Jobs-to-be-done is more than just a theory. It also provides a framework for complete product innovation that makes your customer the focal point of your product strategy. The jobs-to-be-done framework makes it easy to identify and categorize customer needs. While the jobs-to-be-done framework goes beyond the theory, both rely on the same set of principles:
- Define your customer without using buyer personas. You have to understand the different types of customers, and most importantly, the job beneficiary.
- Define your market without using your product. Your market is your customers’ job to be done.
- Calculate market size without relying on the product price. Your market size is your customer’s willingness to pay.
- Define your customers’ needs using actions and variables in the job. Don’t ask your customers what product they want.
- Prioritize unmet customer needs with a quantifiable survey rather than relying on industry opinions, trends or NPS scores.
To effectively satisfy your customers’ needs, the jobs-to-be-done framework can be broken down into two main components: identifying your customers and identifying the job they are trying to get done.
Step 1: Identify Your Customers
A common misconception in the product development world is that, in order to understand your customers -- and consequently, your market -- you need buyer personas. However, it’s not the persona, or the characteristics of your buyers, that makes them buy your product. They buy your product because they need to get a job done and your product is the one that gets that job done more efficiently than the competition. The job is the same regardless of the demographic groups your customers fall into.
Using the jobs-to-be-done framework, you can easily segment your market and define your customers’ needs by understanding the 3 types of customers:
- Job Beneficiary - This is the person who benefits from getting the job done. This is the person looking to “hire” your product or service to get their job done.
- Job Executor - The executor is the person or entity who will help the beneficiary get the job done.
- Purchase Decision Maker - This is the person who makes the final financial purchase decision.
In many markets, those 3 customers will often be the same person. In others, the beneficiary and purchaser will be the same but the executor will be different. Let’s look at a simple example.
In the case of someone who is looking to trade in their car, they would be considered the Job Beneficiary because they stand to benefit the most from getting their car traded-in. The Job Executor would be the car dealership -- the organization that executes the job of trading the car. The purchaser would also be the customer -- AKA the beneficiary -- as they are responsible for pulling the trigger on the sale of the old car and the purchase of a new one.
So what do you do once you’ve identified your customer? The next step is figuring out what type of job they’re trying to get done.
Step 2: Identify Your Customers’ Job-to-be-Done
Just as there are 3 types of customers, there are also 3 distinct jobs your customers are trying to get done. Knowing these 3 types of customer jobs-to-be-done can help with defining your market and identifying unmet customer needs.
- Functional - Functional jobs are the easiest to understand because they are simply the goal(s) your customer is trying to achieve. They can be measured for speed and accuracy. Innovation happens when the customer isn’t able to get their job done quickly or accurately enough and an opportunity in the market opens up.
- Emotional - An emotional job is the way your customer wants to feel, or the way they want to be perceived by others, while getting their job done. Understanding the emotional job makes the innovation process more personal by giving you insight into their struggle to get the job done.
- Consumption - The consumption job is what the customer has to physically do themselves to get the job done. This could mean installing new software, reading a repair manual, or performing routine machine maintenance.
In short, the functional job will define your market, while the emotional and consumption jobs will make for a better overall customer experience.