Jobs to be done: How to put customers at the heart of decision making

One of the latest frameworks for organisational decision making is offering up both marketers and innovation leaders a new way to get to the heart of the customer's problem

For many brands today, the desire to become more customer-centric has led to the realisation that existing operational processes or a product-centric model simply aren’t going to cut it.

As a result, the hunt is on for new frameworks that truly place the needs of the customer at the heart of decision-making.

One option finding favour is a framework with the innocuous name of jobs-to-be-done. Developed by the US-based Clayton Christensen Institute, the framework eschews traditional customer categorisation by attributes of age, race or marital status, and instead focuses on the circumstances that arise in customers’ lives, with the main determinant for developing and marketing products being the actual problem the customer is trying to solve.

It is a technique that has proven particularly useful for customer experience advocate, Christian Bowman, in his work for groups including Bond University, RSPCA Queensland and SmartClinics.

“It allows organisations or professionals to look at problems with a different lens,” he says. “It’s really about understanding what the higher purpose is, and what emotionally is motivating them, as opposed to what functionally is motivating them.

“From a marketing perspective, it is great because you look through the lens of your customer – emotionally and functionally – and understand the different tasks. It gives you some great options in terms of testing different angles.

“From an innovation angle, it is also a great framework to go forward with, knowing that the customer is always involved.”

For example, in the example of a student choosing what they will study at university, Bowman says their decision-making process might be logically driven but doesn’t actually connect with what they might want in the future.

“As you start to overlay the jobs-to-be-done framework, you actually map that out formally to understand where they are and what challenges they have now, and what challenges they might have in the future, and then what you believe you are expected to do to help them get there,” Bowman explains.

A project for RSPCA Queensland saw Bowman working to understand people’s motivations to perform activities such as donating or adopting an animal. While it might be assumed people adopt animals for altruistic reasons, jobs-to-be-done revealed that decision making can also be ego-driven, and based on how the person’s action will be perceived by their peers.

Bowman says jobs-to-be-done can also be beneficial in highlighting the importance of a brand.

“When you talk about the emotional side of things, which is potentially the key driver depending on what you are selling or servicing, there is a direct relationship between brand recognition and brand affinity and someone’s personal image,” he says. “With the jobs-to-be-done framework, you can actually break it down into more granular segments.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

More Videos

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Blog Posts

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Brand or product placement?

CMOs are looking to ensure investment decisions in marketing initiatives are good value for money. Yet they are frustrated in understanding the value of product placements within this mix for a very simple reason: Product placements are broadly defined and as a result, mean very different things to different people.

Michael Neale and Dr David Corkindale

University of Adelaide Business School and University of South Australia

Sign in