Beat Apple and Google using JTBD

Companies today are increasingly customer-centric, which sounds like and is a good thing. But there’s more than one way to focus on the customer. Instead of trying to understand who your customer is through focus groups, surveys, and market research, approach your customer’s need from a different angle: what job does my customer want to do?

JTBD (Jobs To Be Done) aligns your team with what your customer needs to accomplish rather than on your product – which may sound counterintuitive, but neglecting this approach has led to the demise of many once-dominant products and companies.

Jay Haynes, Founder & CEO of thrv, hosted a recent webinar for Councils members on JTBD as part of our ongoing “Critical Thinking for Product Teams” webinar series. Jay has been developing and using JTBD for over a decade.

He showed how the JTBD approach could be used to beat market leaders like Apple and Google in the maps space – and how you can use it in your market.

How, you ask?

In JTBD your product strategy is comprised of three choices:

  1. Which job beneficiary to target (drivers, in our maps example)
  2. Which job-to-be-done to target (getting to a destination on time)
  3. Which features to build to satisfy the needs of the job beneficiary

To identify the answer to step 3, you need to look at your customer’s unmet needs and your competitors’ weaknesses.

Our job beneficiaries, drivers, often need to make multiple stops en route to a final destination and to optimize the route they take accordingly.

In the case of Apple and Google Maps, we can identify that this feature, or lack thereof, is a weakness. This insight allows us to target which features to build in order to satisfy customer needs.

Most importantly, the customer need is a metric that will remain stable over time. Unmet needs or only being able to get jobs done slowly or inefficiently cause customer anxiety – and the struggle to overcome this anxiety is what drives customers to make new purchases.

Customers purchase solutions that make getting a job done fast, efficient, and worry-free.

Using the calculations of JTBD, a solution that targets the $2 billion segment of underserved drivers could generate $800 million in annual revenue and $2.5 billion in equity value for shareholders.

A successful JTBD strategy involves a number of equations and analyses – if you’re interested in learning more, you can learn directly from the master by watching Jay’s webinar. But put simply, thinking of your customer’s need in terms of a job to be done gives you an actionable, quantifiable, and stable definition of their need – free of unstable, changing inputs like sales requests, feature ideas or customer requests that product teams are forced to rely on when the customer need isn’t clearly defined in terms of a job to be done.

Learn more about the Councils?

Interested in participating in future webinars about JTBD or critical thinking for product teams? Set up a quick call to learn more about how the Councils can help you grow as a product leader.

About the Author

Phyl Terry

Phyl Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain, Inc., launched the company’s flagship leadership program – The Councils – in 2002 with a fellow group of Internet pioneers from Amazon, Google, and others. Thousands of leaders from the Internet world have come together in the last 15 years to learn the art of asking for help and to support each other to build better, more customer-centric products, services, and companies.

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