Businesses today face intense competition and pressure to grow and succeed. Understanding customers and users are crucial to overcoming challenges such as retaining customers, increasing revenue, and developing innovative products.
However, traditional methods of user understanding, such as user personas, don't do enough justice to provide the necessary insights to drive growth.
The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework offers a more comprehensive and effective solution.
In this article, we explore the JTBD framework and compare it with traditional user personas.
Personas - Go Beyond Them
Personas are a great way to understand users. By defining user characteristics, needs, and wants, you can better design experiences that meet the demands of target audiences.
These are essentially fictional characters that represent the different types of customers or users of a product or service. They are created based on market research and real data about the target audience, including demographics, behaviors, motivations, and goals.
The importance of customer/user personas lies in the fact that they provide a deep understanding of the target audience, allowing businesses to create products, services, and marketing messages that are tailored to the specific pain points of their customers. They also help to focus design and marketing efforts, as well as ensure that the business is delivering a consistent experience to its customers.
You can think of them as a simplified representation of a target audience and should be used as a guide, not a rule. It is also important to regularly review and update personas as market trends and customer behavior change over time.
However, personas are limited in their ability to provide deep insights into user behavior. They focus on surface-level facts about users but fail to address underlying motivations for why they take certain actions.
The 'Jobs To Be Done (JTBD)' Framework - Insights Deeper Than Personas
JTBD is an innovative framework for understanding user behavior. Rather than looking at surface-level facts, it delves deep into the ‘why’ behind customer decisions.
It takes a more holistic approach by examining the context of users' motivations, environments, and needs. It looks at how users solve the problems they face rather than just focusing on the problem itself.
JTBD is based on the premise that customers hire products and services to do a job for them – whether it's to entertain, inform or make life easier in some way. This idea was popularised by Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator's Dilemma.
JTBD is useful for understanding user behavior and needs because it helps to identify the underlying motivations that drive customer decisions. It allows you to create products and services that meet the specific needs of customers rather than just focusing on solving a broader problem.
In order to understand the JTBD framework, it is important to first understand the concept of jobs. Jobs are the activities that users undertake in order to achieve a desired outcome.
For example, a user might buy a book to keep them entertained during their commute. The job here is not simply to read but rather to fill the time during a commute in an entertaining and engaging way.
The JTBD framework then looks at the context of this job, including the environment, motivations, and constraints that might influence the decision to buy a book.
It also looks at how the user will use the product after purchase and how it might improve their life. This helps to provide insights into customer behavior that go beyond what can be gained from traditional personas.
By understanding the underlying motivations for why users take certain actions, businesses are better able to create products and services that meet the specific needs of their customers.
Principles of JTBD
The JTBD framework is based on three principles:
- People buy things to make progress
- A job is a progress that a person is trying to make
- People buy products to complete a job.
These principles provide a unique approach to understanding customer behavior and needs, helping businesses make informed decisions that drive growth.
People buy things to make progress
This highlights the fundamental motivation behind purchasing behavior. Customers aren't simply buying products for the sake of owning them; they're buying them to help them move forward, solve a problem, or achieve a goal.
By understanding the progress that customers are trying to make, businesses can create products and services that better meet their needs and drive customer satisfaction.
A job is a progress that a person is trying to make
This principle expands on the first principle.
It recognizes that every purchase is an attempt to make progress and that understanding the specific "job" a customer is trying to complete can provide valuable insights into their motivations and behavior.
Rather than focusing on the customer's demographic information, the JTBD framework asks what the customer is trying to achieve and why.
People buy products to complete a job
This emphasizes the role that products and services play in helping customers make progress.
By understanding the job that customers are trying to complete, businesses can create offerings that specifically address their needs and provide a better solution than the competition.
This allows companies to stand out in a crowded marketplace and drive growth by providing a superior customer experience.
Job, Trigger, Outcome
The JTBD framework is based on the idea that customers hire products and services to "do a job" for them. This job is defined by three components: Job, Trigger, and Outcome (JTO).
Job - What exactly is the customer struggling with?
It represents the customer's struggle or challenge.
It is a problem that the customer is trying to solve or the progress they are trying to make. Understanding the job that a customer is trying to do is crucial because it provides insight into their motivations and the reasons behind their purchasing decisions.
For example, a customer might hire a food delivery service to "make dinner easy" or a fitness app to "get in shape."
Trigger - What is the current solution they are using?
It is the current solution that the customer is using to solve their problem.
This might be a manual process, an existing product, or simply a behavior. Understanding the trigger provides insight into the customer's current state and helps businesses identify opportunities for improvement.
For example, a customer might be using a paper map to navigate, hiring a taxi to get to work, or eating junk food because they don't have time to cook.
Outcome - How does their life look once it is solved?
This represents the desired state that the customer is trying to achieve.
It is the result that the customer is looking for, and it provides insight into the customer's vision of a better future. Understanding the outcome allows businesses to create products and services that truly meet customer needs and expectations.
For example, a customer might want a navigation app to "make getting lost a thing of the past" or a meal delivery service to "eat healthy every day without cooking."
Difference Between Personas and JTBD
The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) Framework and personas are two different but complementary approaches to understanding customers and users. While both approaches aim to provide insight into customer behavior, each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
JTBD is all about the needs and goals of a customer. It focuses on the specific job or progress that a customer is trying to make and the pain points they are trying to resolve. This approach provides valuable information about the customer's motivations and the reasons behind their purchasing decisions.
By understanding the job a customer is trying to complete, businesses can create messaging, value propositions, and conversions that directly address their needs and goals. This approach can help companies increase customer satisfaction and drive growth.
Personas, on the other hand, are typically based on demographic information such as age, income, location, and behaviors, as well as interests and habits. This information provides a snapshot of a customer segment and can be useful for identifying marketing channels.
For example, a company targeting an older demographic may choose to advertise in traditional print media, while a company targeting a younger demographic may choose to focus on social media marketing. By knowing the demographic information and behaviors of a customer, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to reach the right audience.
However, it's important to note that personas alone may not provide a complete picture of a customer's needs and motivations. While demographic information can provide valuable insight into customer behavior, it doesn't always capture the underlying reasons behind their actions. In contrast, the JTBD framework provides a deeper understanding of the customer's needs and goals, allowing businesses to create products and services that genuinely meet their needs.
Building User Personas Using Tools
Below is a template you can use to build your own user personas.
Simply fill in the information in the blank sections.
But how do you get all that information?
For a long time, user research involved manual techniques such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups. While these techniques are still valuable, there is now a range of tools available that can help you collect and analyze customer data.
Here's a list of tools you can use to fill in each of the blank sections in the user persona template provided above:
- Job, Demographics: Facebook Audience Insights
- Needs and Goals: JTBD Framework
- Offline and Online Places: SparkToro
- Behaviors: JTBD
- Personality Type: CrystalKnows
The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) Framework and user personas are two powerful methods for understanding customers and users.
While each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses, both can be used to provide insight into customer behavior.
You should consider using a combination of both approaches in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of customer needs and motivations. Additionally, there are a variety of tools available that can help you collect and analyze customer data.
As a growth hacker, understanding your customers is essential to driving growth and success. By leveraging the Jobs To Be Done Framework, user personas, and data-gathering tools, you can better understand your customers and create products and services that meet their needs.