Jobs To Be Done - 5 Most Important Concepts to Understand Customer Needs

Jul 14, 2021

If you want to quickly learn about the jobs to be done framework, you came to right place. In this article, I’ll describe the 5 most important concepts you need to know about the jobs to be done framework.



But first, I’ll define what jobs to be done is. The basic premise of the “Jobs to be Done” framework is that people do not just buy products and services because of their features or other attributes. People hire products and services to get a job done. When customers have a job that they want to accomplish, they will look for the most convenient, effective, and least price-intensive solution to get it done.



Let dive into the concepts:


1.   The Three Types of Jobs

The basic premise of the Jobs to be Done framework is that people do not just buy a product or service because of features or other attributes. Customers hire a product or service to get a job done.


There are three basic types of jobs:

  • Functional Jobs – these are core activities that customers want to get done
  • Emotional Jobs – this is how customers want to feel or avoid feeling as a result of executing a core functional job
  • Social Jobs – this is how customers want to be perceived by others


Is the industry or market you’re targeting largely neglecting any of these three jobs? If so, how can your offering fill these gaps in that market?


2.   Three Types of Customer Segments

There are three types of customers according to the jobs to be done framework:

  • Under-Served – these are customers who have unmet needs and are willing to pay more to get a job done better; for these customers, you should offer a better-performing and more expensive product than other available offerings
  • Over-Served – these are customers who perceive existing products in an industry as expensive and inaccessible; for these customers, you should offer a simpler, more accessible, and less expensive product than current offerings
  • Served Right – these are customers whose needs are sufficiently satisfied by products and services in an industry; since these customers are satisfied, you should focus on helping them complete other, related jobs


3.   The “Needs First” Approach

Many companies brainstorm ideas for products by using strategies such as creating derivatives of top-selling products, filling product portfolio gaps, and targeting unpursued price points. These approaches can be effective, but over time, a company can lose grasp of what customer needs are most important and least fulfilled. A company can neglect to identify customers’ evolving unmet needs as economical, geographical, social, and technological forces affect and shape an industry. Not having a clear idea of what customer needs to pursue can provide an opportunity for competitors to capitalize on that market gap.


The “needs-first” approach involves learning what the customers’ needs are, finding out which of those needs are unmet, and then creating products and services to satisfy those unmet needs.


4.   Maximizing and Minimizing Criteria

Discover the criteria that people use to hire and fire products when trying to perform a job. Do this to find out which features that your customers prioritize and concentrate your design, development, and marketing efforts on those features.


Examples of maximizing and minimizing criteria when trying to lose weight are the following:

  • Maximize calories burned in a workout session.
  • Maximize weight loss per week.
  • Minimize the cost of exercise equipment and gear.
  • Minimize time to begin a workout.
  • Minimize the distance to a location to exercise.
  • Minimize the likelihood of injury.


5.   Jobs Can Encompass Many Product Categories and Industries

Most likely, customers consider products outside of your product category when considering what job to select.


For instance, if someone wants entertainment, they have options that span many product and service categories. Those options can include:

  • Watching a new movie on Netflix or HBOMax
  • Listening to their favorite album
  • Going to a concert
  • Watching their favorite entertainment YouTube channel


If someone wants to exercise to lose weight, they could do the following:

  • Go to a gym and use a stationary bike
  • Jog around a hiking trail
  • Jump rope at home


Ultimately, customers choose solutions that they perceive as most convenient, effective, and least price and time-intensive to accomplish their jobs. Simply put, customers want solutions that help them get their jobs done better and faster.


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