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Your Customers Don’t Care About Your Product: They Care About Progress

January 31, 2017
Aaron Polmeer

By Today’s Industry Insider


It’s true. Your customers don’t care about your product. Don’t worry, they don’t care about your competitor’s products either. Your customers don’t care about any products. Thankfully, your customers do care about something, which is why they buy your product.

Your customers care about the progress they will make as a result of using your product.

As Growth Marketers and Product Builders, it’s our job to make sure customers understand how our product will change them for the better. Then we can create an efficient customer funnel that turns potential customers into loyal, repeat customers. We use data to optimize each stage of the user lifecycle. However, it’s easy to get bogged down in user data and product features. When we lose sight of whether or not our customers have realized the better life we’ve promised, the customer becomes stuck in our funnel and we lose our customer.

By understanding the progress our customers are hoping to make, we can increase conversions at any stage of the user lifecycle: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referral.

Customers Buy Progress

Customers actually don’t buy your product. They aspire to be more awesome, and they believe your product will help them get there. They buy the vision of themselves being more awesome. This visual from Samuel Hulick explains why customers buy products.

Customer progress is a key concept of Jobs To Be Done (JTBD). I was first introduced to the above Super Mario graphic by Alan Klement’s book on JTBD, When Coffee & Kale Compete. The JTBD helps us focus on the customer’s desire to make life better and the progress they are hoping to achieve. With this focus, we can grow faster and build better products.

Alan lists 10 JTBD principles in his book. We’ll focus on two.

  1. Customers don’t want your product or what it does; they want help making their lives better.
  2. Solutions and Jobs should be thought of as parts of system that work together to deliver progress to customers.

The rest of this article will show how growth and product teams at B2B and B2C orgs have used these two principles to create better top of funnel marketing messages and increase LTV and retention through progress-centric product updates.


  • Create ads and content that focus on progress. Progress is overcoming an emotional struggle to make one’s life better.
  • Make sure you have the right understanding of progress for your audience.

Case Study

TownHound was a dual-sided marketplace that was picked up by Google just 8 months after launch. It was a mobile app that brought restaurants more patrons during off-peak hours by offering discounts to its users. In just 3 months, TownHound was able to sign on 6x more restaurant partners in the San Jose, CA region than it’s behemoth competitor Groupon.

This is a huge accomplishment because two-sided marketplaces are tricky. You need a high volume of Demand (customers redeeming TownHound deals) in order to build up Supply (restaurant partners that offer deals). Bryan Solar, Co-Founder of TownHound, understood the progress that his customers were hoping to …read more

Source:: Kiss Metrics Blog