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The Jobs-to-Be-Done Theory: How to Find Your Product’s Purpose

The jobs-to-be-done theory is a powerful way to think about your product. It can help you find your product’s purpose and determine what features to build.

In this blog post, we will discuss what the jobs-to-be-done theory is and how you can use it to improve your product. We will also provide some real-world examples of how businesses have used this theory to create successful products.

What is the Jobs-to-Be-Done Theory?


The jobs-to-be-done theory is an innovation process that helps you understand what people really want from your product. It is based on the idea that people don’t just buy products, they hire them to do a job. To better understand this concept, let’s look at an example. Click here to learn more about it:

Say you are in the market for a new car. You may think you are buying a car to get from point A to point B. But if we look at the job-to-be-done, we see that people hire cars for much more than that. People purchase cars to:

  • look cool around their friends
  • feel good about themselves
  • get to work on time and reliably
  • haul around their kids and gear
  • save money on gas

The jobs-to-be-done theory can be used to assess any product, not just cars. For example, people don’t just buy hammers, they hire them to:

  • hang pictures on the wall
  • build a bookshelf
  • fix a leaky faucet

As you can see, the jobs-to-be-done theory helps us understand what people really want from our product. It is not enough to simply build a product that meets the basic needs of our customers. We must also understand the deeper jobs that our product is being hired to do.

To do this, you need to understand the customer’s desired outcome. Once you know the customer’s desired outcome, you can design a product that helps them achieve it.

How to Use the Jobs-to-Be-Done Theory


Now that we understand what the jobs-to-be-done theory is, let’s discuss how you can use it to improve your product.

There are five steps to using this theory:

1. Defining Your Market Around the Job-to-Be-Done

The first step is to define your market around the job-to-Be-done, not around the product. This means that you need to think about what problem your product solves, not what features it has.

For example, if you are selling cars, you are not in the business of selling transportation. You are in the business of helping people get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible.

2. Creating Personas


The second step is to create personas for your target market. A persona is a fictional character that represents a segment of your target market. When creating personas, you should think about the following:

  • What is their desired outcome?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What motivates them?
  • What might prevent them from using your product?

Keep in mind that each persona represents a different set of outcomes for using your product. By understanding the different outcomes, you can better design your product to meet the needs of each persona.

For example, if you are selling cars, you might have the following personas:

  • The commuter: someone who is looking for a reliable and efficient way to get to work each day.
  • The soccer mom: someone who is looking for a safe and reliable way to transport their kids and gear.
  • The college student: someone who is looking for a cheap and reliable way to get around campus.

Each of these personas has different needs and desires. By understanding these needs, you can bring a product to market (or multiple) that cater to these needs.

3. Identify the Outcomes that are Unmet


The third step is to identify the outcomes that are unmet by your current product. To do this, you need to understand what your customer’s desired outcome is and compare it to what your product actually does.

For example, when Uber first started, its desired outcome was to get people from point A to point B. However, the unmet outcomes that they designed their product around were:

  • Convenience
  • Reliability
  • Affordability
  • Safety

Since yellow taxis were so unreliable and inconvenient, Uber was able to quickly gain market share by creating a product that met these unmet needs. Users loved that they could request a car with the push of a button and that Uber was more dependable than traditional taxis.

4. Find Hidden Segments of Opportunity

The fourth step is to find hidden segments of opportunity. To do this, you need to look for segments of your target market that are underserved by your current product. For example, when Airbnb first started, its target market was people who were looking for a place to stay while they were traveling.

However, they quickly realized that there was a segment of their target market that was underserved: individuals who wanted to rent their place out for extra income.

Airbnb began reaching out to people renting their homes out on Craigslist and other sites and offered them a better way to do it. As a result, they were able to tap into this hidden segment of their target market and grow quickly.

5. Create a Roadmap


The fifth and final step is to create a roadmap. This roadmap should be based on your findings from the previous four steps. It should outline what you need to do to improve your product so that it meets the needs of your target market.

A roadmap includes:

  • The problem you are solving
  • The persona you are targeting
  • The desired outcome
  • The unmet needs you are addressing
  • How you plan to bring your product to market

Once you have created your roadmap, it is important to execute on it. This means making the changes to your product that are necessary to meet the needs of your target market. By doing this, you will be able to bring a product to market that is purpose-built for your ideal customer profile.

By following these five steps, you can use the jobs-to-be-done theory to create or improve your product.

Final Thoughts

The Jobs-to-Be-Done theory is a powerful tool that can be used to improve any product. By understanding the customer’s desired outcome, you can design a product that meets their needs.

Conversely, if you don’t understand the customer’s desired outcome, you run the risk of designing a product that doesn’t meet their needs.

When used correctly, the Jobs-to-Be-Done theory can help you create a product that is purpose-built for your target market. This will result in more satisfied customers and more success for your business.