Jobs to Be Done Framework (JTBD) and Buyer Personas

Written by Alexandra
Written by Alexandra

Content Manager at SocialBee

This is Chapter 5 from the Buyer Persona Guide

What Is the Jobs to Be Done Framework?

The Jobs To Be Done (JTBD) framework is a useful tool to focus on outcomes rather than features.

A job to be done is essentially a revolutionary concept with the purpose to guide you toward innovation and provide the means for you to move beyond the norm of only improving current solutions. Basically, JTBD is a theory that promotes innovative user design that considers the customers’ needs and wants.

Just think of it this way: buyer personas are the who of marketing, while Jobs to be Done is the why and what of marketing.

According to Zenkit, “Jobs-to-be-Done, or JTBD for short, follows the idea that customers purchase products or services to get jobs done, not for the products or services themselves.

And here’s how the Christensen Institute breaks down what JTBD is: “The Jobs to be Done framework is a tool for evaluating the circumstances that arise in customers’ lives. Customers often buy things because they find themselves with a problem they would like to solve. With an understanding of the ‘job’ for which customers find themselves ‘hiring’ a product or service, companies can more accurately develop and market products well-tailored to what customers are already trying to do.

What Jobs to be Done does not have however is the part of what makes buyer personas necessary for great marketing. It doesn’t include the individual features that appeal to those designing the solution.

So, basically, it generalizes the emotional and social context of all the users. The result? It misses the context and empathy that is the help you need in developing a great solution.

Don’t think it’s about the product. It’s not. Customers don’t care about your product or service. All they care about is getting their Job Done.

Bottom line: Persona creation and validation are equally as important. Together, they make for a combined activity that brings clarity over who is using your product or service and what they’re trying to achieve.


Image via TwoOctobers

The Difference Between Buyer Personas, Jobs to Be Done, and Customer Journey Maps

Now that we know what JTBD is and how it works, let’s have a look at the differences between buyer personas, JTBD and customer journey maps.

  • Buyer Personas – Provide a humanizing context, describe the type of emotional experiences an individual wants and needs, and describe their demographics, social and physical environment, pain points, challenges, and dreams.
  • Jobs To Be Done – Provides the functional steps that lead to the desired outcome and insight into whether the users have achieved their desired purpose.
  • A Customer Journey Map – Provides the framework that holds it all together and lets you view the human context and the functional wants and needs over the timeline of your choice.

Note: All these tools should strongly be based on qualitative research.

Now if you wondering whether you need all three, it depends.

  • Without buyer personas, jobs basically conceal the emotional and social needs under a thick layer of functional analysis. This means that Jobs To Be Done will lack the kind of humanity that actually inspires creativity.
  • Without an anchor in the desired results of jobs, buyer personas can turn into something which can be unrealistically specific, overly vague … biased.

Without the customer journeys, it’s way too easy to get lost in details, losing sight of both the goal of experience you’re focusing on as well as the goal of experience you may have voluntarily or involuntarily set aside.

There’s no right answer. So make sure to choose wisely. 

How the JTBD Framework Fits with the Buyer Persona

Some say that the JTBD framework is the perfect replacement for the user/buyer persona.

But is it really? Nope, it’s not.

And, here’s why you can’t replace personas with Jobs To Be Done:

  • It’s not quite possible to design a UX strategy when all you have is JTBD. Without the knowledge of your personas and without understanding their motivations, challenges, needs, and pain points, you can’t create a constant experience.
  • A good product or service may get the job done in the best possible way, however, it really doesn’t count, not if nobody knows about this product or service. Therefore, you need to focus on marketing your product. And, clearly, you won’t be able to market your product without knowing and understanding the target audience really well.
  • Be aware that one product can accomplish many jobs. What then? Think of a laptop for instance. You can have a buyer persona who wants a laptop for photo and video editing, another who wants to use the laptop for remote work video games, and another for blogging and writing. And so on.


Buyer personas are extremely relevant and they aren’t replaceable. If you take out the buyer persona from the equation, you’ll be left with a JTBD that will lead you into a rational and cold analysis.

At the same time without jobs, you run the risk of losing sight of your product’s main goal. Therefore, maybe the best way is to use both methods combined.

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Article written by

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Content writer at SocialBee

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