Understand your audience’s motivations with the Jobs to Be Done methodology – WAU

Jobs to Be Done is a methodology for getting to know your customers better. Have you ever thought that they buy from your company not for the product itself, but for the task it solves? This is the perspective of this methodology. Understand better now!

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Do you think people buy clothes just to get dressed? It is definitely not just that: they can seek self-esteem, status, comfort or a series of other meanings that a product carries.

Understanding these motivations is an important marketing task, which underpins all your actions. And that’s what the Jobs to Be Done methodology was created for.

From this perspective, what matters is not exactly the buying behavior of the public, which is often the focus of marketing research.

The starting point is to identify what the consumer wants to solve in his life – and from there, understand which product or marketing approach you should use as a solution for it.

Is it still unclear what the methodology is? We are here to clarify everything! Now understand what Jobs to Be Done is, what are its advantages and how to apply it in your company to have more results.

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What is the Jobs to Be Done methodology?

Jobs to Be Done is a methodology to better understand the consumer behavior, from a change in perspective, with the intention of making marketing more efficient and innovation more predictable and profitable.

It works like a lens, through which you look at competitors and consumers differently, centered on customer needs.

With this lens, you no longer seek to understand what the public wants to buy: what matters is what does he want to solve.

This perspective understands that people don’t buy for the product itself – they buy to help solve something.

The “jobs to be done”, therefore, are life situations that consumers want to change.

Does an athlete need more motivation to run? So, he buys a sneaker for that.

Does a couple need to get to know each other better? Dining at a restaurant helps.

Does a family want more security? Acquire a home of his own. And so on.

In general, all the tasks that people need to perform (or jobs that they need to solve) have a functional, social or emotional dimension.

Running shoes, for example, are objectively designed to put on your feet and run. However, a person can buy it to resolve an emotional issue: the motivation it elicits.

It is up to the companies, then, to identify what are the motivating factors of their audience and how the products and services can help to solve them. In doing so, they are more likely to create solutions that will succeed in the market.

Where did it come from?

The Jobs to Be Done concept was popularized by Clayton Christensen, a professor of management at Harvard Business School and known for his studies in innovation.

His first book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma” (1997), became a classic.

Intrigued by the issue of innovation, Christensen questioned in the book why large companies failed to launch new products on the market, which did not meet consumer expectations.

Later, based on these reflections, the author wrote an article for Harvard Business Review, in 2005, called “Marketing Malpractice: The Cause and the Cure”.

The text begins by saying that 30,000 new products are launched every year. Companies invest heavily in research and technology, but still, more than 90% of these launches fail in the market. A new model was needed.

So, it offers a new perspective to rethink market segmentation and innovation.

The proposal is simple: just look under the customers’ point of view and understand that they just want to solve something in their life.

When people find themselves having to “do a job” (or get a job done), they “hire” products or services for that.

The job of the marketer, then, is to understand which “jobs” appear in the lives of customers periodically and design products and experiences that serve to resolve them.

This theory then came to be called “Jobs to Be Done”.

What do McDonald’s milkshakes have to do with JTBD?

An emblematic case that serves to exemplify the application of the theory was McDonald’s challenge to increase sales of milkshakes in its stores.

What would they do for that? Would you simply apply a feedback survey? Would you ask customers why they were not buying or how would they like the product to be delivered? The company probably wouldn’t get the results it wanted.

Wanted to guide McDonald’s in this task, Clayton Christensen suggested applying the Jobs to be Done lens.

Then, a member of his team spent 18 hours just watching customers.

What time did people buy milkshakes? What did they wear? Were they alone? Did they consume the product at the store or take it away?

From these observations, it was noticed that half of the milkshakes were sold early in the morning and taken to the car.

Asked why they did this, customers responded that they wanted a product that would accompany them while driving to work and kill their hunger by mid-morning.

Therefore, they didn’t exactly want to buy a milkshake – they wanted something to solve that situation.

