JTBD Study
JTBD Study

JTBD Study

JTBD Study: Get aligned on why your best customers "hire" your product so your team can kickstart a new strategy

Have you arrived at a key moment in your business? Perhaps you're ready to launch something new, ready to dig into improving a new metric, or maybe planning to hire more people.

And in scooting up to that milestone, have you discovered that reaching it hinges on how well you understand your customers?

Maybe you've started to sense a disconnect between what your organizational hive mind thinks your customer use cases or job stories are, how your org talks about them, and what you actually hear from customers.

Or maybe the understanding of your customers comes from years of working closely with them - but that knowledge lives exclusively in your brain.

When this is the case, a JTBD study can help you and your team get on the same page and align around who you're building for so you can start having more productive conversations about what they need and how to build for them.


The Hypothesis Department JTBD Study is designed for teams getting ready to launch the next big thing

Are you launching a product? Kicking off a hiring spree? Allocating staff to improve a key revenue-related milestone? When your org is shipping, changing, growing, or getting specific on solving a key problem, it's a great time to launch a JTBD project.

We're good at helping people who describe themselves as:

  • Product visionaries solving a problem they know inside and out based on years of working with an audience who need a shared language and framework to document and/or rediscover that understanding - and get alignment with team members.
  • Team leads who have realized that increasing activation is their biggest opportunity to grow the business. You may have formed an interdepartmental team with folks from product and marketing to focus on onboarding - and then realized you're still lacking a single, shared, empirical understanding of your customers so you can get activation outcomes.
  • Teams who used to do research all the time but don't anymore, or who used to use the same research but now do ad hoc work with insights splintered and siloed around the org.
  • Experts in marketing, product, growth, customer success, or leadership who have deep expertise in their discipline and want to be sure they're following the best practices, getting the best outcomes, and getting buy-in from their team.


Why do a JTBD study with us? It's the first step to get your team aligned around a consensus of your customers

If you asked every member of your team to write down their understanding of who you build for, what they're struggling with, and how they define success, what you hear will tell you a lot about how your team is making decisions.

Our approach is about pinning down your customers' essential jobs so you can all agree who you're building experiences for. We include you and your team in the process of discovering your customers' jobs.

The outcome of our work is that we'll shift your team's decision-making state at least one level.

What are the 3 Decision-Making States?

The first is Customer Chaos:

This is what happens when team members are all over the place with limited to no agreement or understanding of who they serve. You can tell you're here if you ask your team who your customers are and everyone has a different answer, i.e. "Designers" and "Marketers" and "To run workshops" and "....idk."

In this state, your team is not solving any problem well for a well-defined group of people. It will be hard to do much of anything well without extraordinary luck or infinite funding.

The second is Customer Folklore:

This is when your team largely agrees on rough outlines of a character, but is fuzzy on the nuances and knows nothing of the plot.

If someone from marketing responds to this question with a persona descriptor, someone from product describes a use case, and someone from customer success describes a pain point, and there is no real shared understanding that you could verify with your customers even if you wanted to - your team's decision-making state is based on folklore.

When your customer stories have similar main characters but different plot points, you're making decisions based on customer folklore. Everything folks ship might feel like a good idea to the person building it, but you'll end up with a piecemeal approach - and you'll leave your biggest opportunities on the table.

The third (and ideal state) is Customer Consensus:

When your team responds to this question with a single, shared, empirical understanding of your customers, when they can tell you confidently that they know it to be true because they have verified it by listening to and observing actual customers, then your team is making decisions based on a customer consensus.

Instead of guessing or piece-mealing, team members will use an established and agreed-upon shorthand to refer to a customer including their persona, struggle, and definition of success.

JTBD helps you go from deciding by chaos or folklore to deciding with consensus

When you're making decisions based on chaos or folklore, everything is a guess or a mess. UX meetings drag on and on because everyone is defending their version of the customer. What gets built in-app doesn't match what gets built for email. Big opportunities get missed. Huge.

