JTBD Research: Create Offerings that Truly Meet Market Demand

The Jobs to Be Done Methodology

Customer-centric JTBD research to create offerings that truly manufacture market demand.

Bastian Moritz
Feb 2024

The Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) methodology is a framework used to understand and categorize the underlying reasons why consumers purchase and use products or services. The central premise is that consumers "hire" products to perform specific jobs. These jobs typically arise out of specific circumstances or needs. By identifying these jobs, you can develop or improve offerings to meet these needs more effectively.

By integrating the JTBD framework, you can achieve a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, which in turn leads to more effective product development and in our case growth, marketing, and sales strategies. This customer-centric approach helps in creating products that truly resonate with market needs and thus stand a better chance of success in competitive markets.

The Job of JTBD Theory: To frame product and service development around the specific objectives (jobs) customers are trying to achieve.

The Core Components:

  • Functional Jobs: Tasks customers want to perform.
  • Social Jobs: How customers want to be perceived.
  • Emotional Jobs: How customers want to feel.

Application: Guides innovation by focusing on unmet customer jobs.

What is Jobs to Be Done?

The Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) framework is an approach to understanding consumer behavior that focuses on the "jobs" customers need to accomplish in a certain environment (contextual). So, a job refers to what an individual really seeks to accomplish in a given circumstance.

This methodology helps organizations develop products and services that customers truly want and need by shifting the focus from the product features to the job it performs for the customer.

Originating from Clayton Christensen's innovation theory, the JTBD framework has evolved to become a cornerstone of customer-centric business strategy. It is premised on the belief that understanding the job for which customers “hire” a product or service enables organizations to innovate and improve in ways that are highly relevant to their customers.

The 4 Core Concepts of the JTBD Framework

A foundational understanding of the JTBD methodology and its components helps you apply these principles in various contexts and practical business scenarios, so you can better drive innovation and strategic growth.

1. Customer Jobs

A Customer Job is the task or goal the consumer is trying to accomplish.

Customer jobs can be categorized into three main types:

  • functional (tasks e.g., cut grass),
  • social (how people want to be perceived e.g., gain peer recognition), and
  • emotional (how people want to feel e.g., feel confident).

Recognizing these categories helps clarify different aspects of a single job or multiple jobs being addressed simultaneously.

Identifying the exact nature of the customer's job is crucial because it forms the basis for all further exploration and innovation. It enables you to craft solutions that are precisely tailored to what customers are actually trying to achieve.

2. Circumstances

Job Circumstances are specific conditions under which and situations that trigger the need for a job to be done. These can significantly influence how a job is defined and prioritized by the customer.

Understanding the circumstances surrounding a job allows you to design your offerings to be more accessible and useful exactly when the customer needs them.

3. Job Executors Roles

Job Executors are the individuals or groups who perform or are responsible for getting the job done. They may vary widely in their capabilities and experiences, which means understanding their perspectives can highlight different needs or approaches to the same job and affecting job completion rates.

Knowing who the executors are can provide insights into designing solutions that accommodate varying levels of expertise, preferences, and physical or economic constraints.

4. Job Outcomes

Job Outcomes are the desired states or results that executors aim to achieve upon completing the job. These outcomes are critical for measuring the success of a job solution.

Outcomes are often quantified through specific “success of job execution” metrics – or have some measurable criteria to make it possible to gauge how well your product or service performs the job and delivers value to your ideal customer.

Application of JTBD

This section is a mere overview of the key steps for identifying, categorizing, and evaluating jobs within the Jobs to Be Done methodology. But it’s solid foundation to get started.

Step 1: Identification of Jobs

Identifying Jobs involves qualitative research techniques such as interviews, ethnographic studies, and customer journey mapping to discover the jobs customers are trying to get done.

A cross-functional approach that involves team members from product development, marketing, sales, and customer support helps identify solutions focused on the most critical customer jobs identified. And it ensures all departments align with the customer-centric vision.