So McDonald’s started producing a thicker breakfast milkshake, with pieces of fruit, that would last longer and feed well.

Thus, the company did not just offer a better product. It has managed to transform the journey to work more pleasant and efficient for the consumer. Consequently, sales increased sharply.

What is the Jobs to Be Done methodology used for?

Basically, the Jobs to Be Done methodology is adopted to better understand consumers.

You could say that this is very simple today. After all, companies have never had so much data available on consumer behavior.

Just give a Google and read research and articles on the most diverse subjects. Analyze Google Analytics and collect thousands of information about your website’s users. Create online questionnaires and ask questions directly to the consumer.

Yes, the tools available today are numerous. However, launching a new product on the market and succeeding in sales is still a challenge. Why does it happen?

According to Christensen, companies are going in the wrong direction when it comes to innovating.

The huge amount of data available generates demographic and psychographic information and serves to segment the audience, but not to identify what really matters: What do consumers need to address in a given circumstance in their life?

From this questioning, it is possible to find out what really motivates consumers and how to fit their strategies into it. Thus, Jobs to Be Done can be used on different fronts.

Choose a market to enter

Companies and startups analyze market opportunities to take advantage of an unmet need or improve an existing solution.

For this, it is necessary to analyze which jobs have enough people trying to solve and few companies to serve them.

Decide which product to create

The Jobs to Be Done methodology is intrinsically linked to innovation. And, when innovating, companies launch products that still do not have a history in the market, without knowing how the repercussion will be.

The Jobs to Be Done methodology then helps to mitigate the risks involved in innovation and create products that the public is most likely to buy.

Develop a more efficient product

Remember the McDonald’s example? The result of the process was the creation of a thicker and more nutritious milkshake.

Therefore, the JTBD methodology can also be used to observe the uses made of the product and to identify points of improvement to create a better experience for customers.

Improve the purchase process

Jobs to Be Done can also help improve the shopping experience.

McDonald’s, for example, needed to offer an agile buying process, as consumers couldn’t be late for work.

Then, when identifying the “job to be done”, the company also realized a point to improve the purchase process.

Create a more efficient marketing approach

This is one of the main uses that we want to highlight. Many companies focus on reporting the characteristics of their product that make it stand out in the market, right?

However, that is not what the consumer wants to know. Therefore, when focusing on the customer’s needs with JTBD, marketing also changes perspective: it must tell the story of how the product solves the consumer’s job.

In Content Marketing, this is also what you must do. Instead of emphasizing that your product is good for this or that, try to show in your content what value they deliver to help the consumer in some situation of his life.

How to apply the JTBD framework?

JTBD is not a complex theory. It’s just about changing the lens through which you look at consumers. However, applying this theory can be a little more complicated.

To do this, you must follow some steps, which make up a framework to apply Jobs to Be Done successfully. These steps are detailed in this link. Now see a step by step:

1. Define the market around the “job to be done”

The first step is to identify the market opportunity that you will take advantage of. And, for that, it is necessary to segment the public, based on their needs.

Under the lens of Jobs to Be Done, segment is the group of people who have the same “job to be done”.

Thus, the most attractive group tends to be the one whose job has more people wanting to solve and fewer companies serving them.

Realize that the focus of the segmentation is not the public, but the job – it is what you should look at.

2. Discover the results expected by consumers

In the second stage of the framework, you must understand what the needs of that market segment are.

In the McDonald’s example, the job of eating and being distracted on the way to work involves a number of needs, such as getting to work in clean clothes and on time.

These are the results that the customer expects in that situation – understood as their success metrics – and that the shopping experience should provide.

It is important to remember that the functional dimension, as in the example above, is essential.

But it is also necessary to understand what are the social and emotional needs customers.

How does the person want to feel when doing the job? How does she want to be (or avoid being) perceived? Thus, you also understand the expected immaterial results.

3. Quantify the degree to which the job is being served

Once you’ve identified the job and the needs of consumers, it’s time to look at the competition.

