Brian Rhea Brian Rhea

10 Examples of Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) Theory

The Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) theory has gained significant attention in recent years as a way to understandcustomer needsNeed a Stellar Jobs to Be Done Survey? Here’s How to Create One!Learn to design a JTBD survey, download a JTBD survey template, and prioritize your product roadmap effectively. Discover how to utilize the Jobs to Be Done approach for understanding customer needs with our step-by-step guide. and develop better products and services. In this article, we will explore the core principles of JTBD theory, its role in product development, different types of jobs, the process of identifying JTBD, and its applications in various industries. We will also discuss the impact of JTBD theory on business strategy. Let’s dive in!## Understanding the Jobs-to-Be-Done Theory

The Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) theory revolves around the idea that customers “hire” products or services to get a job done. It focuses on understanding the underlying motivations and needs of customers, beyond just their product preferences. By identifying the jobs customers need to be done, companies can create offerings that better meet their needs and aspirations.

When we talk about jobs, we are not referring to the traditional job title or occupation of a person. Instead, we are referring to the tasks, problems, or goals that customers are trying to accomplish. These jobs can range from simple tasks like making a cup of coffee to complex goals like improving productivity in the workplace.

The Core Principles of JTBD Theory

At its core, JTBD theory is based on three key principles:

  1. Jobs are goal-oriented: Customers hire products or services because they have a specific goal or desired outcome in mind. For example, when someone hires a fitness tracker, their goal might be to track their daily steps and monitor their overall health. Understanding these goals is crucial for developing effective offerings.
  2. Context matters: The context in which customers use a product or service significantly influences their decision-making and satisfaction. For instance, a person’s decision to hire a ride-sharing service like Uber may be influenced by factors such as convenience, cost, and time constraints. By considering the context, companies can design products that fit seamlessly into customers’ lives.
  3. Competing alternatives: Customers typically evaluate multiple alternatives before choosing a product or service. These alternatives can include both direct competitors and substitutes. Understanding the alternatives and their limitations helps companies identify opportunities for improvement. By addressing the shortcomings of existing solutions, companies can differentiate themselves and attract more customers.

The Role of JTBD in Product Development

Applying JTBD in product development involves identifying the jobs customers are trying to accomplish and designing solutions that address their needs. By understanding the core needs that drive customers to “hire” a product, companies can create offerings that are more customer-centric and relevant.

For example, let’s consider the job of staying connected with loved ones. In the past, people primarily relied on landline telephones to fulfill this job. However, with the advent of mobile phones and social media platforms, the job of staying connected has evolved. Companies like Apple and Facebook recognized this shift and developed products like iPhones and Facebook Messenger to meet the changing needs of customers.

Furthermore, JTBD theory helps companies uncover unmet needs and opportunities for innovation. By focusing on the underlying goals of customers, rather than just copying existing products, organizations can create breakthrough solutions that resonate with their target market.

By conducting in-depth customer research and understanding the context in which customers hire products, companies can gain valuable insights into their customers’ needs, desires, and pain points. Armed with this knowledge, companies can develop products and services that not only fulfill the immediate job at hand but also exceed customer expectations and create long-term customer loyalty.

Exploring the Different Types of Jobs-to-Be-Done

When it comes to jobs-to-be-done, they can be classified into three main categories:

Functional Jobs

Functional jobs refer to the tasks or functions that customers want to accomplish. These jobs are essential for customers to meet their basic needs and achieve specific goals. For example, hiring a smartphone to stay connected, hiring a car for transportation, or hiring a fitness tracker to monitor physical activity.

Understanding the functional jobs customers need to get done enables companies to design products with the necessary features and capabilities to meet those needs. By conducting thorough research and gathering insights into the specific tasks customers want to accomplish, companies can develop innovative solutions that address pain points and enhance the overall user experience.

Emotional Jobs

Emotional jobs are related to the feelings and emotional outcomes that customers seek. These jobs go beyond the functional aspects and focus on the psychological and emotional well-being of individuals. For example, hiring a luxury watch to feel successful, hiring a vacation package to experience relaxation and joy, or hiring a social media platform to connect with friends and share experiences.

By understanding the emotional jobs customers are trying to fulfill, companies can create products and brand experiences that evoke the desired emotions and establish a deeper connection with their customers. This involves crafting compelling marketing messages, designing visually appealing interfaces, and creating memorable experiences that resonate with customers’ emotional needs.

Social Jobs

Social jobs involve the social and relational aspects that customers care about. These jobs revolve around the desire for connection, belonging, and social interaction. For example, hiring a coffee shop as a meeting place to connect with friends, hiring a premium clothing brand to project a certain image, or hiring a fitness club to be part of a community.

