How To Find Jobs To Be Done with Market Tests

Neya Abdi
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The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) Framework is a popular and successful framework for helping companies build customer-centric products. A key component of the JTBD Framework is identifying customer needs, however, it is challenging to find accurate, timely, and cheap data about what customers desire. 

Live market tests offer an accurate and cost-effective solution to this problem. This article will provide a brief overview of what the JTBD Framework is, what customer needs are, and how market tests can help deliver this data.


  • What is the Jobs To Be Done Framework?
  • What is the difference between Jobs To Be Done and Customer Needs?
  • Why is it difficult to identify customer needs for the JTBD Framework
  • What are market tests?
  • How do market tests help companies identify customer needs for the JTBD Framework?

What is the Jobs To Be Done Framework?

The Jobs To Be Done Framework helps companies build better products by identifying what jobs customers need to accomplish. For instance, if you’re building sales software it’s better to know what a sales leader needs to accomplish, not what you think would be a cool feature. A sales leader may want a platform that:

  • logs each sales rep’s calls
  • creates transcripts of calls and turns them into action items
  • sends follow-up reminders
  • provides a dashboard visualization of the current sales pipeline. 

But if your team spends time building something extravagant that fails to do what the sales leader needs, the sales leader is going to look for another solution to help complete their jobs to be done. 

You can articulate a Job To Be Done using the following formula:

  • Verb + Object + Clarifier

For example: 

  • Job to be done = Travel to the office every day.

When you’re describing the Job To Be Done, a specific product is irrelevant. In the above example, we have not demonstrated whether the job is being completed using a car, a bicycle, or by walking. 

What is the difference between Jobs To Be Done and Customer Needs?  

To complete the Jobs To Be Done Framework, companies have to identify customer needs. Customer needs are specific requirements that customers have in order to complete the job. For example, their needs may be to: 

  • Increase amount of fresh air I get while commuting
  • Accelerate how quickly I get to work in the morning
  • Maximize the amount of work I can complete during my commute
  • Increase the amount of new information (podcasts, books) I can consume while commuting

A helpful formula for articulating customer needs is: 

  • Direction of change + Unit of measure + Object of measure + Clarifier

This becomes the checklist against which you measure how attractive your product will be as a potential solution. 

These needs demonstrate whether we can complete the job in a way that’s satisfactory. 

This is incredibly exciting for entrepreneurs and product teams. It means that just because a competitor has a fancier product, doesn’t mean they are the desirable solution. If completing a job were the only requirement, everyone who wanted to improve their health would walk to the grocery store, purchase fruits and vegetables, come home, and cook them. Instead, there are all kinds of customer needs (“Minimize the amount of time it takes me to prepare a healthy dinner,” “Increase the flavour of the healthy foods I eat”) that offer opportunities for different companies to help customers tackle the same Job To Be Done but in different ways.  

Why is it difficult to identify customer needs for the JTBD Framework?

It’s not always easy for customers to clearly state what they want. They may not have the right words or they may not have spent the time really envisioning a solution. (The latter is great news for entrepreneurs.) As the famous Henry Ford quote goes, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” When your customers only have current technology as their frame of reference, it’s difficult for them to imagine a new way of solving their problem. In the case of Ford’s contemporaries, the desire was faster transportation. 

Traditionally, Jobs To Be Done practitioners recommend conducting user interviews and asking participants, “What job are you trying to complete or accomplish?” as opposed to asking, “What do you want?” Other recommended questions include asking the reasons you bought similar products or services previously. 

That said, there are a few instances in which user interviews are not particularly effective, including: 

  • When you can answer your research questions with analytics
  • When you’re uncertain who you should be talking to 
  • When you’re not sure what you want to learn
  • When you don’t have enough time or budget to do qualitative research
  • When you’re too committed to your point of view or idea
  • When you’re having a hard time convincing stakeholders
  • When you’re not clear about the question that you’re trying to answer

Live market tests can make it easier to identify customer needs in the context of a specific business. 

How do market tests help companies identify customer needs for the JTBD Framework?

Live market tests are digital campaigns that present an idea to consumers in the real marketplace (e.g., Meta ads, LinkedIn ads, Google Ads) to see whether there’s real interest, often before any investment is made in the product’s development or promotion. You run a number of variant controlled ads against each other in order to find the winning idea, offer, tagline, feature, and more. 

Market tests help you practice empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the experiences of another person. In other words, think of something you simply would never do or never think and imagine being able to understand why someone would take that approach. Market tests help you run a bunch of ideas (some you think are great, others you think are ineffective) and see what the market actually responds to.

Here’s how a specific type of market test, a Benefits Test, can help you complete your Jobs To Be Done Framework. 

Benefits Tests

Benefits Tests help you find out what specific outcomes your customers want and how to talk about them. For example, when you buy a camera, you’re probably not buying shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. You’re buying:  

  • A record of your travels around the world
  • Memories of your children during key milestones
  • Crystal clear shots of beautiful landscapes

Since the Benefit is the specific outcome that your customer wants to achieve, a Benefits Test will help you identify the Emotional and Social Jobs To Be Done. 

Using the camera example above, you would create an experiment that shows the exact same images for each advertisement and varies only in the specific sentence from the above list. 

Check out the virtual demo below here for a step-by-step guide to setting up a Benefits Test in Heatseeker. 

Market Tests can help you accelerate your Jobs To Be Done exercises

The Jobs To Be Done Framework is an incredibly useful tool that helps companies pursue customer-centric product development. Coupled with market tests, the Jobs To Be Done Framework can become a reservoir of rich, granular information. 

Ready to run your first experiment? Try Heatseeker free for 30 days to accelerate your product development. 

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Neya Abdi

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