using Jobs to be Done to plan for uncertainty in customer experience
Learn how to use Jobs to be Done to address shifting customer priorities and to capture opportunity for your business
WE ARE GLOBAL LEADERS IN JOBS TO BE DONE RESEARCH with decades of PRACTICAL experience
What is Jobs to be Done
Jobs to be Done (sometimes referred to as JTBD or Jobs-to-be-Done) is a market research framework focused on uncovering the underlying tasks (or jobs) that customers are trying to get done in their lives. Jobs are foundational for understanding what motivates your customers and why customers behave the way they do. And because Jobs to be Done gives a broad yet rigorous view of where both opportunity and tough competition really lie, a deep understanding of customers’ jobs is key for crafting irresistible innovations that don’t just mimic every other competitor.
Many of the greatest innovation successes – in both the B2C and B2B realms – can be traced back to a thorough understanding of customer needs. We use the Jobs to be Done framework to precisely and effectively determine the root drivers of customer behavior — those functional and emotional goals that people want to achieve, even if they have not yet articulated them. Using the Jobs to be Done framework, it becomes easy to see that people aren’t just buying a movie theater ticket, for example, but also indulgence, bonding, and a couple hours of entertainment for the kids on a rainy Saturday.
Customers’ jobs to be done exist independently from what people are buying, making it essential to see the world from the customer’s perspective rather than from the vantage of a company that happens to be selling something. As the late Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt famously told his students, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”
Why is Jobs to be Done important
Jobs to be Done theory focuses on the “why” behind customer behavior. Customers are often willing to pay a premium for offerings that deliver on both functional and emotional jobs to be done. When thinking about how to launch a new product or bring in new customers, too many companies focus on what their customers are currently buying. They use existing purchase data to define their markets quite narrowly. They begin to think of themselves as booksellers and PC companies. Then when sales dip or management makes aggressive growth demands they end up asking the wrong questions. How can we sell more books? How can we build a better PC? This tunnel-vision approach to market definition creates a very small solution space, and it can blind companies to threats from non-traditional sources.
Where did Jobs to be Done theory originate
Our founder, Steve Wunker, was mentored by Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who first popularized the Jobs to be Done theory, and spent six years working with Christensen applying Jobs to be Done across dozens of contexts. Since 2004, our team has been preeminent specialists in the Jobs to be Done theory of innovation. Over the past decade, our firm’s leadership has developed and refined a proprietary Jobs to be Done framework called the Jobs Atlas for turning Jobs to be Done research into strategy, solutions, and actionable business plans (pictured below). This is the subject of our award-winning 2016 book Jobs to be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation.
Click here to read our explainer piece on Jobs to be Done.
HOW WE CAN HELP
OUR TOOLS FOR UNCOVERING JOBS TO BE DONE
Referrals and repeat clients drive much of our business, and for that we credit our attention to the client experience as much as our content expertise. This means taking you along with us as we discover and learn; understanding your context and previous work so that we focus on the most important issues; ensuring that we are asking the precise research questions for your business goals; and understanding your organization’s communication style so that we can express our insights in ways that resonate today and in the future.
We do not have a one-size-fits-all approach to uncovering jobs to be done. There are actually many ways to identify customer jobs to be done, from quick online surveys to longer in-home ethnographic studies. We’ll work closely with you — and draw upon our decades-long research experience — to determine the best tools to suit your target customer, research questions, budget, and timeline. Some of our frequently used Jobs to be Done research methods include:
Qualitative methods — such as in-depth interviews and ethnographies — are best suited for laying out the landscape of jobs to be done, including both functional jobs and emotional jobs. Quantitative surveys can be deployed to assess the prevalence of these jobs to be done, measure gaps in JTBD satisfaction, identify groups of customers that are united by similar jobs to be done, and link jobs to be done to customer characteristics that you can readily target, among other objectives. When we use multiple methods for a project, we often conduct qualitative research before using an online survey to drill in on key questions, prioritize jobs, and quantify Jobs-based customer segments.
What you can expect from working with us
Final outputs from a Jobs to be Done project can take many shapes depending on your needs and context. Deliverables may include:
Learn more through our most popular jobs to be done resources
CASE STUDY: COUPLES AND THEIR DINING HABITS
A major food company came to us looking for new ways to target couples at mealtimes. The company saw that the marketplace was trending towards convenience, efficiency, and ready-made food -- like meal replacements and upscale convenience stores. But the data showed that couples were less keen to purchase these prepared foods. What would stick with couples?
New Markets Advisors used Jobs to be Done research to help the food company deeply understand its target segment and innovate in ways that were new to its category.
What jobs do couples have around dining?
Result: A New Product Line
The research was surprising -- even though convenience products were flooding the market, couples were actually willing to spend about 20 minutes together preparing food. Couples were skeptical of all-in-one and ready-made meal solutions, but also were burdened by having to plan a meal from scratch. Rather, they needed a “sous chef” to help them create the meal they envisioned. This led the food company to develop a new line of meal kits where consumers could add their own personal touch to familiar salads and entrées.