Understanding the social jobs customers want to achieve helps companies create offerings that cater to customers’ social needs and facilitate social connections. This can involve creating spaces where people can gather and interact, fostering a sense of community through loyalty programs, or leveraging social media platforms to encourage engagement and collaboration.

By recognizing and addressing these different types of jobs-to-be-done, companies can gain a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs and preferences. This knowledge allows them to develop products and services that not only fulfill functional requirements but also evoke the desired emotions and facilitate social connections. Ultimately, by aligning their offerings with customers’ jobs-to-be-done, companies can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall business success.

The Process of Identifying Jobs-to-Be-Done

Customer Interviews and Surveys

One of the primary ways to identify jobs-to-be-done is by conductinginterviewsPreparing for Success in Jobs to Be Done Interviews: Tips and TricksGet ready to conduct effective Jobs to Be Done interviews with our preparation guide, including understanding the Forces of Progress, coming prepared with notes, and learning from existing interviews. and surveys. These qualitative andquantitative researchNeed a Stellar Jobs to Be Done Survey? Here’s How to Create One!Learn to design a JTBD survey, download a JTBD survey template, and prioritize your product roadmap effectively. Discover how to utilize the Jobs to Be Done approach for understanding customer needs with our step-by-step guide. methods allow companies to gather insights directly from their target customers.

Through in-depth interviews, companies can explore customers’ goals, preferences, challenges, and suggested improvements. Surveys, on the other hand, provide a broader understanding of customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors.

Analyzing Customer Behavior

Analyzing customer behavior, both online and offline, can reveal valuable information about the jobs they are trying to get done. By examining how customers interact with products, where they encounter bottlenecks or frustrations, and what alternatives they explore, companies can gain insights into their motivations and expectations.

By combining customer interviews, surveys, and behavioral data analysis, companies can develop a comprehensive understanding of the jobs customers are trying to accomplish.

How to Apply JTBD Theory in Various Industries

Application of JTBD in Tech Industry

In the tech industry, JTBD theory can guide product development and innovation. By identifying the core jobs customers need to be done, companies can create user-friendly interfaces, improve functionality, and deliver seamless experiences.

For example, a tech company might discover that a significant job for their customers is to save time when managing their finances. As a result, they can develop a user-friendly budgeting app that automates repetitive tasks and offers real-time financial insights.

Utilizing JTBD in Healthcare

The healthcare industry can also benefit from applying JTBD theory. By understanding the jobs patients and healthcare providers need to get done, companies can develop solutions that improve patient outcomes, streamline processes, and enhance overall patient experience.

For instance, by identifying that the job of medication adherence is crucial for patients, pharmaceutical companies can develop smart pill dispensers that remind patients to take their medication and monitor adherence.

JTBD in the Retail Sector

In the retail sector, JTBD theory enables companies to create personalized shopping experiences. By understanding the underlying goals and motivations behind customers’ purchasing decisions, companies can tailor their offerings and marketing strategies accordingly.

For example, a fashion retailer might uncover that their customers hire their products to feel confident and express their personal style. Based on this insight, the retailer can curate personalized recommendations and offer styling services to enhance the shopping experience for their customers.

The Impact of JTBD Theory on Business Strategy

Enhancing Customer Satisfaction

By focusing on understanding and addressing customers’ underlying needs, JTBD theory helps businesses enhance customer satisfaction. By developing offerings that align with customers’ desired outcomes, companies can build loyal customer bases and generate positive word-of-mouth.

By continually monitoring customers’ job-to-be-done and adapting their offerings accordingly, businesses can maintain a competitive edge and stay relevant in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Driving Innovation and Growth

JTBD theory encourages companies to pursue innovation by looking beyond immediate product improvements. By understanding the core jobs customers are trying to accomplish, companies can identify new markets, create new product categories, and drive growth through transformative solutions.

By actively applying JTBD theory, businesses can foster a culture of innovation and continuously challenge themselves to develop offerings that truly create value for their customers.


Understanding the Jobs-to-Be-Done (JTBD) theory and its applications can provide businesses with valuable insights into their customers’ needs, motivations, and desired outcomes. By focusing on the underlying jobs customers need to get done, companies can develop products and services that better meet those needs, enhance customer satisfaction, drive innovation, and ultimately, thrive in the marketplace.

Whether it’s identifying functional, emotional, or social jobs, conductingcustomer interviewsPreparing for Success in Jobs to Be Done Interviews: Tips and TricksGet ready to conduct effective Jobs to Be Done interviews with our preparation guide, including understanding the Forces of Progress, coming prepared with notes, and learning from existing interviews., analyzing behavior, or applying JTBD theory in various industries, embracing this customer-centric approach can lead to enhanced business success and customer loyalty. By keeping JTBD theory at the forefront of their strategy, companies can continuously improve their offerings and stay ahead of the competition.

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