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Jobs To Be Done Framework: what is it, and how is it used to analyze customers

Have you ever stopped to think about what consumers are really motivated to buy? The Jobs to be Done theory shows us that customers are not looking for a product or service but a solution to a need.

What do you look for when you buy running shoes? Something comfortable to work out in seems to be the obvious answer. However, if you apply the Jobs to be Done theory, the answer to the question would probably be: improving health and quality of life or finding a hobby.

Want to understand this concept better? This article contains a detailed explanation of the subject and how you can use it to analyze consumers. 

What is the Jobs to be Done Framework?

In addition to statistics and personas, the Jobs to be Done theory argues that customers do not buy a product itself, but the “solution” it provides for problems in their lives. “Jobs to be done” are the desires and motivations behind the purchase process.

When we buy a painting, our job may be to make the house cozier, for example. If we purchase chocolates on Valentine’s Day, it’s as a gift for someone special. Note that in both cases, even before the product, we were looking for a job to be done.

The concept was widely spread by Clayton Christensen, a professor at the Harvard School of Business, and is considered the father of disruptive innovation. 

Jobs to be Done teaches us four important things:

  • How to separate correlations made from causality to understand the customer better; 
  • How to define real competitors;
  • How to improve the marketing focus and sales strategies;
  • How to improve the innovation process. 

Using causality to understand the customer

By taking statistics, graphs, and personas into consideration, it’s possible to understand the correlation between a target audience and their purchases. While this is a great starting point, Jobs to be Done will go even more profound in terms of understanding customer behavior.

Yes, statistically, our audience may have specific characteristics, but that is just a correlation. The causality reveals something deeper: the factors that led to the purchase.

Understanding the market and the competition

At first, it may seem that the competitors of a chocolate franchise are other franchises of the same type or even stores that sell different kinds of sweets. Applying the Jobs to be Done theory, we realize that this is just a superficial perception.

In reality, the real competitors of a company are those that complete the same “job.” In the chocolate franchise case, it may be that a perfume shop is also a competitor on Valentine’s Day. That’s because, for the client, the job is to give someone a gift.

Focusing marketing and sales strategies

This point is an offshoot of the last two. If we understand the reasons that lead customers to buy certain products and who our real competitors are, we can position the brand in a much more effective way.

This also makes it easier to decide which marketing and sales strategies we can use to assist customers in the purchase process.

> Speaking of strategy, we suggest reading our e-book: Strategic planning for 2021!

The guide to the innovation process

When we understand precisely which jobs our products can solve, we stop focusing only on developing new features and starting to understand what services we offer.

In other words, we map these jobs and focus the entire innovation process on those points. Increasing the chances of success in implementing something new in the market.

How to apply Jobs to be Done?

Jobs to be Done is not exactly a framework but a theory that seeks to understand the consumer. However, this does not mean that there are no valid teachings that guide good practices within the company. 

Conduct interviews with users

The investigation process can begin with user interviews. Here, you’ll extract important insights to help you understand the purchase process and know exactly when the customer makes their decision.

A tip: Design Thinking can be applied here. This is because the DT process helps understand the customer (Immersion) and carry out tests to serve them better (Prototyping).

Use Data Science

Another point that can assist your discovery process is Data Science, especially the exploration of Big Data.

Data helps us understand the customer’s journey within a website, for example, and know which pages are visited and the journey to the conclusion of a purchase, among others.

Understand the type of job performed

It is also essential to classify jobs into categories, or “types.” Here, we classify jobs into four different types:

  • Emotional: they are needs linked to the feelings experienced while consuming the product;
  • Social: they are related to society’s perception and value of a specific product;
  • Operational: they are related to the demands of a particular market niche;
  • Functional: they represent the consuming public’s basic needs.

Focus on important jobs

You can map out dozens of jobs that your product solves or can solve, but should it solve all of them? The answer is no.

It is crucial to map out which jobs are most important to customers and focus on resolving them masterfully. Also, the company must consider which of these jobs will be profitable or not.

Develop your strategy

Clearly develop what strategies you will use. After understanding and defining Jobs to be Done, it’s time to consider your real competitors and reposition your brand.

Ultimately, this is how you can make more customer-focused decisions and, of course, sell more.

As you can see, Jobs to be Done is a fantastic theory, which can both inspire innovative ideas and assist with practical issues like company planning. Always keep in mind the needs of your customer!

Design Thinking can also be applied to help you understand the customer. 

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