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Jobs to Be Done: A better way to research the customer journey

Customer journey mapping documents the typical process your customers go through as they make a decision to purchase. The output of the mapping exercise is a visualization of the process with details around customer views, motivations, questions and typical brand touch points at each step.

Then by adding in key messages for each of their questions and identifying content assets that address those questions, the map becomes a valuable tool for content planning and a useful resource across the organization.

Customer Journey Map

Customer Journey Map

Often the customer journey map is based on internal perspectives. This isn’t great because it’s really hard to put yourself in the mind of your customer. Sometimes outdated first-party data like surveys or focus groups are used to add detail, but there is room for improvement.

This is where the Jobs to Be Done framework comes in

Check out this great post for an overview of the full Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) process. In a nutshell, the JTBD framework involves in-depth 1:1 interviews with 10-15 recent customers. An experienced interviewer leads the customer on an intimate journey around their purchase to truly understand what caused them to hire your product or service to make progress in their life.

The information gathered goes much deeper than looking at the steps (physical or digital) that took them from point A to point B. The process delivers the underlying motivations, feelings, internal forces pushing them, external forces pulling them, habits and anxieties at each stage in their journey.

The magic comes from the long-form interview format and open-ended questions

The conversation with the customer can feel more like a therapy session than an interview, and will often start with the purchase, then flow back in time. Some questions might sound like:

  • Tell me the story of how you purchased the product? When did you make the decision? Where you alone? What time of day was it?
  • Now tell me about the events leading up to your purchase?
  • When did you first start to actively look for a solution?
  • When did you first become aware that you wanted to solve this problem?

Through the process of synthesizing these interviews, profound themes emerge that reveal the forces pushing someone to make progress (and buy your product), and the habits or anxieties holding them back at each stage of the process. This information will help you engineer a better experience at each customer touchpoint, specifically helping you:

  • Create more empathic messaging
  • Identify content gaps
  • Develop better content that addresses questions, habits and anxieties
  • Uncover new targeting opportunities for advertising
  • Improve the sales and customer service processes to ensure you help customers complete the ‘job’ they hired your product for

We often get the question, “How do I apply Jobs to Be Done?”

By building a customer journey map developed with insights from the JTBD framework, you create a powerful storytelling tool for the entire organization that puts your most important asset, your customers, first.

Related Resources

Delight Your Customers with Jobs To Be Done

Jobs To Be Done: The Untapped Side of Persona Marketing

Ignore Your Ignorance at the Cost of Innovation and Growth

Our Customer Research & Brand Development Process


Ben Castelli


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