Accelerate Your Brand’s Growth With The Jobs To Be Done Framework

6 Min Read When it comes to serving customers, your product has a "job" to do. This guide will help you find out what it is and combine it with a handful of field-tested templates to improve your marketing messages.

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Last Updated: June 2023

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Have you ever struggled to understand why your customers make the purchasing decisions they do? Ever find yourself assuming you know their needs and motivations, only to be proven wrong? If so, it might be time to dive deeper so you can truly understand what’s driving ‘em. That’s where the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework comes in handy. By delving into the “jobs” customers are trying to accomplish, you can gain valuable insights into the problems they face and the outcomes they hope to achieve. This information can then be used to inform your product design, marketing strategies, and business decisions. So, if you’re ready to get a clearer picture of your customers and move your business forward, read on, friends!

What is “Jobs to Be Done”?

Jobs to be Done (JTBD) is a framework for understanding customer behavior that emphasizes the idea that people “hire” products or services to help them accomplish specific tasks or achieve certain goals in their lives. For instance, I personally hate to cook. So I might look to “hire” a meal service. (Don’t judge.) This framework is often used in product development, marketing, and customer research to identify and understand the underlying needs and motivations that drive customers to purchase and use certain products. By focusing on the “job” that customers are trying to accomplish, rather than just the features of a product, JTBD can help you create more effective and satisfying products and services.

Overview of the JTBD Framework

The JTBD framework consists of several key concepts and terms:

  • The “job” a customer is trying to do: This is the underlying need or goal the customer has, and it’s the key focus of the JTBD framework. For example, a customer might search for the job of “keep my yard looking neat and tidy” or “make my home feel more secure”.
  • The “job story”: This is a narrative that describes the context, motivation, and outcome of the job. The job story helps you understand your customer’s perspective and their unique pain points. “Push” and “pull” factors: These refer to the external and internal factors that influence someone’s decision to hire a product or service to do a job. “Push” factors are external forces that push the customer to take action, such as a deadline or change in circumstances. “Pull” factors are internal desires or needs that pull them towards a solution.
  • “Progress” and “pain”: These are the two main drivers of customer behavior in the JTBD framework. “Progress” refers to the positive outcome that a customer hopes to achieve by hiring a product or service, like feeling more secure or saving time. “Pain” refers to the negative aspects of the current situation the customer is trying to alleviate, such as feeling unsafe or spending too much time on yard work.
  • “Empathy map”: This is a tool used to understand the customer’s perspective and the different aspects of their experience. It helps you further identify their needs, wants, and pain points, as well as goals and motivations.

By understanding these concepts and terms, you can use the JTBD framework to identify and grasp the underlying needs and motivations of your customers, and create products or services that more effectively address them. Hello, more sales!

Jobs to Be Done Examples in Ecommerce

In the ecommerce industry, you can apply the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework to various aspects of your biz to improve customer satisfaction and drive sales.

Product Development

As we’ve shared, when you understand the jobs your customers are trying to accomplish to solve their problems, you can develop products tailored to those needs. For example, if you’re an e-commerce company that sells outdoor equipment, you might discover your customers are looking for a product that makes it easier to maintain their lawns. Based on this understanding, you could develop a lawn mower with a unique feature that addresses this pain point and makes lawn maintenance easier.

Marketing

You can also create more effective marketing campaigns that speak directly to your customers’ needs. For example, an ecommerce company that sells home security products could create a marketing campaign that emphasizes the “job” of “making your home feel more secure” rather than focusing on product features like “Connects to your phone through an app.”

Personalization

By understanding the jobs different customers want to accomplish, you can create personalized product recommendations and promotions that are more likely to be relevant to your customer. For example, an e-commerce company that sells home appliances could recommend a specific vacuum cleaner or air purifier to a customer looking to improve the air quality in their home. It wouldn’t be relevant to someone who was on the market for a new fridge.

Customer Research and Product Positioning

You can even use the JTBD framework to interview your customers. This can provide valuable insights on improving existing products and services, and help you position your products in a way that’s more appealing to your target customers. For example, an ecommerce company that sells fitness equipment can position their product as a solution to the job of “getting in shape”, rather than just a product to do cardio. Using the jobs to be done framework is ideal for all ecommerce brands that want to create products and services tailored to their customers’ needs and improve satisfaction and sales.

