Why use Jobs To Be Done in your strategy

Diana Serban

by Diana Serban

We know that a company must have a great understanding of the market to succeed. And as a business owner, you have to be a visionary and develop a well-documented growth strategy.

Still, you fail to innovate, and you might think that you have lost the capacity to do this.

Innovation refers to the concept of product, process, or service improvement, not only to things done differently.

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Companies tend to consider innovation as a puzzle of research, ideas and development of new products and solutions, focusing their efforts on product-driven strategies only to sell better.

But if you eliminate the product out of your tactics and rather put the client first, you will be surprised by how your efforts pay off.

According to Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor, the one who invented the „disruptive innovation” concept, people need to stop selling products and services to customers, and instead think about their „jobs-to-be-done”.

But what does a „job to be done” mean?


The Job To Be Done is a framework that makes you see your products or solutions as jobs that customers need to get done.

Clients have a problem that they want to solve and get their job done, so they „hire” your product or service.

By studying the job that people are trying to get done and not on the products that come and go, you are focusing on the customers’ needs and their primary motivation.

Take corporate or personal branding photography for example.

You may think that the employee or the business owner wants their headshot to be taken for Linkedin or a famous newspaper. They want a photographer to take pictures of them. As simple as that. But not quite.

Consider their fundamental motivation. Behind the need for a simple photo service, you will understand that they want to create a powerful, professional image of themselves that truly sells (get a better job, show that a strong personality represents the company, etc).

Start defining the market. The photographer is the job executor, and „trying to create an empowering image of the business owner” is the job-to-be-done.

When you define the market using this point of view, you take into account a new kind of market analysis, and your goal becomes discovering how your clients struggle to get the job done, instead of analyzing what type of photoshoot or equipment works for them.

Examples of Jobs to be done

One of the most eloquent examples would be: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole.”, according to Professor Theodore Levitt from Harvard Business School.

Companies should create strategies around the needs that the customers have (the quarter-inch hole), not the products that they have always sold (the quarter-inch-drills).

For a clearer view on the JTBDs, we’ve found a diagram that covers the six elements of this concept: https://experiencinginformation.com/2016/10/23/a-practical-model-for-jobs-to-be-done-jtbd/

Jim Kalbach explains that „there are three dimensions of a given job:

  • Functional job – the actions a person takes or the task at hand
  • Emotional job – how people feel while completing a job
  • Social job – Aspects of a social job reflect how someone is perceived by others”

„The context of the job is also a part of the model. This includes three elements:

  • Situation – the circumstances of a job
  • Motivation – the trigger that led to action, often a problem or challenge to overcome
  • Desired outcome – the expected result, by which a person will measure success”

Jobs to be done theory gives companies a better understanding of what clients need and how they will make decisions, allowing them to become market leaders.

Your business success depends on good customer service. Here are some facts about McDonald’s study on milkshakes.

„When McDonald’s wanted to improve sales of its milkshakes, it hired researchers to figure out what characteristics its customers cared about.

Should the shakes be thicker? Sweeter? Colder? Almost all of the researches focused on the product. But one of them, Gerald Berstell, chose to ignore the shakes themselves and study the customers instead.”

He discovered that if people wanted to eat while they were driving, they needed a product they could hold with one hand, that lasted the entire distance.


„Jobs to be done” concept remains a set of marketing rules that show you how to create a more effective business strategy, by focusing on the customer’s fundamental needs.

People don’t stay loyal to brands or companies. They are committed to getting their job done better, quicker, and at a more competitive price.

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So from now on, when defining your business plan, you should ask yourself how you can fulfil your customers’ jobs to be done in more effective ways.

Bear in mind the following framework:

The job is about the customer.

The feature + benefits are about the product.

Diana Serban Diana Serban