I specialise in conducting customer research that is based on Jobs to be Done theory. Simply put, Jobs to be Done theory (JTBD) aims to explain how and why customers start (or stop) using a product or service.
There are many benefits to this understanding. For example, it helps to define markets, create competitive models, create growth models, understand what existing and prospective customers value in a product or service, create alignment across teams and departments, improve innovation processes or test new product and service concepts before designing and building them.
Fundamentally, JTBD theory is about the progress of a person, i.e. what positive change they are hoping to make in their lives when they start using products or services. Understanding the progress customers are wanting to make helps us get away from focussing on what the products and services are, how customers use them and the outcomes they associate with their use etc., to focussing on how demand for products and services is generated and how it is/is not satisfied. This, in turn, will help us choose and design an appropriate growth strategy.
In order to create a growth strategy for your company, we first need to identify what causes your customers to buy and use your product or service. Jobs to be Done-led research will provide that causal customer data.
What we are looking to learn through Jobs to be Done research
- How does your product or service fit into the lives of your customers?
- How did customers come to believe they needed to buy your product or service? What was the demand generation process?
- How did customers hope their lives would change after using your product or service and related products? What were their progress-goals?
- How did they shop and choose for your product or service and other solutions they considered? What were their information foraging and their solution evaluation processes?
- How did they know a solution, such as your product or service, was or wasn’t meeting their progress-goals? What progress-feedback loops were they looking for?
- How did customers reinvent products, e.g. by using them differently to how we expect?
- What new opportunities open up as a result of using these products? Now that customers are in a new place, what new aspirations have been unlocked or could be unlocked?
- How do your customers see competition and what other products and services do customers use to design the experiences they desire?
The research process
In Jobs to be Done research, we conduct 15-20 in-depth interviews of about 45mins length with participants, one at a time, who have recently, i.e. in the last 3 month, bought and used your product or service.
After each interview, we code and model interview debriefs into “Demand Profiles” summarising each interviewee’s story that led them to buy and use a solution. When all interviews have been conducted, we start affinity mapping the demand profiles: Which were similar? Which were different? We group similar profiles together and then distil them into “Job Specs” that describe the ‘Jobs’ that interviewees hire your product or service for. These are our “Job Hypotheses”.
Once we have created the job hypotheses, we can begin to confirm or deny our (qualitative) hypotheses quantitatively with larger sample sizes. We can use questionnaires and other quantitative methods.
How the research insights will help you
Equipped with the insights from the research, you and your team will be able to choose and design an appropriate growth strategy. For example, you will know how to adjust your marketing messaging, brand positioning or make changes to your existing products and services or create entirely new ones.
How Jobs to be Done fits in
JTBD theory helps you gather and model data which support your strategy, design and research methods. For example, the insights gained from JTBD-led research can feed seamlessly into Design Sprints or other iterative product development methods as advocated by the Lean Startup.