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Use Clayton Christensen’s jobs to be done (JTBD) Framework to understand customer needs and develop products to address them.
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The jobs to be done framework was created by the late Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. Basically, it’s all about getting to the heart of why someone buys, uses, or consumes a product or service. The entire framework revolves around one central question:
If you can determine the answer to this question, you’ll have a much better chance of developing a truly successful product or service. Essentially, it solidifies the fact that consumers don’t actually want to buy products or services. They want to buy solutions that will help them solve problems.
Indeed, one of the biggest driving forces behind failed products and services is unmet customer needs. Even worse, there’s often internal misalignment and confusion when it comes to identifying what customer needs are in the first place.
All of the above is why the ‘jobs to be done’ way of thinking is so powerful. It allows teams to identify their customers’ needs and use them to create great offerings to meet those needs.
Matters get a little bit more complicated when further breaking down the JTBD approach. You may have established your customer’s principal need, but there are usually several more related needs that you need to keep in mind to wrap your head around the whole picture.
Accordingly, jobs to be done are broken down into two main categories:
Now, the above two categories can be further broken down into two sub-categories, which are:
Because emotions always make things more complicated, the emotional job aspects sub-category can be specified even further:
The jobs to be done framework is also helpful when assessing how well you fare in comparison to the competition.
In all likelihood, whatever ‘job’ your product does could likely be done by another product as well. That’s where market competition comes in. If a consumer chooses a competitor’s product over your own, your product has essentially been ‘fired’ from its ‘job’ in the JTBD way of thinking.
It can be helpful to develop use cases where your product or service had a ‘job’ and got ‘fired’ in favour of the competition. That way, you can gain insights as to what your competitor may have done better or differently, and how to adjust accordingly in the future.
In order to dive deeper into why jobs to be done surveys are just so effective, take this case study for example. Clayton Christensen himself used the example of a fast-food restaurant wanting to increase their milkshake sales to make a case for this framework.
In order to understand the ‘job’ that the milkshake was being ‘hired’ to do for customers, Christensen’s researchers performed customer interviews at the fast-food restaurant as people purchased their milkshakes. The results that the JTBD interviews yielded turned out to be surprising: 40% of the milkshake buyers were commuters, grabbing a shake to-go first thing in the morning. Clayton Christensen explained the milkshake’s ‘job’ and the overall customer experience as follows:
“Most of them, it turned out, bought [the milkshake] to do a similar job,” he wrote. “They faced a long, boring commute and needed something to keep that extra hand busy and make the commute more interesting. They weren’t yet hungry, but knew that they’d be hungry by 10 a.m.; they wanted to consume something now that would stave off hunger until noon. And they faced constraints: They were in a hurry, wearing work clothes, and had (at most) one free hand.”
The takeaways from this jobs to be done case study are two-fold:
The milkshake’s value proposition only became clear because of the JTBD exercise, which is directly linked to improving sales.
Whether you work for a startup or a large, well-established business, outcome-driven innovation isn’t possible unless you’re able to isolate the ‘job’ that your new feature, product, or service is satisfying for your customers.
Using the JTBD framework is all about getting to the heart of why someone buys, uses, or consumes something.
You can run a jobs to be done survey at any stage of product development:
All of the above situations are great times to carry out JTBD research. You don’t even have to be a professional researcher or have tons of experience to do so.
It can be a challenge to figure out what types of questions you should ask in order to produce the actionable insights you need. Luckily, our JTBD template is here to help you out. It was designed by our in-house team of researchers…so you can rest assured that they’re tried and tested. Your desired outcome is only a survey away – no interview script required.
Our research experts have created free survey templates to get you started. To use our jobs to be done framework, all you need to do is sign up for an account.
Luckily, you don’t need to be an expert researcher to understand a product or service’s job. Simply use our JTBD template!
To use our jobs to be done template, sign up to the Attest platform on our website. If you’re already a customer, all you have to do is sign into your account on the Attest Dashboard and get going.
You’ll be able to choose which template you want to work with when you begin creating a survey. We’ve got several other survey templates available to choose from, so keep your eyes peeled for those too!
Attest is an always-on, end-to-end survey platform where you can draft your own survey questions, target audiences and surface actionable insights, all in one place and in real-time. Unlike working with a research agency or conducting a focus group, Attest’s is a best-in-class technology platform that is truly end-to-end. With built-in demographic breakdowns, 7 different question types, and respondents at the ready, you can test a new idea, track brand awareness, and uncover consumer trends all in one platform.
With our professional plan you can access our audience of 125 million consumers across 59 countries, with our free plan you can still make use of our powerful survey builder and analysis platform, while sending surveys to your own contacts.
With our professional plan, customers use us for concept testing surveys, value proposition development, and a ton of new product development.
With our free plan, access the platform for free to set up customer feedback or employee experience surveys to get a feel for what you can do.
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