What is JTBD?

What is JTBD?

1 Expert Answer

Tony Ulwick

Founder & CEO,  Strategyn

JTBD stands for Jobs-to-be-Done. Jobs-to-be-Done is a theory of innovation that offers innovators a new way to think about markets, needs, opportunities, and customer segments. It also offers a path to predictable innovation.

At the heart of JTBD theory is the notion that people buy products and services to accomplish something—to get a “job” done. As Theodore Levitt famously said, “people do not want a quarter-inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.”

When you look at marketing and innovation through the lens of Jobs-to-be-Done, everything looks different:

Your unit of analysis is the job the customer is trying to get done—not the customer or the product.

Instead of defining your market around products and technologies, it’s defined as a group of people trying to get a job done.

Buyers aren’t your only customers. They also include job executors.

Customer needs go from vague, latent and unknowable to clear metrics customers use to measure their success in getting their job done.

Competitors are companies with any solution people use to get the job done—not just companies that make products like yours.

Customer segments aren’t based on demographics or psychographics. They are based on how customers struggle differently to get a job done.

When you think about your market from this perspective, you are much more likely to create and deliver extraordinary products and services.


Products come and go, but the customer’s job-to-be-done is stable over time. With a stable unit of analysis, you can define customer needs that are stable over time, too, which gives you unique, robust targets for value creation.

The implication of this thinking is profound.

While most companies innovate by trying to improve their existing products (creating a better quarter-inch drill), you can dramatically improve your innovation process by instead trying to find better ways to create a quarter-inch hole (to get the job done).

Answers by Strategyn

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