How 'Jobs to Be Done' Can Transform Your Business

Discover how the 'Jobs to Be Done' framework can revolutionize your business strategy by focusing on customer needs, thereby enhancing innovation, market positioning, and overall success.
Adelynne Chao

When we talk about 'Jobs to Be Done' (JTBD), it's easy to think it's all about starting new businesses or launching products by figuring out what customers really need. While that's a big part of it, JTBD is way more than just an innovation tool. Let's break down why JTBD matters in simple, straight-talk terms and how it can make a real difference for your business.

A strategy for your business that is not just about innovation 

Sure, JTBD is great for launching startups or new products by zeroing in on what customers are missing. But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Think of JTBD as a way of doing things that puts customers at the heart of everything your company does. It's about making sure every part of your business is always looking at how to serve your customers better.

JTBD helps you figure out where your business and products fit in the market. But when we use this framework we don't just stop there. We use it to show how this affects where you stand compared to your competitors and how you can use this to your advantage. Whether your market is more about the practical stuff or leans towards the emotional and social side, understanding JTBD lets you segment your market in a smart way. This means you can stand out by hitting the right mix of practical, emotional, and social points in your strategy.

An adaptable framework that unlocks market opportunity 

Not all markets are created equal. The dynamics, customer expectations, and the very nature of 'jobs' can vary dramatically from one industry to another. This demands a bespoke application of JTBD—one that resonates with the specific characteristics and challenges of your market. Whether you're navigating the functional necessities of day-to-day products or the emotional connections inherent in luxury brands, the JTBD approach we advocate is always customized.

Case study: Functionally Driven Markets: Shell and Its Select Stores

Petrol stations are a functionally driven market. Shell and their Select stores are one example of actively targeting a customers’ functional JTBD. Recognizing that customers are looking for more than just fuel, Shell reimagined the petrol station experience. By integrating convenience stores that offer fresh food, coffee, and everyday essentials, Shell addressed the broader set of jobs customers aim to complete during their visit. This move not only enhanced customer convenience but also positioned Shell as a one-stop destination, differentiating it from competitors and driving additional revenue streams.

Case study: Emotionally Driven Markets: Louis Vuitton and Personalized Luxury

Turning to the emotionally driven market of luxury handbags, Louis Vuitton offers a great example of leveraging emotional jobs to deepen customer engagement. Louis Vuitton has long been synonymous with high-quality luxury and craftsmanship. However, by introducing services like personalized monogramming and bespoke handbags, the brand tapped into the emotional needs of exclusivity, personal expression, and belonging to a prestigious heritage. These services allow customers to feel a deeper connection to their purchases. This strategy not only reinforces Louis Vuitton's status in the luxury market but also builds a more intimate bond with its clientele.

It helps you map out a crystal clear product vision  

Using JTBD right helps map out a clear path for your product, including its vision and mission. This makes sure your product team is on the same page, creating experiences that customers will love. By tying every feature and innovation back to the core needs of your customers, your product won't just meet expectations; it'll exceed them.

Consider the development of a new smart home device. Traditional approaches might focus on adding features based on technological capabilities or competitor offerings. However, with JTBD, the starting point is the customer's life — understanding the jobs they are hiring products to do. For instance, if the job to be done is "help me reduce my energy consumption without sacrificing comfort," every feature of the smart home device is evaluated against this job. This focus ensures that innovations such as adaptive temperature control, energy usage analytics, and intuitive interfaces aren't just technologically advanced but are directly improving the customer's ability to complete their desired job with delight.

This is a frame of thinking that is intuitive. In the businesses that we’ve worked with who utilize JTBD effectively there is a marked difference in their team’s ability to deliver to the vision consistently and effectively, driving better customer outcomes and clear ROI. 

It makes marketing more effective 

One of the biggest challenges we’ve seen businesses face time and again is the struggle to create effective messaging. It is all too easy to get caught up in technical jargon or the nitty-gritty of our products' functional advantages, but JTBD reminds us to focus on how our products meet customers' real-life needs. It helps marketers craft messages that speak directly to what customers are trying to achieve, making sure we're always in tune with how our products deliver real value to our customers.

We’re seeing this used more and more by leading brands. Take smartphones as an example; instead of saying, "Our phone has a 12MP camera," the message might be, "Never miss a moment: Capture your child's first steps in stunning detail, and share it instantly with loved ones." This approach speaks directly to the emotional and practical jobs the customer is motivated by, making the product's value proposition clear and compelling. But no matter what market or product category you operate in, you can apply the same principles and reap the rewards. 

It motivates teams and drives real change 

One of the coolest things about JTBD is how it brings teams together. It shifts everyone's focus to what matters most: meeting customer needs. We've seen firsthand how turning this philosophy into a story that everyone at your company can get behind not only tackles internal challenges but also sparks inspiration and drive across the board.

Bottom line 

JTBD, when used to its full potential, is a game-changer for how you see your customers, how you position your business, and how you motivate your team. It brings clarity and direction that can turn the potential you know is there into real success.

Looking into 'Jobs to Be Done' consulting is the first step towards unlocking this potential. If you’d like to hear more about the services we offer, reach out to us below. 

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