In short, using a Jobs-to-be-Done lens, you can take your understanding of customer needs to the next level. And with the right customer inputs, you can orchestrate the systematic creation of customer value across the organization.
This chapter explains nine tenets of Jobs-to-be-Done Theory and prepares you for applying these tenets to grow your own business. You’ll also find out how Arm & Hammer used these tenets to turn around a streak of lackluster product launches — and grow 30%+ year-over-year.
When looking at marketing and innovation through a jobs-to-be-done lens, a theory begins to emerge.
Jobs to be Done theory consists of a group of principles or tenets that form a foundation for making marketing more effective and innovation more predictable by focusing on the customer’s job-to-be-done.
The theory is based on the notion that people buy products and services to get a “job” done. Jobs Theory goes on to say that by understanding in detail what that “job” entails, you are far more likely to create and market solutions that will win in the marketplace.
Each of these tenets brings new insights into your company’s business practices — increasing the organization’s ability to create and market breakthrough products and services. Let’s look at each in more detail.
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As a customer uses a product or service to get a functional job done, they often want to feel a certain way or be perceived in a certain light by their peers, friends or others. The ways they want to feel and be perceived are called emotional and social jobs-to-be-done.
For example, when parents are trying to pass on life lessons to children (the functional job-to-be-done), they may also want to feel like they are contributing to the advancement of society or want to be perceived as good parents by their peers.
The core functional job is solution agnostic —this means it is independent of any solutions or technologies.
Innovation isn’t about “a faster horse.” A “horse” is a solution to get a job done. The job (transporting yourself from point A to point B) must be defined independently of the solution (the horse). This is how new, breakthrough solutions can be conceptualized (like the automobile).
Customers don’t know what solutions will get a job done best — they couldn’t envision the car or the microwave or the smartphone. But customers do know what job they are trying to get done and can tell you all about it.
Lastly, since the job-to-be-done is solution agnostic, competitors are not only companies that make products like yours. They are any solution (paid and non-paid) that customers use to get the core job done. For example, the bicycle and the car are competing solutions for the job of getting from point a to point b.
Making the job-to-be-done the unit of analysis means it is the job — not the product, the customer, the circumstance, the purchase process or customer demographics — that you need to study, dissect and understand at a granular level of detail.
Since the customer’s job-to-be-done is stable over time, the customer’s needs, when defined as desired outcome statements, are also stable over time.>With a stable set of “needs” in hand, you can:
Knowing which product or service concept will get the job done best early in the product planning stages (prior to development), is the key to predictable and profitable innovation.
We have learned that people aren’t loyal to companies or brands. They are loyal to getting a job done better (faster, more predictably, and with higher output/throughput) and/or more cheaply. They replace existing products and services with those that help them achieve these goals.
We have learned that some people are willing to pay more to get a job done better, while others are willing to pay less to get a job done worse. Knowing what types of customers exist in your market (and in what proportions) forms the foundation for a new way to think about your growth strategy.
There are many products and services available in the market that only get part of a job done. Customers are left to cobble together solutions in order to get the entire job done. But customers don’t want to cobble together the solution. They want a complete solution presented to them.
First, their real customer was the dairy producer, not the nutritionist. By shifting the focus to this customer, Arm & Hammer was able to understand the “job” the dairy producer was trying to get done had little to do with nutrition — and was squarely focused on optimizing dairy herd productivity. The market they were in was dairy producers (a group of people) trying to optimize dairy herd productivity (job-to-be-done).
With this new insight, Arm & Hammer interviewed a dozen dairy producers and uncovered 165 unique desired outcome statements the dairy producer was trying to satisfy. The team then surveyed more dairy herd producers to quantify the degree to which each outcome was under- or overserved by existing products in the market. This was the data they needed to guide their decision making around their new products and take the guesswork out of their innovation process.
The team was surprised to see how many opportunities there were — and how few of them were directly related to nutritional ingredients. These insights told the team to build a new messaging strategy that focused on the specific outcomes that would deliver value to the dairy producers, rather than their traditional approach of focusing on nutritional features.
This change in messaging strategy alone led to year-over-year revenue growth of 30%+.
As Arm & Hammer VP Scott Druker explained.
SUMMARY OF INSIGHTS FROM JOBS-TO-BE-DONE THEORY
When your company thinks about a market from this perspective, you are much more likely to create and deliver extraordinary products and services. Product managers can more successfully conceptualize new products, improve existing products, and prioritize backlog, for example. Marketing managers can use this approach to design web pages, campaigns, and sales pitches that convert, and create content that attracts leads. Executives have the insights they need to align the organization around a common vision, inform M&A activity, and discover new markets to enter.
All thanks to a new lens and a better understanding of the customer’s needs .