Podcast: Intercom’s go-to-market strategy

When you uncover the jobs that your product is hired for it can inform your entire go-to-market strategy.

While Jobs-to-be-Done has become popular in product design and development it can also inform other functions in your organization. For us, it was marketing.

I was recently invited to be a guest on an episode of Jobs-to-be-Done Radio. We talked through our experience of uncovering the jobs that Intercom is hired to do, and how we took those learnings and applied them to every aspect of our go-to-market strategy. From communications, to demand generation, events, to product and content marketing, jobs had a key role to play.

You can listen to the whole thing at JTBD Radio. Here’s a cheat sheet version:

Think about what you hire a milkshake for

Coming from a background in persona and solution-based marketing, I had to fundamentally change my approach when I joined Intercom. For me the easiest way to grok the Jobs-to-be-Done methodology was by watching Clay Christensen’s famous milkshake video and understanding what “job” people buy milkshakes for. Des has written about this plenty.

Market for jobs, not personas

Your customers can come in all shapes and sizes across different verticals, but the one single thing that they have in common is the job that they’re looking to hire a product for.

What are the jobs people are hiring you for? Are there any patterns to the job titles or functions of these people? Once you’ve identified these, you can be more focused with your content and targeted in your advertising campaigns.

You can see this strategy applied at a product marketing level on Intercom’s homepage:


You can also see how jobs have shaped our content strategy in our first book, Intercom on Product Management. It offers guidance on the tough decisions you need to make as a product manager–one of the key personas that would hire Intercom for the Learn job.

Knowing the job helps you find your audience

Now that we have a clear understanding of what these jobs are that helps inform our event strategy. It’s easier to answer questions like, “where are we going to meet the people that are looking to hire us for these specific jobs?”, “what are the events that we want to sponsor this year?”, and “what are the events we want to speak at?”.

One of the events that we speak at and sponsor is Mind the Product – an event for product managers. Since we know what the job is, we know who the people are hiring us for that job, we are able to say “that’s a good marketing investment”. Here’s a recording of our Co-founder, Des Traynor, speaking at Mind the Product in London last year on the topic of product strategy.

Numbers don’t lie

Thanks to understanding the jobs that people hire Intercom for we’re continually improving how we explain the product, not just on the website, but we carry that through the whole funnel. We’ve since more than tripled top of funnel traffic and that’s continuing to grow on a weekly basis. At the same time we’re still converting at the same rate.

Start by talking to your customers

You’re not going to get a good understanding of the jobs unless you invest the time, get on the phone, and speak to a bunch of different customers. That needs to be active customers, it needs to be new customers, it needs to be customers that tried your product but didn’t buy, and it also needs to be customers that cancelled. You need a broad mix.

Study the conversations intensely and identify any patterns that come out of them. From there, define what the job is that people are looking to hire your product for and follow a framework that works for you. For us it started with creating a messaging guide for each job.

Our fourth book, Intercom on Jobs-to-be-Done, is a collection of our best thoughts and ideas on the topic. The goal: help you understand what needs customers meet with your product, and how to ultimately improve upon that experience.