This is a story about two very similar houses for sale in slightly different parts of the same town and two couples searching for their ideal next home.

By now you are scratching you head and asking yourself two questions:

  1. Why do I care?
  2. Why should I read the rest of this post?

You should care because this short story has a very important point to make about how context drives customer value creation and purchase decisions.

You should continue reading because it may reset how you think about creating and describing your service products, which will have a direct impact on whether you make your revenue targets this year and next!

About the two houses



Both houses are the same size, have the same number of rooms, and were built by the same builder at the same time.  And both were well maintained and have similar upgrades.

About the two couples



One couple is in their 60’s and have an empty nest.  The other couple is around 30 and has two young children.

So far no drama!

The buying decision



Both couples saw and liked both houses.  However, each made an offer on only one house and both couples were willing to up their offers if necessary to seal the deal. What was going on?

House location



One house was located close enough to the local hospital so that the homeowners could walk to doctor and lab appointments.  The other house was located across the street from a K -7 public school.

Need I explain more?  The 60 year olds wanted to be near the medical facility and far away from the public school with all the kids, parents dropping kids off, and buses.  The younger couple wanted to be near the school their kids would attend (think no car pools or school buses) and not be annoyed at night by ambulance sirens. Both couples only saw value in the house geared to their unique family situation.

Since customer value is the customer’s perceived benefits as it relates to their jobs-to-be-done, we can easily see how only one of the couples would be attracted to either of the two houses.

The WIIFM (What’s In It For Me)



As you create new services, you must keep in mind your target audience and make sure you have a clear, focused description of the benefits that will be available to the prospects.  If you try to offer a generic product, you will confuse the prospect because they will see a number of benefits that do not work for them and which add cost.  The older couple is never going to purchase a home by a school and any time or effort that went into describing the “value” they would receive for buying in that location would absolutely not register.

And this works for service contracts as well as houses.