Tools, Processes, and Resources to Use JTBD

Getting started can feel overwhelming if you’re new to the JTBD framework, but there are plenty of tools and resources to help keep you on track.

  • Interviewing tools: Customer interviews with open-ended questions and empathy maps to help guide them can be valuable.
  • Data analysis tools: Tools such as spreadsheets, text analysis software, or qualitative data analysis software can be used to analyze the data you collect and identify patterns and insights.
  • Job story templates: Job stories are a key element of the JTBD framework, and you can use templates to help you create them. Job story templates typically include fields for the customer, the job, the progress, and the pain.
  • Product and service design tools: Design tools such as user personas, user scenarios, and user flow diagrams to help you understand the customer’s perspective and the specific pain points they are trying to solve are also ideal.

Using Your JTBD Findings

Once you’ve collected and analyzed data from customer interviews and other research methods, you can use your findings to inform various aspects of your business.

  • Product development: Use the data to identify specific pain points customers are trying to solve, and use that info to inform product development decisions.
  • Marketing: Use the data to identify jobs customers are trying to accomplish, and use that information to create more effective marketing campaigns that speak to those needs.
  • Personalization: Use the data to understand the needs and pain points of specific segments of customers, and use that info to create personalized product recommendations and promotions that are more likely to be relevant to them.
  • Customer service: Use the data to improve customer service and help you create more effective support strategies that address the specific needs of your customers.
  • Product positioning: Use the data to position your products in a way that is more appealing to your target customers.
  • Business strategy: Use the data to understand the market and trends, and use that info to inform strategic business moves and decision-making.

It’s also important to remember that JTBD is an ongoing process, and you should continue to gather data and update your understanding of your customer needs over time. Once you have implemented changes based on your findings, you should also track the results and monitor the effectiveness of your actions to ensure you’re on target and truly meeting your customers’ needs.

What About Using Jobs to Be Done Templates?

Using a JTBD template is not a requirement when applying the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) framework. That said, templates can be useful in guiding the research process and helping capture and analyze information consistently. They can also help structure and organize the data and insights collected, making it easier to identify patterns and opportunities for innovation. Whether to use a JTBD template depends on your specific needs and the context of your project. You could use a template as a starting point, or you could tailor your own to fit your specific goals and resources. Either way, understanding the JTBD framework and its principles is paramount. The template is just a tool to help you implement it. The keystone thing to focus on is your customer and their needs, and to gather and analyze data in a way that helps you understand why they hire your product or service to solve a problem or achieve a desired outcome.

Steps to Get Started Using the Jobs to Be Done Framework

  • Learn the basics: Familiarize yourself with its key concepts and terminology, so you can better understand how to apply the framework in your business.
  • Identify jobs your customers want to accomplish: Conduct customer research, such as interviews and surveys, to understand the jobs your customers want done and the problems they want solved.
  • Analyze your data: Identify patterns and insights from your customer research. Use tools like spreadsheets, text analysis software, or qualitative data analysis software to help with this process.
  • Create job stories: Craft a narrative that describes the context, motivation, and outcome of the job that the customer is trying to accomplish, using the info you’ve collected.
  • Create a cross-functional team: Again, JTBD is a customer-centric approach that requires heavy team collaboration. Get your team in place early to avoid backpedaling later.
  • Start small: You don’t have to implement JTBD for every aspect of your business at once. Start with a small project or a specific aspect of your business, and then expand as you gain experience.
  • Train your team: JTBD is a customer-centric approach that requires collaboration across different teams, such as product development, marketing, and customer service. It also requires a culture and mindset shift, so ensure your stakeholders understand the framework and how to apply it. You can provide training on JTBD concepts and techniques to help everyone get on the same page.

Ultimately, you need to be patient. The jobs to be done framework is a long-term process that requires time and effort to get results. Rest assured, the results will come, but it won’t be overnight! If you’re ready to get started, we’re here to help.

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