Strategy Talk

Job-to-be-done lesson over a beer talk

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A few years ago during a local business networking event, I remember meeting a middle-aged lady who was the owner of a boutique beer producer in the area. Upon quick introduction, she quickly asked me if I had ever drank a boutique beer.

I’m not a drinker but enjoy the occasional beer with friends now and then. I mentioned a few popular brands that I commonly enjoyed with friends.

“Oh, not those brands, shame on you.”, she said jokingly. Then she proceeded to try to tempt me into trying boutique beers.

I didn’t know much about the job to be done concept back then but can remember that the experience has produced an interesting emotional sensation.

Emotional Job

“Oh, not those brands, shame on you.”

While we understand the importance of understanding customers’ emotional needs, as a business, we often missed the point.

Emotion is the very nature of human beings, not part of the demographic data in our marketing strategy. As business owners, we are often guilty to put up our “Emotional Job” mask during sales calls and showing our true self elsewhere.

We remember to include emotional triggers in our marketing piece but forgot to respect our customer’s emotions at other times.

Life-Changing Experience

Little that I realise that little experience changed my life. It prompts me to respect people as emotional beings even before I begin to dig into their emotional jobs, pains & gains.

It also helps me to notice people who pretended to understand your emotional job but all they did is just check a box.

Sadly, the experience is not an isolated one. I’ve seen IT professionals making statements such as, “How can you not know your social media privacy setting”. Or real estate agents, “You shouldn’t have sold at that price, it’s way too low.

Sometimes it can’t be helped, I know. To err is human. People will be people, silly mistakes will be made (which sometimes warrants a good laugh). But if you care about your business model, then you should care about how your build and maintain the relationship with your customers (which is why Strategyzer dedicated an entire block in the canvas for Customer Relationships).


Whether you are a coach, consultant, property developer or Elon Musk, your customer segments are living and breathing people. A real human being. And until such time where AI is so advanced that they started paying us to do their jobs (the irony of that), it’s won’t change any time soon.

Jobs to be Done Primer

A quick recap for those of you new to the job to be done concept, discussed in the Value Proposition Design book, written by our friends Alexander OsterwalderYves Pigneur and Greg Bernarda (and a few others). There are 3 types of jobs:

  • Functional job
  • Social job
  • Emotional job

If you’re like me, I spent way too much time getting to know and addressing people’s functional jobs. In a way, a lot of what we innovation coaches do is about functional jobs.

Spend a moment to think about how can your business create a value proposition to meet the pains and gains of your customer’s other jobs. A few ideas might help you think about it:

  • Customers don’t buy Rolex to check on time. They bought it to gain social status (social job).
  • Customers don’t buy car insurance only for the amount it is insured, but also to feel safe (emotional job).

When creating your value proposition, it is important that you don’t simply think of your customers in terms of their demographic but of the jobs they need to do, the pains and the gains associated with the jobs.

Join Accolade Coaching's free Innovation Mastermind Group to connect with other innovators, collaborate on ideas, and grow your success! Learn more>>
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Emmanuel Setyawan

A Strategyzer coach and Blue Ocean Strategy Australia consultant, Emmanuel brings remote delivery and time-proven, case study backed frameworks to remote strategy coaching and facilitation while helping customers create new or improve existing business models, design value propositions that capture new market or untapped needs and create a new way to generate revenue streams. Contact Accolade Coaching now and let Emmanuel help you work on your innovation strategy.