Creating Value With The Jobs To Be Done Theory

Steve WunkerNovember 13, 20194 min

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you define and grow brand value. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Patrick, a Brand Marketer in Los Angeles, California who has this question about the Jobs To Be Done theory and it’s role in value creation.

“We are in the early stages of adopting an approach to new product development and want to better understand the Jobs To Be Done concept. Please bring us closer.” 

Thank you for your question Patrick. Many companies try to innovate by looking backward. They focus on what they are already selling or doing and on how their customers currently behave. By focusing on jobs, you look deeper—at what really drives behavior. This perspective can totally change the innovation landscape, and it ensures that ideas connect with customers’ true motivations rather than with what they happen to be doing today. A Jobs approach sets you up to win both today and into the future.

Focusing on Jobs to be Done, rather than on past customer purchase behavior, allows you to define a broader solution space with more opportunities for innovation. Here is a summary of the key points at its core.

1. Job Drivers:

  • Job drivers are the underlying factors that make particular jobs more or less important for different types of consumers.
  • Job drivers can be uncovered by looking at three broad categories: attitudes, background, and circumstances.
  • Jobs and job drivers combine to yield customer segments—groups of customers who will buy and behave in similar ways.
  • Rather than building fully loaded, one-size-fits-none products, new offerings should be targeted to specific customer segments by focusing on the jobs that are important to those specific consumers.

2. Current Approaches:

  • The product purchaser is just one of several stakeholders who may need to be satisfied with your new offering. Consider whether there is an end user or other key decision maker who will need to be satisfied.
  • Current approaches are the range of activities that collectively represent a customer’s way of doing something. Pain points—a breeding ground for innovation—are the areas of difficulty, frustration, or inefficiency along the way.
  • Because context can affect which jobs are in play, remember to ask about specific occasions (not just average behavior), getting as detailed as possible.
  • Consumers are often attached to their current approaches, so carefully consider how fast you can expect consumers to change their behavior if your solution requires such change.

3. Success:

4. Obstacles:

  • Obstacles come in two forms: obstacles to adoption and obstacles to use.
  • Obstacles to adoption are hurdles that limit a consumer’s willingness to buy an offering.
  • Obstacles to adoption can be reduced by making it easy for people to learn about and try your new offering.
  • Obstacles to use are hurdles that get in the way of success, thereby limiting a customer’s likelihood of continuing to use a product, purchasing add-ons, or upgrading to newer versions.
  • Continuously acquiring a new customer base is often too costly to be sustainable, making it important to eliminate obstacles to use so that first-time buyers become repeat buyers.

5. Value:

  • Understanding how much money is at stake with respect to a new solution requires framing markets in terms of jobs, not products.
  • A value-based pricing strategy that accounts for the unique or emotional jobs your offering satisfies can help you more accurately understand how expensive your solution can and should be.
  • In addition to thinking about the value you’re offering the customer and other key stakeholders, your solution needs to bring in value for the organization. Consider whether your model allows you to sustainably capture value.

6. Competition:

  • Beyond your traditional or direct competitors, your offering also competes against other offerings that satisfy the same jobs.
  • Because consumers will look outside your product category to satisfy their jobs to be done, familiarize yourself with the entire spectrum of direct and indirect competitors, and position your products accordingly.
  • By applying a Jobs-based lens, your broader view can also illuminate more avenues for growth.
  • Areas of non-consumption—the areas in which your competitors aren’t currently playing—can offer substantial potential, but they also carry some degree of risk.
  • Think about both traditional and nontraditional competitors in terms of your relative advantages, flexibility, and risk.

We hope this is helpful Patrick. More of this approach is featured in my new book JOBS TO BE DONE: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation.

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