Marketing rocket fuel: JTBD

If you’re a marketing leader, how do you know what to prioritize? Using Jobs To Be Done, you can let your customers tell you.

Brand Managers, is it just us, or is Marketing becoming increasingly complicated?

Media, analytics, multiple platforms, multiple budgets, multiple timelines, multiple stakeholders, and different customer types. Now factor in the radical changes surrounding the current social, political, and economic climate, and it’s a wonder that marketers in any industry achieve any consistent successes at all.

Jobs To Be Done Focuses on Essential Actions

Using a Jobs To Be Done lens, you can determine the most important actions to take because ambiguity is minimized. How? Because of what we’re looking at: the customer need (or “job.”)

Typically, research focuses on who the customer is, what products they use, and when they’re attempting to achieve something. Unfortunately, this methodology leads to circuitous reasoning, where we attempt to “outdo” a competitor by redesigning features. 

Not exactly what anyone calls “innovation,” right? 

With JTBD, however, we hyper-focus on what that “something” is, and the actions the customer takes on their own to solve their job. Along the way, the customer will cobble together solutions when nothing currently exists (compensating behaviors) or rely on alternate workflows because they have a “wish” that something would work differently. These identified gaps are opportunities for innovation and give rise to job-focused marketing approaches.

A Case In Point

One of our clients enjoys a magnificent reputation as a precision manufacturer in their field. They make expertly designed components for a highly-regulated space. They’re proud of that equity, and the industry recognizes and accepts the premium pricing their products command. However, despite the excellence and durability of their products, sales beyond initial installs were flat for many of their core products. We were hired to learn why, and determine what steps could be taken. This client is remarkable for several reasons, most notably that they were open to our feedback on every aspect of the business, from branding to product design, to internal workflows to sales processes.

Using JTBD, we structured highly specific interviews that spanned the full gamut of their global stakeholders. The information from those interviews was then parsed across a spectrum of actions that define customer jobs to be done (or “hired for.”)

What we learned turned out to be both insightful and challenging, but also crystal clear in terms of opportunities for the business.

We learned that the roles responsible for purchasing our client’s wares were shifting away from enduring, robust materials to virtually disposable architectures. We also learned that customers were frustrated with the communications process that should have led to a clear work order. From this, a whole host of opportunities arose, including automating the speccing process, ways for customers to self-select from modular solutions, and a platform that synthesized rep training, operations, and diagnostics in the field.

Needless to say, the verbatims have virtually pre-written marketing materials for these innovations, once they’re ready to operationalize.

Like Painting a House

When you look at the time spent painting a house, the lion’s share is in preparation. (Oh, all that masking tape!) The painting itself is rather straightforward. JTBD is similar. Lining up a robust list of interviewees, preparing the conversations for repeatability and consistency, engaging with those stakeholders, and then synthesizing the feedback.

Once parsed, however, you’re ready to go, go, go. 

Curious? Give us a call or an email. It’s a process that yields solid results.

About the Author:

Sam Lowe conducts research to help build full-featured road maps and strategies for BS LLC clients ranging from hospitality to health care and manufacturing to high tech. He’s also delightfully addicted to 2-wheeled vehicles, classical music, and fine teas.