Thoughts, resources, articles
Know thy job, not the customer

The Job-To-Be-Done (JTBD) framework has been one of the more popular concepts in the business world for the last decade. From market evaluation to product development, there are many applications of this framework that you can use to inform your organization (even outside the marketing department) once you master it.

Take out pen and paper to follow along.

Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash

What is it?

It is a framework to help you understand why and how people buy the products they do.

If you have 7 mins to spare, watch this video. (Else skip below for the summary)


  • People have needs. They hire your products to solve those needs.
  • Those jobs might have nothing to do with their demographical information
  • Competition, Market Size and Value can only truly be determined after a clear understanding of the Job
  • Marketing: Sell the dimensions that matter in that Job
  • Product (Merchandising): Improve on the dimensions that matter in that Job

What does this mean for personas?

As marketers, we all want to better reach our customer. Unfortunately, we have often been taught that in order to understand our customer, we need to craft and ideal persona type. (Blond, Age 20-35, Male, High to Middle Income, Location).

Try is short exercise. Write down-

  • Your ethnicity
  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Your income bracket
  • Your country

Think of 5 other people who might fall into those same baskets.

Do they shop the same way you do?

It sounds so ridiculous when we put it this way, so why do we do it?

The short answer, because it "feels scientific".

As marketers, we often are tasked with running ads (online and/or offline). In order to justify that we are getting better at our job, we start "targeting" certain groups that indicate that they either have a better Lifetime Value or Customer Acquisition Cost. If it doesn't work, we just try to target another group.

This is dangerous fake work.

If we are segmenting customer groups on dimensions that we know don't matter, we are claiming a false positive and casting aside the other segments without actually understanding why.

"Based on the ads we ran last month, the 30-32 age group are much better spenders than the 33-36 group "- Confused Marketing Team.

"WOW, you must be doing a great job"- Manager who doesn't know better.

Slow Shift Away

This is, of course, not to say that such an approach should be completely disregarded. It can still be used at the first layer of our targeting. It just shouldn't be the sole method of targeting.

Besides, thats how we structure ads for social media isn't it?

Photo by Alex Haney / Unsplash

Getting Started with JTBD

Lets' talk about markets. What creates a market?

For our purposes, a Market consist of (1) a Job executor and (2) a Job to be done. In this scenario, you are the job executor.

Here are some examples of the same market, Job executors and Job to be done

  1. Music Industry:
    "Record label signing indie bands" + "I want to listen to indie music"
  2. Music Industry:
    "Spotify, Pandora" + "I want to listen to music anywhere"
  3. Music Industry:
    "Earphone brands (Beats)" + "I care about the 'highest-sound quality"

It takes some practice to get this right. Take some time now.

Write down 3-5 possibilities on that piece of paper you have.
(Take 10 mins to really think about it)

person holding pen with coffee on table
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson / Unsplash


Welcome back.

We all hit the same roadblock and that probably is, you have TOO MANY JOBS.

If you are in the smart home market, it probably looks something like this:

Smart Devices: Jobs to be done

So, how do you decide?

Radical new idea. Speak to your customers.

Ask them to decide.

Less than 20% of you who have read this far will go through the trouble to speak to customers.

For the top 20%

Depending on the scores that you received, you might have to do one of two things

  1. Go back to product development (nobody liked ANYTHING)
  2. Start working on a clearer profile

Job Groups

After you figure out how these jobs differ, there is one last step for research.

Steps Leading Up To The Purchase

It would be tragically ill-conceived to believe that the only steps that matter are (1) Add to cart, (2) Browse, (3) Land on Page.

In truth, the sequential journey in the minds of a buyer looks more like this:

  1. Determine whether there really is a problem
  2. Think about specifics of the problem- try to diagnose it
  3. Determine IF you need to think of solutions
  4. Consider solutions
  5. Consider financial viability
  6. Sharpen criteria to evaluate purchase
  7. Select solution (mini celebration)
  8. Determine uniqueness of solution
  9. Determine where to acquire the solution
  10. Acquire solution (celebration for you)
  11. Verify solution (celebration for customer)
  12. (Worst Case) Return solution
  13. (Best Case) Refer a friend

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is.

Cheat Code: Work backwards up the funnel.

Don't waste money on ads driving visitors to a homepage that doesn't load on their phones. Work from the end user experience (receiving the solution), to the point of purchase, all the way up to the first recognition of the problem.

Action Plan

Now that you've laid the groundwork with the research you have on hand, you know what jobs customers really want to get solved. This should inform both your content schedule and your paid advertising.

Decide which step (1 to 11) each piece of content and/or ad set should focus on to drive traffic.

Final Words

Reach out to us if you need any help (reference readings/ videos). Good luck!

Good things happen to those who hustle.