanity metrics were through the roof, but profits stagnated. What gives?
Well the team viewed this problem from a much different perspective and asked this question, “What job arises in people’s lives that makes them to ‘hire’ a milkshake at this particular restaurant?” So the team stood at restaurants observing and collecting this data: the time they buy, what they wear, what else do they buy, and how do they consume?
Surprisingly, half of the milkshakes are sold in the morning and are bought alone. Consumers would pick up the milkshake and drive away in their car. After few days, the team concluded that customers typically had long and boring rides to work and needed something to keep their journeys interesting and not feeling hungry.
The alternatives to milkshakes are apples which can just be consumed in a moment and doughnuts but both can either create trash or a mess. So a milkshake is a perfect choice since it fits perfectly in a cup-holder, took a while to finish, satisfies hunger. Making the milkshake thicker and adding a prepaid swipe card to avoid queues for the commuters significantly increased the sales.
This insight was discovered not thinking about how to make the milkshake better but rather by understanding what job does the customer is trying to get done by purchasing a milkshake.
So what is your businesses milkshake? Are you spending time worrying about what you would want as a consumer or what your potential customers want?