  • Start with qualitative research focused on understanding the core jobs your customers are trying to get done.
  • Customer Interviews: Conduct in-depth discussions with customers to explore the tasks they are trying to accomplish and the challenges they face. Meaning, the job of these interviews should also aim to uncover not just what customers are doing, but why they are doing it, revealing underlying needs and frustrations.
  • Observational Studies: Watch how customers use products or services in their natural environment to identify jobs you might not uncover through interviews alone.
  • Customer Journey Mapping: Analyze the complete series of steps customers undertake to fulfill a specific job, noting pain points and opportunities for improvement.

Tools and Resources for Identifying Jobs

  • Interview guides tailored to uncovering not just what customers do, but why they do it.
  • Journey maps that visualize the customer's process from start to finish.

Step 2: Categorization of Jobs

Functional, Social, and Emotional Jobs

Jobs are divided into functional (practical tasks), social (how users want to be perceived by others), and emotional (how users want to feel) categories.

Each category can provide unique insights into product design and marketing strategies.


Jobs can be segmented by demographics, behaviors, or circumstances, providing a clearer picture of who is performing the job and under what conditions.

Step 3: Evaluation of Jobs

Not all identified jobs have the same level of importance or frequency. Prioritizing which jobs to address can be based on their frequency, the customer’s level of satisfaction with current solutions, and the potential for differentiation.

Job Prioritization

Evaluate the identified jobs based on their frequency, importance to the customer, and current satisfaction with existing solutions.

Prioritize jobs that offer the highest potential for impact and differentiation in the market.

Job Validation

Use surveys, focus groups, or beta testing with prototypes to validate the importance and specifications of the jobs identified.

Adjust the prioritization based on customer feedback and competitive analysis.

Step 4: Specification of Jobs

Detailed descriptions of the jobs help in designing solutions. This includes defining the job steps, required outcomes, and the circumstances in which the job is executed.

Detailed Job Descriptions

Develop comprehensive descriptions that capture all aspects of the job, including required steps, desired outcomes, and associated circumstances.

These descriptions should be clear enough to guide the development of solutions.

Outcome Specification

Define the success metrics for each job. These metrics should be measurable and directly linked to customer satisfaction and business objectives.

Step 5: Strategic Planning

By having followed these steps, we can anticipate demands for our ideal customers, thereby sustaining long-term growth and competitiveness.

Now it is time to make decisions and translate our deep customer insights into actionable business strategies. For example, we can:

  • Integrate the findings from the JTBD analysis into product development, marketing, and strategic planning.
  • Design products and services that not only meet the identified jobs but also exceed customer expectations in performing those jobs. With a clear understanding of the job, develop products or services that do the job better than any current offerings. This could involve product innovation, service improvements, or entirely new offerings.
    Implement small-scale pilot projects to quickly test assumptions from the JTBD analysis. This can be a new feature, a service tweak, or an entirely new product line aimed at fulfilling a specific job in a new or better way. The goal is to learn quickly and refine the approach based on real customer feedback.
  • Value Proposition Design: Align the product’s features and benefits with the job requirements to create a compelling value proposition that clearly communicates why the product is the best choice for that job.
  • JTBD helps in segmenting the market based on the jobs rather than demographics, allowing for more targeted marketing and product development strategies.

Immediate ROI-Enhancing Actions

  1. Revise Value Propositions: Revisit your marketing messages and value propositions to ensure they are framed around the jobs that your products or services fulfill, rather than just listing features or functions. This can make your communications more relatable and effective.
  2. Enhance Customer Segmentation: Use JTBD insights to redefine market segments based not on demographics but on the specific jobs-to-be-done. This refined segmentation can lead to more targeted and effective marketing strategies.

JTBD as Customer-centric Business Strategy

The Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) methodology is not just an isolated tool but integrates into a broader strategic framework that enhances your organization's ability to innovate and remain competitive.

JTBD shifts the focus from the product to the customer, emphasizing deep understanding of customer needs and behaviors.

The JTBD methodology fits within a larger business strategy model by serving as a foundational element for user-centered design, innovation, and market segmentation. Its application stretches across product development, marketing, customer experience, and strategic business decisions.

