We can hardly believe it’s been 10 years already. We’re hellbent on keeping JDI as scrappy and innovative as we were on day one. Here’s a little more about what makes us tick — what we value, and how we’re different.
Our clients are working to fundamentally improve how the world operates. We help them define new concepts and categories, identify the right market opportunity, and grow fast. The difficulty of the dive is uniformly high. We love that about our work.
As a result, and from the beginning, we’ve always said “the earlier, the better,” whether you’re a startup in the making or a larger company or nonprofit working on something new. We want to hear from you as soon as possible, even if that means you’re not ready or able to pay us money yet. Advisory work, mentorship, Board roles, and genuinely paying it forward are fully built into our economic model.
We often come on board with clients before there is an internal marketing function. This means that we look a lot like an outsourced marketing department in terms of the services we offer. Our clients have multidimensional needs that span more than one role or department.
We play competently across the marketing spectrum. It was not easy to get to this point. This is rare of agencies like ours. We don’t believe in pure play consulting. We’re a group of generalists with specialities galore. Bo Jackson is our spirit animal. We all play more than one sport. We pride ourselves on our ability to move horizontally through disciplines.
We also believe that given where marketing is and where marketing is going, it’s all getting pretty “blendy.” Pairing earned, owned, and paid media together in unique ways is key. Visual and verbal communication are flip sides of the same coin. There is no longer any meaningful difference between internal and external communications. And it’s impossible to separate strategy from tactics.
At JDI we don’t focus on any given vertical or industry. Instead we emphasize practice areas, or “theses” in much the way an investor or analyst might.
This kind of pattern-based editorial thinking about our focus fits with how we see the world evolving in areas like space, new materials, synthetic biology, artificial intelligence, robotics, food systems, education, and more. Practice areas also help us curate cohorts within our portfolio that relate to each other in productive ways. Cross-collaborations are common.
You should choose us over a vertically-focused firm because you want to both own a category and simultaneously step outside it. Our team is known best for our subject matter expertise, our grasp and use of language, and our ability to increase comprehension and credibility in tandem.
At JDI you will hear us say repeatedly that it is all about the customer. Your customer, to be specific.
It’s all about the customer, it’s all about the customer, it’s all about the customer. Marketing is the business of audience, and of both getting and keeping attention. When we need a brilliant idea or when we are stuck, we refer back to the customer.
Getting clear on the customer is requisite for everything else, especially when you’re working out at the edge, on the frontier, creating new categories and smashing old ones to pieces. What is her intense need? What alternatives can she currently access? What is her overriding priority?
The customer never goes out of style. How well we can communicate is directly proportional to how well we are able to stand in the shoes of the customer.
The famous William Goldman quote about Hollywood rings true for us too.
Best practices are fleeting and that’s a good thing, we think. Especially in the industries, categories, and circles we run in at JDI. We’re wary of running a so-called playbook.
What we do is always evolving. We pride ourselves on forging ahead risk-tolerantly, developing new channels, techniques, and strategies well before our peers. This is one of the great advantages of working with technologists and entrepreneurs.
We’re constantly evolving the firm collaboratively with our clients. We’re certain to enlist your help in navigating our own journey too.
When it comes to selecting clients, one thing trumps all else, and that's a strong desire to work with good people on a mission with whom we have great chemistry. We want co-conspirators, and like kin. We seek people who are additive, and whose positive attitude towards marketing matches our own.
In our business, as with any consultancy, people are the product. We love that. When people are the product, there’s an immediacy and a level of natural accountability that’s hard to find anywhere else. We’re more than a team at JDI. We are proudly a family business in every sense of that word.
Similarly, our clients aren’t companies or organizations. Those are just container words for what’s really going on. Our most successful collaborations can be easily explained by the people involved. We care about you and your story more than anything else. Life’s too short to make decisions about how to spend time any other way.