"Jobs to be Done" (JTBD) is a customer discovery framework developed by Clayton Christensen, a professor who taught at Harvard Business School. This framework is based on the idea that people don’t “buy” products or services, but instead “hire” them. Thinking about your business from a "Jobs to be Done" perspective helps small business owners and entrepreneurs understand the underlying motivations and goals of their customers when they "hire" a product or service to help them overcome an obstacle or get a job done.
For small business owners, it shifts the focus away from creating traditional demographic or psychographic customer segments to identifying the functional, social, and emotional aspects that drive a customers decision-making processes. In doing so, you can better understand how your products and services fit into their lives, and get “hired” for the job.
The core concept of Jobs to be Done is that customers "hire" products or services to help them get a specific job or task done in their lives. This job can be anything that customers are trying to achieve, solve, or improve upon. The framework also suggests that customers don't necessarily buy products or services for their features, but because they help them make progress in their lives and address specific needs they have. This 4-minute video explains it well:
the key elements of the Jobs to be Done framework:
A job refers to the main task or goal that customers are trying to accomplish or the problem they are trying to solve. It represents the functional, social, or emotional progress they seek in their lives. For example, a job might be "figuring out prices for my product," "getting my house painted" or "finding a babysitter".
Needs and constraints:
Customers have specific needs and constraints associated with the job they want to be done. “Needs” are the desired outcomes or requirements they have, while “constraints” can be factors such as time, cost, convenience, or existing alternatives.
The Jobs to be Done framework emphasizes the importance of understanding the context in which customers are trying to accomplish the job. This includes considering their circumstances, environment, motivations, and any influencing factors that shape their decision-making process.
Functional, emotional, and social dimensions:
Functional dimensions involve the practical aspects and desired outcomes. Emotional dimensions encompass the feelings and desires customers associate with the job. Social dimensions relate to how the job affects their relationships and social interactions.
By applying the Jobs to be Done framework, small businesses can gain insights into their customers' motivations, pain points, and unmet needs which allows them to design and position their products or services to better address the specific jobs customers want to be done. It also helps identify opportunities for innovation and uncover new market segments or under-served customer groups.
Overall, the Jobs to be Done framework provides a customer-focused approach that goes beyond traditional demographics or product attributes and it enables business owners to understand and meet customers' underlying needs to be able to create products or services that sell because they are aligned with the job their customers need to get done.