Are there already solutions to the situation that the customer wants to resolve? Are they satisfying all needs? Is there a better idea that you can offer?

Therefore, identify if the job is neglected or if there are already many solutions for it. That way, you also find out if there is room in that market.

4. Discover hidden opportunities

One of the results of adopting the JTBD methodology is to identify hidden opportunities in the market. This is because segmentation is based on customer needs.

On the other hand, traditional segmentation, based on demographic and psychographic profiles or even the description of personas, can hide some opportunities.

When you segment in this way, a good portion of customers may not have their needs met, as they face different complexities.

An example is a trader who uses a saw to cut wood in a straight line.

For him, that product satisfies his need. However, another trader needs to do the same thing, but with a much larger production volume and with longer woods.

For this customer, the difficulty of using the product is greater – and there is an under-served need in the market.

By adopting JTBD lenses, you identify a new market segment, based on this need that is not being well met.

5. Align existing products with opportunities

After identifying jobs, apparent needs and hidden needs, analyze how your current products can take advantage of these opportunities.

That is the definition of Market strategy for your portfolio, whose intention is to increase sales of existing products.

How can they fit into each identified segment? In some cases, it is enough to make an adjustment in the communication strategy of the product, to involve the public with an eye on their needs and differentiate themselves from the competitors.

Other cases require an adaptation of the functional attributes that the product carries, to better serve the public.

This is what happened with McDonald’s, which made adjustments to its milkshake with the intention of delivering the ideal product to perform the customer’s job.

6. Create new products to meet customers’ unmet needs

Are there unmet needs in the market? So, there is an opportunity for your company to create a product with more chances of success in the market.

He will find resonance in the public, who have a latent need and still do not have an efficient solution to it.

But don’t think you need to reinvent the wheel, okay? Innovating does not necessarily mean inventing something unusual.

You can start from products and technologies that already exist, but offer a new solution that solves the consumer’s job more efficiently.

That’s what happened, for example, with transportation apps like Uber and Cabify.

Taxis served the population, but they were not the ideal solution that passengers needed.

There was a need to simplify calling by a driver and receive better service, not just being transported.

So, applications became the ideal product to do the job of consumers.

How to apply JTBD in the best way?

Below are some tips on how to apply the Jobs to Be Done methodology in your business efficiently.

1. Conduct job-focused surveys

Marketing research is often focused on the product. Who has never answered a feedback questionnaire asking what you think about that product or what could improve on it?

This is the most common approach, but it can hide real needs from the public. Instead, the JTBD methodology asks you to focus your research on what the consumer wants to solve.

The McDonald’s example shows that, first, the team was dedicated to simply observing customer behavior.

From the notes, it was possible to move on to the second step: questioning how that experience could be better – not directly how to improve that product, you know?

The focus on the solution comes only after.

2. Use big data

In the information age we live in, the amount of data available on the consumer cannot be wasted.

Tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar allow you to analyze user behavior and understand what they are looking for.

The internal search of a website, for example, can bring valuable information about your customer’s doubts and needs – and that your products and content may not be solving.

Hotjar’s heat maps, on the other hand, help to understand the most sought-after content and the paths the customer takes to accomplish what he wants.

That way, you can extract strategic information to create products or enhance your current portfolio.

In the case of digital products, such as software and applications, these tools can be even more useful, as they allow you to analyze the use of the product itself.

3. Understand who your competitors are

Do you think that your competitors are those companies that operate in the same market and sell the same products as you? From the perspective of JTBD, this is not the case.

In the case of McDonald’s, for example, who were the competitors? You probably thought of Burger King, didn’t you?

However, from the consumer’s point of view, the milkshake competitor in that situation could be a coffee, a banana or a donut, for example, which would serve to distract the customer while driving to work.

However, these alternatives might not keep the customer satisfied until mid-morning, or they would not leave a free hand to drive.

Therefore, identify who your competitors are – and what are your differentiators from them – requires you to put yourself in the customers’ shoes and identify what solutions he could adopt to solve that job.

