We regularly advise new startup founders that customers don’t buy your product or service. They are purchasing a solution to a problem or as part of a job to be done. The latter forms an essential and fundamental part of the company’s value proposition and its product-market fit. Without this, a startup risks creating a “nice to have,” rather than a “need to have,” which will either limit or enable its scalability.
Customers often have both functional and emotional jobs that they are trying to accomplish when they purchase a product or service. Functional jobs refer to the practical tasks or problems that customers are looking to solve, such as getting from point A to point B when purchasing a car. Emotional jobs, on the other hand, are related to the feelings and aspirations that customers have when they make a purchase, such as feeling safe, happy, or successful when driving a particular car.
Understanding both the functional and emotional jobs that customers are trying to accomplish can help marketers develop more effective messaging and product offerings that resonate with their target audience on a deeper level. This requires going beyond simply identifying the customer's needs and desires, and delving into the underlying motivations and emotions that drive their decision-making process.
The Harvard Business Review article below discusses how the focus on knowing more about customers has taken firms in the wrong direction. Clearly defining a customer’s jobs needed done is a critical step that some companies miss to their detriment. By investing time and focusing on this particular step, a company should be better equipped to differentiate its offering in ways competitors aren’t likely to copy or comprehend.
Read Harvard Business Review article "Know Your Customers Jobs to Be Done"