Filling the Gap Between Jobs to be Done and the Experience we Deliver

Mind the gap

In marketing speak, jobs to be done means why we “hire” a product or service. The focus is the thing we want to do, rather than the feature of the product or service that does it. For example, we want to drill a hole in the wall. Many ways of doing that. Then based on what the hole is for, how precise we are and how little we like to clean up afterward we may select one drill bit or nail over another. 

These requirements don't have to be explicit for us to find the right product. Because if a marketer has done their job well, they will help us make it explicit as we go about our search and selection. The tool speaks to us in two ways:

  1. what it's designed to do—drill or make a hole
  2. how it's going to do it—clean, precise, etc.

The first is the reason we put in the search box and may be the reason we buy, the second is the reason we keep and tell everyone. They are two separate conversations that happen at the same time. One is external, one is internal.

Products also have packages, which are part of the appeal and attract us based on things like values. Values are part of number two, our internal conversation. For example, less packaging and recyclable material are attractive to people who are conscious about waste.

If we were to examine why the best marketing works, we would see that it's because it creates experiences that engage with both external need and internal questions associated with it.

As customers, even when we may not know exactly why something works on us, a safe assumption is that they it's because the company manages to close the gap between the promise it made about the product and service and how it did at delivering on it.

Out of curiosity, given so many of us are now knowledge workers involved in the service industry, does this concept work with people as well?

Let's start with how we fill the gap between jobs to be done and experience we deliver as individuals. Our behavior—how we do what we do—is made of two elements:

  1. reputation, how others think of us—what they put in their mental “search box” 
  2. character, the qualities or features that distinguish us—which influences how we work

People “buy” us for our reputation, how good we are, the experience we have, and so on, and keep coming back for “how it feels to work with us.” Like in product and service packaging, we also have a professional image—the first impression we make of someone can have a strong effect on the rest of our interactions with them.

Which one should we spend the majority of our time working on? 


A famous example to get us started thinking about the differences in character, reputation, and image. The video below is useful in helping us appreciate how we might consider filling the gap between jobs to be done and the experience we deliver to align the two better.

Steve Jobs is known for his tantrums and thunderous personalty… in private. In front of a large public he usually looks enjoyable and composed. But sometimes he lets the cat out… just a little, like in the video clips below.


Note: a healthy dose of humor does help.


[image above via Wikipedia]