Jobs to be Done


The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) methodology has been popularised by Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, and author of The Innovator’s Dilemma.

JTBD has been embraced by a broad range of people, from marketers to engineers and designers.

The crux of the JTBD methodology is looking at products and services in terms of the job they do for the customer. It’s easiest to take an example.

A Snickers bar

When we buy a Snickers bar, what job are we looking for it to do? I buy a Snickers bar when I’m hungry, almost as a meal substitute. So this is how Snickers can differentiate itself from other confectionary on the market - it’s the snack which gives you energy, and keeps you going.

When you start thinking of a Snickers bar in this way you realise that its competitors aren’t other chocolate bars, but things like fast food. So how can the Snickers bar be made more desirable than the alternatives for someone who wants to quickly satisfy their appetite?

A house builder

In an episode of The Critical Path podcast some other examples are given.

A new house builder realised that they weren’t selling buildings - they were selling the convenience of an easy move. One of the main barriers for people moving house is packing up and transporting all their belongings. So this house builder included a free packing and delivery service for all it’s new home buyers. Their sales grew by 60% in a year.

Luxury watches

Another example is luxury watches. Are they selling the ability to tell the time? No, they are selling status and prestige. So rather than competiting with other time pieces, they’re competing with luxury cars and clothes.


By understanding the real job that a product or service is doing, radically better services and products can be designed, which create greater value for customers.