What causes someone to adopt or abandon a product?
That’s what the ‘jobs to be done’ theory aims to explain and predict. It embodies the general principles that cause people to either ‘hire or fire’ a product. This is something that every business wants and needs to understand better.
After all, if you know what causes users to adopt a product or abandon it, you will be in a much better position to plan and strategize to improve your own adoption rate.
The jobs to be done theory helps you to develop a model whereby you can create a successful product, boost adoption rates, and increase growth for your product and business.
If this sounds like something you’d like to apply to your own business and see tangible results with it, here’s how you can do it!
Two Processes that can Lead to Product Adoption
There are two processes that happen that can cause someone to adopt a product:
1. Demand Synthesis – This is how needs are created. For example, last week you were fine and this week, you need a new car. Needs for new products or services are created for all kinds of reasons.
2. Hiring Process – This refers to how users choose a product for the job to be done.
The hiring process is very important and if you want to get serious about product-led growth, you must understand how determined a user is to continue using your product or solution. Are they committed to the product? Or, are they just shopping around?
To help you figure this out, you can start by identifying how the user assesses your product. Can they trust that your product will deliver results based on what it’s promising? Do they understand your product and know how to use it?
You need to design your product with these types of considerations in mind. But, you must do so while having a good understanding of the job to be done and then delivering that value to the user as soon as possible.
Users will always assess how trustworthy a product is. They will look at it from a visual standpoint too. Is it easy to navigate? Or, is the product too confusing and difficult?
This is the type of thing you need to consider with your packaging, positioning, and overall offer.
How to figure out your product’s ‘job to be done’
When people adopt a new product, it’s usually because they have a job to be done, which is another way of saying that they have a problem and they believe that your product will provide them with the solution to that problem.
Whatever the case, you need to understand what drives users to adopt your product. What is the job to be done?
The best way to get the answer to this question is to ask your existing users. A few months ago, they were fine without your product. Then, something happened to disturb that contentment, which then led them to adopt the product in search for the solution.
Talking to users about this is the best way to get the information you need. It will help to identify what unmet goals drove them to the product, what constraints blocked them from experiencing or achieving their goals, and what the catalyst was that increased their need for the product?
With the jobs to be done theory, you can get better at predicting when people will have a job to be done, which will then lead them to your product. It will also help you to get clear on your target customer and users are more likely to adopt your product and commit to using it, rather than those who will abandon it.
Understanding the needs of your users
Successful product-led growth is about understanding your users’ needs. Needs can usually be filtered into three different categories:
The main reason why anyone wants to discern the needs of their users is to create growth. To understand the needs of your users, you must start with the needs you’re trying to solve with your product.
You’ve also got to understand what a need actually is. At its core, a need is a discrepancy. Your user has a goal and it only becomes a need because they don’t have that goal right now. The discrepancy between where you are right now and where you want to be creates the need.
Your job is to provide a product that can take them from where they are to where they want to be. In other words, your product must help them to fulfill their need by helping them to achieve their goal.
How can you describe a job to be done?
The problem with describing a job to be done accurately, (at least for some businesses), is that it’s not something you can physically see. You can’t ‘see’ people’s needs, which makes it impossible to be objective about what it is. How can you actually prove that there is a job to be done without seeing it?
That’s why the best way you can describe a job to be done is with the product itself. It’s showing the product that people adopt for the specific job to be done. This makes it a lot easier to prove that people use your product because they have a job to be done and since you can see that people are adopting the product, the job is real. You’ve got the proof!
What can the ‘jobs to be done’ process achieve?
The best result the jobs to be done theory and process can achieve is product-led growth. You want people to get excited about your product. You want them to adopt your product. And, you want them to commit to your product.
So, you need to make sure that your product can help people get closer to and/or achieve their goals. To do this, you need to help people figure out what their jobs to be done are, and how/why your product can help them complete those jobs.
A good way to approach this is by coming up with product concepts. Engage users in the process and hear what they have to say about the product. What do they like about it? What don’t they like about it? What excites them? Can they visualize themselves using the product?
Help people visualize the concept of the product as it relates to the jobs to be done. Show them what their new, better life can look like once they have adopted your product and used it to fulfill the jobs to be done.
What does the process look like?
When putting the jobs to be done theory in action, this is referred to as ‘Simulated Shopping.’
A large part of it consists of storyboarding for potential users. Once you have identified your ideal customer profile, approach those potential customers and provide them with a storyboard of your product. Ask them how things are right now and concentrate on their pain points.
Then, present different scenarios or potential outcomes that can come from using your product. See which of them gets the user the most excited and ask them to pick the one they identify with the most.
Once you’ve confirmed that, provide your product as a potential solution or a job to be done. Then, talk about prices and how much they would spend to see the type of results from the product.
All of this gives you a lot of valuable information to help you learn more about your customers, experiment with your product, and use that data to create the best possible product that people can’t wait to adopt.