5 elements of the jobs-to-be-done theory

by | Mar 15, 2023 | Jobs to Be Done Theory and Target Market Segmentation, Market Research, User Experience

Grab market opportunities by the horns and tell them who’s boss

When last did you hear about someone developing a mind-blowing, awe-inspiring strategy that they knew would rock the industry’s socks off?

Every John Soap and his cousin claims to have one, but very few of them know what it should look like. And that’s when businesses end up having the same, reworded hodgepodge of empty promises and incompatible processes.

Sadly, the line between a good strategy and an all-bark-no-bite situation is extremely thin. If you want it to be good, you must put theory into practice (and your products where your mouth is).


Be careful where you place your products or services

You’re in a group of five friends, each contributing a different value to the group:

You are always busy, but because you’re the funniest in the group, people enjoy having you around when you’re available.

Friend 1 is primarily available and a really nice person. He sticks up for the underdog and never complains about his partner.

Friend 2 is a jerk, but she’s always available and low-maintenance.

Friend 3 is always available but is as stiff as a hockey stick and rarely has anything positive to say. This friend is pitied and wouldn’t be missed.

Friend 4 is Switzerland. His schedule is flexible, and he has no problem with anyone in the group. However, he isn’t great at making new friends and prefers hanging with just you and Friend 1.

Now, let’s group products and services in a similar way:
  1. Better-performing, more expensive products (You): A customer has unmet needs, so they go for a more expensive product that will get the job done better.
  2. Better-performing, less expensive products (Friend 1): Everyone loves this product. It works great and doesn’t require an arm and a leg to get it.
  3. Worse-performing, less expensive products (Friend 2): Customers don’t have unmet needs, so they don’t expect the product to solve anything important.
  4. Worse-performing, more expensive (Friend 3): The reject. Only people who don’t have any alternatives will go for this one.
  5. Somewhere in the middle (Friend 4):This product may retain existing customers but won’t necessarily gain any new customers.
Where you place your product or service 100% affects your strategy because you can’t have a Friend 3 product and target Friend 1’s market.


5 jobs-to-be-done strategies to win in your market

Now that you’ve established where you are in the market, let’s define which growth strategy would work best:
  1. Differentiated: You have a new product or service targeting underserved customers who don’t mind paying big money for over-and-above value (Apple and Dyson’s vacuum cleaners).
  2. Dominant: Your new product or service can deliver over-and-above value but costs significantly less than your competitors providing the same value (Netflix and UberX).
  3. Disruptive: You target overserved customers or nonconsumers with an affordable product or service that is mediocre compared to your competitors. (Google Docs).
  4. Discrete: Your product or service is the last resort for customers who are either desperate for it or can’t get it elsewhere, which is why you charge more than you should (Products sold at holiday destinations).
  5. Sustaining: You offer a slightly better or cheaper product or service. You and your customers are comfortable with the arrangement and don’t intend to change anything soon (McDonald’s and many others).
Every successful strategy, regardless of where your company is grouped, is best suited according to the type of customer you’re targeting and their desired outcome.

Is it all too much? Reach out to our pros to help you find a bullseye strategy.

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