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Market research is a critical cornerstone in today’s dynamic and competitive business environment, particularly in Singapore. Companies striving to carve a niche or maintain leadership must continuously innovate and adapt. It’s no longer sufficient to meet customer demands merely; businesses must anticipate them. This is where the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) approach steps in as a transformative solution.


What is the JTBD Framework?

Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) is more than just a buzzword in the business realm. It is a theory, a framework, and a unique perspective on deciphering why customers opt for specific products or services. This approach challenges the traditional belief system about consumer behaviour. Instead of understanding the purchase decision based solely on demographic or psychographic attributes (like age, educational background, or values), JTBD digs deeper. It suggests that consumers don’t merely ‘buy’ products. They “hire” them to execute specific tasks – addressing a pressing problem or satisfying a desire. For instance, consider why someone would buy a high-end, powerful drill. According to JTBD, it’s not about owning the drill but creating the perfect hole. This shift in perspective from product to purpose can revolutionize how businesses perceive their offerings. If you want to learn more about the Jobs-to-be-Done theory and how it can help your business, several resources are available online. 

  1. JTBD.info: JTBD.info is a website dedicated to Jobs-to-be-Done theory. It offers a range of resources, including articles, podcasts, and videos, that can help you understand and apply the theory to your business. 
  2. Coursera: Coursera is an online learning platform that offers a course on Jobs-to-be-Done theory. The course is taught by Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who developed the theory. 
  3. Journal of Consumer Psychology: The Journal of Consumer Psychology is an academic journal that publishes research articles on consumer behaviour. It includes articles on the Jobs-to-be-Done theory and its applications. 

By exploring these resources, you can gain a deeper understanding of the Jobs-to-be-Done theory and how it can help your business conduct market research and focus groups in Singapore.


Why is JTBD Crucial for Singapore’s Business Landscape?

As a global business hub, Singapore boasts a vibrant, diverse, and ever-evolving marketplace. Consumer preferences change rapidly, influenced by global trends, technological advancements, and cultural shifts. Against this backdrop, understanding the ‘job’ for which a customer ‘hires’ a product becomes paramount.

Integrating the JTBD framework can drastically alter how companies in Singapore innovate and communicate with their clientele. It’s not just about presenting a product but elucidating how it seamlessly fits into the consumer’s life and how it performs the ‘job’ it was ‘hired’ for.

In Singapore, market research avenues like qualitative moderation, surveys, and focus groups can significantly benefit from the JTBD approach. Businesses can garner insights beyond mere statistics by delving deep into the reasons behind consumer choices.


Transforming Market Research with JTBD

Today’s significant challenge facing many corporations is the abyss between vast data collections and tangible, impactful innovation. According to a recent McKinsey poll, 94% of global executives voiced dissatisfaction with their firm’s innovative endeavours. This discrepancy often arises due to an over-reliance on data patterns without genuinely comprehending the underlying customer motivations. The result? Products that look good on paper but fail to resonate with the target audience.

But how can JTBD change this narrative for Singaporean businesses?

  1. Insights with Qualitative Moderation: Singapore’s rich tapestry of cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles means that qualitative moderation plays a pivotal role in understanding consumer decisions. JTBD emphasizes capturing the unique contexts and emotions steering these choices. It’s not just about knowing the ‘what’ but uncovering the ‘why’ behind consumer decisions.
  2. Redefining Focus Groups: Traditional focus groups often scratch the surface of consumer feedback. However, with the JTBD lens, these discussions are driven by understanding specific customer ‘jobs’, ensuring feedback is more relevant and actionable.
  3. Crafting Purposeful Surveys: Surveys designed with the JTBD framework dive deep into underlying motivations. Businesses can capture genuine needs and aspirations by framing questions around the ‘jobs’ consumers want products to accomplish.

After establishing the significance of the Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) approach in Singapore’s business landscape in Part 1, it’s crucial to delve deeper into its hands-on application. Singapore’s position as an international nexus of commerce, trade, and innovation provides a unique environment. Traditional market research methodologies might often fall short in such a landscape, and the JTBD approach can offer valuable insights.


Segmentation with JTBD: Catering to Singapore’s Diversity

In most traditional market research, segmentation is primarily based on demography or buying behaviours. However, JTBD offers a fresh perspective. Segmentation based on specific customer jobs suits Singapore’s multifaceted market. For instance, instead of segmenting solely based on age or income, businesses can segment based on tasks like “finding efficient urban transport” or “seeking multicultural culinary experiences.” This customer job-centric segmentation allows brands to tailor their offerings more effectively.


A Customer-Centric Approach: Meeting Emotional and Social Needs

JTBD isn’t just about the functional tasks that products or services accomplish. It deeply considers the emotional and social dimensions of consumer decisions. For businesses in Singapore, understanding these emotional and societal nuances can be the difference between a product’s success or its lacklustre performance. A campaign or product that resonates emotionally will invariably foster deeper customer loyalty and engagement.


Case Study: Reimagining Mobile Banking in Singapore

Let’s delve into a tangible example. Consider a hypothetical mobile banking application in Singapore. Traditional research might focus on features, security, and user interface. However, with the JTBD approach, the focus shifts to understanding the ‘jobs’ users ‘hire’ the app for.

Is it merely for transactions, or do users want to manage their expenses better? Are they looking to save efficiently for their children’s education or plan a wise investment for a comfortable retirement? By identifying these ‘jobs’, the app can be tailored to offer features like expense tracking, educational savings plans, or curated investment tips, turning the application from a mere transactional tool to an essential financial partner.


Conclusion: JTBD – The Catalyst for Innovation in Singapore

Singapore’s journey as a global innovation hub is well recognized. Yet, the market’s competitive nature demands that businesses remain at the forefront of consumer understanding. The Jobs-to-be-Done approach offers a roadmap for companies to resonate with customers on multiple dimensions, from functional to emotional.

Whether through qualitative moderation, surveys, focus groups, or other market research techniques, integrating JTBD principles can be transformative. In pursuing innovation success and lasting customer loyalty, understanding and addressing the real ‘jobs’ that customers need to do is paramount. JTBD’s approach can be overwhelming. As experts in understanding consumer behaviour in Singapore, we are here to offer consultation to get you started. Please feel free to contact us at felicia@assembled.sg or tell us more about your project.