Product development is a difficult job. You need to know what your target audience wants and how to get it to them. And you need to do this while competing against other companies that are doing the same thing. One theory of marketing that has been gaining traction in recent years is “jobs-to-be-done.” This theory suggests that we should be marketing products and services based on the jobs people are trying to accomplish with their money instead of just on features or benefits like price and quality.
What is jobs-to-be-done theory? It is a theory that was first developed by Clayton Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma. In the book, he discusses how companies can be successful with new products by understanding how their customers are using their products to try to accomplish certain tasks or goals.
He uses the example of a company that makes photocopiers. They could make a better photocopier that is faster and has better resolution. But this would not make the company any more money because those features will only be used by a few people at their jobs. Most of them wouldn’t see how it could improve what they were already doing with photocopiers, so they would continue to buy from competitors that had cheaper machines or other benefits like service warranties.
Instead, the company should focus on understanding what tasks or goals their customers were trying to accomplish with photocopiers. They would find out that most people use them for making copies of documents like contracts and templates they need to fill in again and again at work. That’s how Xerox came up with a new product called “Xerox DocuTech” that was essentially a photocopier connected to a scanner, printer, and fax machine.
This new product allowed people to scan their contracts into the system using DocuTech’s high-resolution color scanner and then print out copies of it on multiple sheets so they would have enough for all employees at work. They could also use its built-in fax machine to fax the contracts to all employees at once instead of having everyone come in and pick up their own copy.
This product was successful for Xerox because it solved a job that people were trying to accomplish with photocopiers, which is why they paid more money for it compared to lower quality competitors’ machines. Understanding this made them much more successful than if they had just tried to make a better photocopier.
So how can you use this theory to benefit your business? Here are a few tips:
Find out what jobs people are trying to accomplish with your product or service through user research.
- Figure out your competition by defining it as others who are doing that job, not just as those who are selling competing products.
- Focus on the jobs that are important for your business, not just customer preferences or needs.
- Solve an underserved job first to get a foothold in your market instead of trying to compete with better-marketed products.
- Market your product or service based on the jobs it can help people accomplish, not just on its features.
- Develop a strategy to differentiate your product from others by solving different or more important jobs than they do.
Jobs-to-be-done theory is an important tool for understanding how customers are using your products and what you can do to make them more successful. It can help you focus on the right things to make your products more appealing to customers and beat out the competition. If you employ the principles of this theory, you’re sure to be more successful in your product development strategy.
Vivek is a published author of Meidilight and a cofounder of Zestful Outreach Agency. He is passionate about helping webmaster to rank their keywords through good-quality website backlinks. In his spare time, he loves to swim and cycle. You can find him on Twitter and Linkedin.