Successful product marketing is a customer-centric endeavor. It revolves around understanding and fulfilling the needs of your customers. The more we concentrate on customer success, the more we secure our own.
I’ve found that the most powerful way to convince a potential customer that your product is relevant and potentially valuable, is to jump straight to the outcome they are pursuing. the ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done’ (JTBD) framework is a framework that lends itself really well to smart strategies in customer segmentation and tailored messaging.
Decoding the Jobs-To-Be-Done Framework
The ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done’ framework posits that customers “hire” products to accomplish specific tasks. These tasks can be functional, emotional, or social, each representing a problem to solve or a goal to achieve.
For instance, Intercom, a leading customer messaging platform, has effectively employed this framework to gain a deeper understanding of their customers and devise solutions that aptly address their needs. They’ve even published a book on their approach to JTBD, demonstrating the depth of their commitment to this framework.
Aligning Product Features to Jobs
Mapping our product features to the jobs our customers are trying to complete is a critical step. Basecamp, a renowned project management tool, recognized that their customers ‘hired’ their product for the job of coordinating teams and projects. Consequently, they developed features like to-do lists, message boards, schedules, and document storage to facilitate that job.
This alignment of features to jobs is not just about creating the right features, but also about eliminating the wrong ones. As we all know, feature bloat can lead to user dissatisfaction. Remember, it’s never just a about whether or not the feature gets used, it’s also about whether detracts or adds to the experience your customers have within the product.
Segmenting Customers Based on JTBD
The JTBD framework enables us to segment our customers not based on demographic data, but on the jobs they need to get done. A classic example of this is Clayton Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing case study. It revealed that the same product—a milkshake—was ‘hired’ for two completely different jobs (morning commute companion vs. afternoon treat for children) by two different customer segments. Recognizing these different jobs led to modifications in product design and marketing strategy, driving sales growth.
Articulating the Value of Features
Once our feature-job map is ready, we need to effectively communicate this to our customers. Apple is a master at this. Instead of merely stating that the iPhone 13 Pro has a Ceramic Shield, Apple describes it as “Tough is an understatement,” directly linking the feature to the job of providing exceptional phone protection.
This approach is backed by research in consumer psychology. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that consumers respond more positively to marketing messages that are congruent with their goals, underscoring the importance of connecting features to jobs in our messaging.
Other Frameworks for Segmentation
Other frameworks can complement the JTBD approach. The Value Proposition Canvas by Strategyzer can help map customer pains and gains to our products. Similarly, the HEART Framework by Google can be used to measure the user experience quality of our product.
For example, Slack, the popular collaboration tool, uses the HEART framework to track user experience metrics. They’ve found it particularly useful in understanding user engagement and identifying areas for improvement.
By leveraging the ‘Jobs-To-Be-Done’ framework, we can enhance our understanding of customers, align our product features to their needs, segment customers effectively, and communicate our product’s value. This customer-centric approach not only drives the success of our customers but also sets our product and business on the path to success.
In the words of Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, “Start with the customer and work backward.” The JTBD framework is a powerful tool to help us do just that. By focusing on the jobs our customers need to get done, we can create products that truly resonate with them and drive our own success in the process.
Remember, the key to successful product marketing lies not just in understanding what our customers do, but why they do it. The JTBD framework helps us uncover these insights, leading to more effective product development and marketing strategies.