In today's highly competitive market, product failure is an all-too-common occurrence. Countless studies have shown that a staggering 75-90% of products and services fail to achieve their expected outcomes. This translates to a lot of wasted time, money, and resources. So, what can be done to reverse this trend and build a foundation for a winning product? The answer lies in applying the jobs-to-be-done framework, a proven approach that helps organizations better understand customer needs and develop products that truly resonate. In this blog post, we'll explore five key steps to apply jobs-to-be-done and set your product or service on the path to success.
Step 1: Determine your target customer
To begin, it's crucial to identify your primary target customer. While every customer is important, focusing on the job executor – the individual using your product or service to get something done – is paramount.
Let's consider an example of a company in the fitness industry. While their products may appeal to various types of customers, such as gym-goers, personal trainers, and gym owners, the job executor in this case would be the individual who uses the company's fitness equipment or services to achieve their fitness goals.
Mapping out your market ecosystem and understanding for whom you are trying to create value will help you prioritize and align your efforts effectively.
Step 2: Determine what your solution helps your target customer get done
Shifting the focus from the means to the end is essential. Customers don't want to buy a specific product; they want to accomplish a task or achieve a goal. By understanding the job-to-be-done, or the functional, emotional, or social task the customer is trying to accomplish, you can reframe your perspective from a product-centric mindset to a customer-centric one.
Continuing with the fitness industry example, jobs-to-be-done can help the company see that customers don’t want to purchase a treadmill or set of weights, but to get fit and stay healthy. By understanding this, the company can shift their approach to providing comprehensive solutions that help customers achieve their fitness goals, such as personalized workout programs, nutritional guidance, and progress tracking tools. This mindset ensures that the company is addressing the core needs and aspirations of their target customers.
Step 3: Deconstruct what your target customer is trying to get done into steps
Once you've defined the job-to-be-done, it's time to break it down into smaller steps. By mapping out what is involved in getting the job done, you can gather and organize customer needs effectively.
For the fitness industry, this may include steps such as setting goals, planning workouts, tracking progress, and adjusting routines. By mapping out these steps, the company gains a holistic view of what the customer is trying to get done and can identify areas for improvement along the entire job. For example, they may discover that customers struggle with tracking their progress accurately or find it challenging to stay motivated. This insight allows the company to develop innovative solutions at multiple points in the job.
Step 4: Gather your target customers' needs
Customers have specific needs associated with each step of the job. These needs are their measures of success in getting the steps done quickly, predictably, and efficiently. By conducting customer interviews and capturing these needs, you can ensure that your product addresses the most critical aspects of the job. Typically, there are anywhere from 50-100 needs for each job.
To gather their customers’ needs, the fitness company can conduct in-depth interviews with their target customers. They can ask questions about the challenges they face in setting goals, planning workouts, tracking progress, and adjusting routines. As a result, the company gains valuable insights that guide product development and ensure that their offerings align with customer expectations. For example, they may discover that customers have many needs around staying on track and monitoring progress toward fitness goals.
Step 5: Prioritize your target customers' needs
Finally, to improve the likelihood of product success, it's essential to prioritize the identified needs. By surveying a broader group of target customers, you can identify the biggest market opportunities and produce a heat map to visualize which needs are most important and least satisfied (represented by red or dark orange on the heat map) and guide downstream activities.
For example, the fitness company may find that they already have solutions to some needs that customers struggle with, such as real-time workout feedback or personalized training plans, that can be used to improve messaging to ensure that customers are aware of the company’s offering. They may also find they have concepts in the pipeline that address other high priority needs that can be addressed through product roadmap prioritization. There may still be other market opportunities that the company does not address today, but could, through the creation of new solutions.
By allocating resources and focusing on developing solutions that address the most critical aspects of the customer job, the fitness company can differentiate itself from competitors.
Building a winning solution requires a thorough understanding of customer needs and a customer-centric approach. By applying the jobs-to-be-done framework, you can lay the foundation for product success. The five steps outlined in this blog post – determining your target customer, understanding the job-to-be-done, deconstructing the job into steps, gathering customer needs, and prioritizing those needs – provide a systematic and repeatable approach to customer discovery. With a clear understanding of customer needs, you can align your efforts, develop innovative solutions, and ultimately deliver a superior customer experience that helps you win in the market.
San Diego, CA