JTBD as a business model encourages organizations to break away from traditional feature-based competition and instead innovate based on unmet and often unarticulated customer needs.

It encompasses the entire organization from the customer experience, your marketing and communication down all the way to the core of strategic innovation. As such JTBD can drive disruptive innovation by identifying jobs that are poorly served by existing solutions or discovering entirely new jobs. For example, the rise of ride-sharing services addressed the job of "getting from point A to point B" in a way that traditional taxi services could not match in terms of convenience and cost.

On the customer journey level, understanding the customer's entire journey – and not just where they come into contact with your brand and your product experience – to accomplish a job can reveal pain points and opportunities for improvement. For instance, banks have redesigned their onboarding processes by understanding the job of "managing finances" to make the process quicker and less cumbersome.

Last but not not least your marketing and sales strategies can be designed around jobs rather than just product features. This aligns communication more closely with your ideal user’s actual needs and how the product or service fulfills them, potentially increasing market penetration and customer loyalty.


By embedding the JTBD methodology into your strategic planning and execution, you create a more agile, responsive approach to market demands, leading to sustainable growth and improved competitive advantage.

Deep customer understanding is critical in driving such innovation and efficiency across product and customer development and marketing and sales strategies.

Deep customer understanding also is high cost.

So what is the ROI of having insights into your ideal customers jobs?

  1. Increased Market Share: Products designed to meet specific jobs more effectively tend to outperform those that do not. This precision in design and marketing can lead to increased market share.
  2. Enhanced Customer Loyalty: Products that consistently address the evolving needs associated with a job foster customer loyalty, as users are less likely to seek alternative solutions when their needs are met effectively.
  3. Reduced Development Costs: By focusing development efforts on features and innovations that meet well-defined jobs, companies can reduce the risk of costly missteps and product feature bloat that does not add value from the customer's perspective.
  4. Higher Pricing Power: Products that are perceived as better job performers can command a premium price, especially if they are differentiated based on the job they accomplish rather than just the features they offer.

The insights gained from JTBD research can improve decision-making across your organization, leading to products and services that are more closely aligned with customer needs and less likely to fail in the marketplace.

High-ROI JTBD Initiatives For Startups

Startups can implement certain high-ROI initiatives and strategic JTBD actions as well to focus their customer-centric growth and improving competitive positioning.

  1. Lean JTBD Validation: Before fully developing a product, use the JTBD framework to validate the concept by identifying the most pressing jobs for your target market. This can involve informal interviews, surveys, or use of minimal viable products (MVPs) to test the job hypothesis in a real-world environment.
  2. Focus on Niche Jobs: Startups can find great success by focusing on niche jobs that are underserved by the market. By addressing these specific jobs with tailored solutions, a startup can carve out a unique market space quickly.
  3. Iterative Product Development: Employ iterative development techniques, using JTBD findings to refine the product continuously based on customer feedback about how well the product is completing the intended job. This minimizes the risk of developing features that do not add real value.
  4. Customer Development: Integrating Customer Development with JTBD ensures your offerings are not only desired by the market but also fit the specific, evolving jobs of your customers. This approach minimizes the risk of product-market misfit and enhances the startup’s ability to achieve sustainable growth and scalability.
  5. Build a JTBD Culture: Integrate JTBD thinking into the startup’s culture from the ground up. This involves training all team members to think about products and services in terms of customer jobs, ensuring that every decision supports the fundamental goal of better serving these jobs.
  6. Resource Allocation Based on JTBD Insights: Allocate your limited resources (time, budget, manpower) to develop features or services that address the most valuable jobs identified through your research. This ensures that every dollar spent is maximized for impact.

Implementing these initiatives can provide significant ROI by ensuring that both product development and marketing efforts are tightly aligned with actual customer needs and behaviors.

For established companies, this can lead to more efficient use of resources and enhanced customer loyalty. For startups, it offers a path to quickly establish a market presence with a product or service that meets a clear, existing demand.


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