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The jobs-to-be-done framework is a helpful way to look at customer motivations in business settings. It helps uncover consumer attitudes and behaviour by framing purchasing decisions as a choice to “hire” a product or service to do a job.

Conventional marketing teaches us to frame customers by attributes- using age ranges, marital status, race and other characteristics. The problem with this is that this leads to companies focusing on what they are selling, instead of on what customers need.

However, customers rarely make buying decisions based on what the “average” customer in their category may do. Instead, they often buy things because they find themselves with a problem that they would like to solve.

People aren’t buying your solution (the drill), they’re buying the outcome (the hole).

Refocusing on customer needs allows companies to accurately develop and market products and services which are well tailored to what customers are already trying to do.

The JTBD framework is also relevant when doing competitive analysis for your company or product. If we think about the consumer buying a product because of the job it does, we open up the competitive arena to products we may not have thought of before.

A simple example – cars don’t just compete with cars. In the consumers mind, a car competes with the bus, a bike, the train. The consumer just wants to get from place to place, that is their job-to-be-done.

What is your job-to-be-done?

Mary Cronin
Author: Mary Cronin
October 3, 2017
Mary is an innovation specialist, systems thinker and circular economy facilitator. As the founder of UpThink Innovation Agency, Mary works with SMEs and large organisations as a circular economy/climate change/ESG consultant.