4. Alie personas and Jobs to Be Done

Here on the blog, we always emphasize the importance of building personas to develop your Content Marketing strategy.

However, many professionals argue that the Jobs to Be Done methodology is more efficient and could replace personas.

What do we suggest, then? Combine the two techniques.

Personas are user-centered, while JTBD is centered on your needs.

Then, you can conduct surveys that identify the jobs that the public needs to perform and the needs that need to be met.

Then, this information can be transformed into the description of the persona, focused on performing the job. The great benefit of building the persona is the creation of empathy, since JTBD treats data in a colder way.

You may also be interested in these other contents!

Buyer personas and Jobs to be Done: know the differences

Target audience and personas: understand the difference and how to apply

The fantastic Personas Generator

5. Align Jobs to Be Done with branding

Brands that are easily associated with a job have strong branding. See some examples of companies and the jobs associated with them:

  • Find answers: Google;
  • Have more energy: Red Bull;
  • Book a accommodation: Booking;

So, work so that your brand or your product is easily recognized as the solution for a job.

This helps the consumer to save effort to think what to do to solve something – your company is already there in his mind as the answer.

Which companies have already been successful with Jobs to Be Done?

McDonald’s milkshake is a very didactic example of applying the Jobs to Be Done methodology.

But many other companies have already adopted this perspective and have been more successful in launching new products or enhancing their existing portfolio.

Let’s see some cases now!

1. Microsoft

In 2004, Microsoft needed to resume sales and add value to its Software Assurance offering.

When analyzing the jobs of the decision makers of the companies that hired the service – managers and IT professionals -, Microsoft realized a series of needs that were not being met.

It was enough to adopt the consumer’s view to understand their expectations.

From a software lifecycle perspective, the company saw opportunities related to the acquisition and deployment (in the beginning), maintenance, training and security (in the middle) and disposal of old computers (in the end).

The biggest discovery, however, was to realize that the solutions had already been developed internally. That is, it would not be necessary to start from scratch. It was enough to package the internal products for commercial use to meet the needs of the public.

In addition, there was also a revision in the marketing approach: instead of talking about Software Assurance as a mere update, the company began to treat the service as managing the life cycle of the PC to adapt to changes.

2. Snickers

Snickers chocolate bars have taken the Jobs to Be Done approach in several marketing pieces over the years. Ads like this, from the 80’s, exemplify how the company understood what consumers needed – something simple, fast and nutritious to eat, that would not disturb all the chores of your routine.

Then, the product was positioned as a solution for this. According to the company’s publicity, the Snickers could kill hunger as long as the person did not eat a complete meal.

On the packaging, this was clear: “Snickers satisfies”.

3. Arm & Hammer

The Arm & Hammer case shows how applying Jobs to be Done can bring effective results.

After adopting the methodology, the company had a 30% growth in revenues. How did this happen?

The company works with animal nutrition products. To get feedback information, Arm & Hammer sought to speak to nutritionists, who could tell what was good or bad about the product.

However, the JTBD approach helped to clarify that they were talking to the wrong people.

Who should be consulted were the dairy producers, who were their final customers, although they did not sell directly to them.

Research with them showed that there were a number of unmet needs that made it difficult to perform the job: to optimize the productivity of the herd.

So the company understood that the dairy producer was the audience for whom they needed create value.

Therefore, the marketing strategy was aimed at showing how the product helped to bring more productivity to the herd, and no longer talk about the benefits and resources of the product, as it was done before. Thus, the approach became more accurate.

So, did you like to know the Jobs to Be Done methodology? Realize how it can be applied to improve your product and marketing strategies by better understanding your audience’s motivations.

Instead of going for ideas and solutions, the proposal is to look first at the needs of consumers and then create the right strategies for them.

That change in perspective may be what you need to create or improve products and approaches that are successful in the market.

Now, also learn about how to do market research, which will help your company find the best opportunities.