When your team makes decisions based on customer consensus, marketing and product aren't bumping into each other - they're supporting each other. You're getting acquisition, activation, and retention outcomes. And competing strategic priorities sort themselves out.

  • You'll replace the mish-mash of half-baked personas and occupations that team members use to describe your customers with a full understanding of when, where, why, and how they act - and all the other barriers stopping them from getting what they really want
  • You'll get a common language for how you describe your customers so you don't end up building off of misunderstanding
  • Whatever metrics you're marching toward, you'll discover new opportunities to grow them - and new metrics that might be align your team and your customers more closely
  • You'll get an understanding of your customers' journey that starts long before they join your world and ends after they achieve their first success milestone with you - so you can start identifying your customers' most important success milestones
  • You'll get a shared understanding rich in context that gets your org aligned a single direction so you can make smarter strategic decisions on marketing, product, ecosystem strategy, and more - and move faster


How we strategize, execute, and facilitate understanding and alignment of your customers

We'll walk your team through the process of discovering your customers' job stories.

This process falls into 4 chunks of strategic work. We'll take care of the cumbersome logistics, you'll just us for the strategic discovery work.

Strategic Roadmapping

We'll begin by unpacking where you are, what your vision is, your biggest challenges, and where your team is struggling. We'll surface whether we're in a "customer chaos" state or a "customer folklore" state - and find the closest outlines we can of who your best customers are.

Here's how:

  • Meet for working sessions to identify where your team is, where you want to go, and how having a single shared understanding of your customer can get you there
  • Convene your team to run the "Who's your customer" exercise to surface the customer folklore your team uses to make decisions before you start your JTBD exercise to give a benchmark for your "before" state
  • Discuss the attributes and behavior of your best customers and determine what factors we'll need to consider to recruit best-fit candidates into our study
  • Deliver strategic brief for the research questions we're investigating

Interview study

We'll coordinate the research ops of recruitment and incentive provisioning to launch an interview study with your customers so we can collect the qualitative data that will form the foundation of your customers' core job stories.

At this stage we'll:

  • Recruit customers via email that meet our mutually agreed-upon success criteria
  • Run 45-60 minute documentary interviews with each group to explore the moments where they struggle, where they look for solutions, where they make progress, and when they become successful
  • Record and transcribe each interview

Discover Core Jobs Together

It's one thing for us to present you with a deliverable that outlines the jobs. It's an entirely different experience for you and your team to listen to the customer interviews with your own ears and analyze them with your own brain.

During this phase, we'll:

  • Introduce your team to the core elements of the JTBD framework so that we have a common shared language for discussing the forces at play
  • Listen to interviews and cluster insights together to discover core jobs together
  • Define, agree, and document core jobs in easy-to-reference artifacts

Extract Opportunities and Next Steps

After we've conducted your study and aligned around who you're building for, we'll return to the questions we asked at the beginning. Now that we're able to make decisions based on customer consensus, we'll re-consider our biggest challenges and set a new course for how to deliver experiences that help our customers make progress

  • Sort out the new opportunities that emerged from our learnings
  • Discuss how to mobilize findings to drive strategy
  • Explore questions that surface from this exercise around how your team is structured, prioritize options, and discuss what needs to change or stay the same to pursue the opportunities you've uncovered


At the end of the study, you get:

  • Artifacts detailing your customers' job stories
  • Team re-alignment around understanding exactly who you are solving for
  • Recordings and transcripts of interviews you can return to
  • Prioritization of the opportunities that emerge from your study


How long it takes, what it costs, and how much time we'll need you for:

This is a 6-week engagement that involves several working sessions with the primary and secondary stakeholders to understand where you're at, where you're headed, and where you're going next.

The heaviest time lift for your team will be a 2-3 day workshop where we listen to interviews and analyze them together.

We'll coordinate with you at the beginning of the engagement to schedule each working session so you know what to expect and when.

The fee for this engagement is $20,000.


Get in touch to learn more and get started.

We can't wait to hear more about what you're working on. Tell us a little bit about your team and your business and we'll be in touch soon.