Jobs To Be Done + Your Medical Spa


It’s not about the client. Jobs To Be Done is a new methodology that forces you to look at your products and services the way that your patients and clients do.

What is “Jobs To Be Done” and how can it help your medical practice?

Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen is the author of The Innovators Dilemma and a well regarded business thought leader. He described “Jobs To Be Done” in this paper he wrote with one of the best tech entrepreneurs and product marketers of all-time, Scott Cook of Intuit.

The theory simply asks, “What job is your product or service hired to do?”.

The answers might not be exactly what you might usually think. For example; if you ask most people directly why they bought a lawnmower they would probably say to “cut the grass,” but if a lawnmower company examines the higher purpose of cutting the grass, say, “keep the grass low, neat and beautiful at all times,” as a business looking at what job needs to be done, it might switch from investing in better, more capable lawnmowers to develop genetically engineered grass seed that grows to an exact height.

The example that Clayton Christensen uses most is that of McDonalds milkshakes and what the “job” is that causes people to buy a milkshake. Here’s a video. The results are pretty surprising but led to a 300% increase in the number of milkshakes that McDonalds sells and a conclusion that the size of the market is 7X what they thought it was. You should watch this.

This is the power of the JTBD concept and technique: It helps a business understand that customers don’t buy products and services; they hire various solutions at various times to get a wide array of jobs done.

So what is the best way to define the customer’s job-to-be-done? Keep in mind that the reason the jobs-to-be-done theory is so powerful is because it allows companies to analyze the job like it would analyze a business process, providing a new and effective method for uncovering and prioritizing customer needs. Consequently, the job must be defined as a process; an activity that consists of a series of steps that customers take to complete a task or achieve a goal or objective. This means that the job-to-be-done is always a functional job; not an emotional job.

Over the years we have developed a set of rules that we follow to define the job correctly. Here are three of the dozen or so rules we use to get it right along with some jobs-to-be-done examples:

1. We think about the job from the customer’s perspective, not the company’s. For example, a company that supplies herbicides to farmers may conclude that growers (the job executors) are trying to “kill weeds”, while the growers might say the job-to-be-done is to “prevent weeds from impacting crop yields”. To avoid this mistake, don’t ask “what job are people hiring my product for”, rather ask, “what job is the customer trying to get done”. Because customers often cobble together many solutions to try and get the entire job done, the answers to these two questions are often very different. We see many jobs-to-be-done examples in the blogosphere that get this wrong.

2. We think big; to encompass the entire job, not just a piece of it. A narrow focus will hurt a company because customers are looking for products and services that help them get the entire job done better. For example, a company could focus on helping a grower “prevent weeds from impacting crop yields”, but they may want to consider helping them get the entire job done, which is to “grow a crop”. Customers do not want to have to cobble lots of incompatible solutions together to try and get the entire job done. They prefer to get the entire job done on a single platform.

3. We define a market around a functional job, not the emotional goals that accompany it. A company that offers a product that “prevents people from getting lost when driving” would do themselves a disservice to conclude that their customers are hiring their product to “achieve peace of mind”. A focus on “peace of mind” will not deliver the insight that’s needed to better prevent people from getting lost. Knowing the customers’ accompanying emotional jobs is helpful, of course, but only when it comes to positioning and messaging, not innovation. Once again, we see many jobs-to-be-done examples offered in the blogosphere that miss this point.

People buy products and services to get jobs done; and while products come and go, the underlying job-to-be-done does not go away. This notion is at the heart of jobs-to-be-done theory.

If you remember anything about jobs to be done, remember this: they are completely neutral of the solutions you create (your products and services). While a customer JTBD remains fairly stable over time, your products and services should change at strategic intervals as you strive to provide ever increasing value.

As Christenson says, “at a fundamental level, the things that people want to accomplish in their lives don’t change quickly.”

Additional reading:

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