Customer Jobs

Customer Jobs

The key to building great relationships – with a partner or a customer – is to develop an empathy and deep understanding for what they really want. Here we consider the ‘jobs we need done’ as an alternative to traditional customer profiling.

Customer Jobs We Need Done

Typical marketing logic suggests that we should focus on a specific customer group or product type. The problem with this approach is that the customer doesn’t think like this – nobody buys a product because they are a 23-year-old college student or a 40-year-old mother of two children. This may correlate with a decision to buy something and it’s not the cause.


In as little as 40 years, IKEA have transformed from a local Swedish furniture maker to become a worldwide success story. One of their key strategies has been to design their entire business around a job that customers need to get done – I need to furnish my apartment quickly and cheaply. It’s the integration of their product suite that is the key to their success. It’s a one-stop apartment furnishing shop.

[Tweet “Dump your customer profile and focus on jobs needed #marketing”]

Buy or Hire?

This ‘Job to be done’ approach suggests that certain jobs arise in life that we need to find ways to get done. If a company has a product or service that helps us get this job done then we may ‘buy it’, or ‘hire it’ to do that job.

The question ‘What job are you being hired for?’ is the key to empathy because it forces us to consider the needs of the other person – be it your customer, your work colleague, your partner, family and friends.


  • Pick a relationship in your business or your personal life that you want to build. Ask yourself ‘What job are you being hired for?’

PS: You will need to put yourself in their shoes to answer this effectively.

This is an extract from the Book Rapper issue CEO of Your Life and is derived from the book by Clayton Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon, How Will You Measure Your Life? Here is a review of this book, plus a peek at the Book Rapper issue.


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