Sometimes the product in itself is not always the reason behind a purchase.

This video of a girl doing a kickflip for the very first time explains it pretty well.

Have a look:

Now that you saw the video, what exactly do you remember from it?

The skateboard or the kickflip?

How strong is your memory of her reaction after she achieves it?

The reason why this video went viral is not because of the skateboard, and for the girl, buying the skateboard was not her end goal.

Doing the kickflip was. And this is one of the biggest lessons for copywriters.

Let’s talk about the Jobs to be Done framework.

Jobs-to-be-Done Framework

The Jobs to be Done framework is such a valuable approach to writing good copy that it’s almost an unfair advantage once you get it.

Getting to know both the prospect’s specific goal or “job,” and the thought processes that would lead that prospect to buy a product to complete the job is what should be front and center of whatever landing page you’re working on right now. 

When using this framework, you create a valuable forcing function: You discover what your prospects are actually trying to accomplish or achieve when they buy a product.

Did they search for something and found your website? If you haven’t used the JTBD framework in the copy you increase your chances of missing an opportunity in that experience. 

Something that has always stuck with me is a quote from the now-famous memo from Stewart Butterfield that he posted on Medium

“Sell the innovation, not the product”

There are many examples of how people buy something to satisfy a need without being necessarily product-driven. No need to list them here. 

But the point is: Knowing what these “jobs” are in essence is the first step toward meeting customer demand. 

It’s about people’s interests and desires.

Just like the skater girl:

jobs to be done framework
Image courtesy of JTBD.info

By staying focused on your users’ needs, you can:

  1. Build features and new products that your target market want
  2. Improve your current product and have an evidence-based roadmap 

Measuring personas against the Jobs-to-be-Done framework

As a way of combining what you think the market want and have an evidence-based roadmap, the most common framework companies us is personas

The reason is that jobs-to-be-done focuses on user problems and needs, while well-executed personas include this information + behavioral and attitudinal details.

Since each company is different, it’s important to consider the pros/cons of using the jobs to be done framework: 

Pros of Jobs-to-be-Done

1. It can help you better align what you’re building with what your users really want.

Because the “job” metaphor forces teams to delve deeper into what their users actually want, JTBD can help focus the messaging around solving problems rather than focusing on features.

Which is a trap a lot of marketers fall prey to.

2. It can keep you from building “a faster horse” that nobody wants.

Part of the JTBD approach involves asking why and what.

Why do your customers want a specific feature? What is their true desired outcome? What is the emotional state they’re hoping your product will give them?

Two websites that have this in mind about this are Linear and Front:

Cons of Jobs-to-be-Done

1. You run the risk of becoming too abstract and high-level.

Although it involves a lot of testing to uncover your prospects’ true motivations, JTBD still requires you to translate those underlying goals or “jobs” into messaging that is simple enough to communicate. 

The highest risk of this framework is that marketers can get lost in the abstract. Julian Shapiro’s excellent guide on landing pages talks about how hero titles often sound like this: 

 “Become the hero at work” 

(yuck)

This leads to instant friction for the user to understand what you’re about. Even though the fit may seem perfect. 

2. Lackluster design and user experience.

JTBD places so much emphasis on the ultimate purpose for a user, there’s a real risk of focusing only on this purpose and exclude other important elements such as design aesthetics and overall user experience.

If your users want a skateboard only for the enjoyment of doing a kickflip, you might get hung up on doubling down on meeting that single objective. 

This could lead to campaigns that never mentions the other values of skateboarding, like cruising, competing, riding half-pipes, etc. 

Applying JTBD

A JTBD story is as follows:

[ When _____ ] [ I want to _____ ] [so I can _____ ] 

Specifically:

  • when focuses on the situation
  • want focuses on the motivation
  • can focuses on the outcome

Paul Adams, the SVP of product at Intercom first popularised “Job Stories” in his blog post The Dribbblisation of Design and highlights that using job stories focuses on all four layers of design: 

  1. Visual
  2. Interaction
  3. Structure 
  4. Outcome

When you think about from a marketing perspective, these are the exact, chronological order of the 3-5 seconds you have for a user to make a decision to convert on your page. 


Optimize for this time. 

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