At JDI design, marketing and communications work as one unit in sync. We can be your CMO, Creative Director, VP of Content, VP of Communications, Director of Lead Generation, Head of Growth, and Brand Strategist, all in one shop.
We require an in-person kickoff workshop soon after we begin work, whether that's us traveling to you, or you to us. We have found this to non-trivially impact our chances of success by aligning goals and building chemistry. We also get an absolute ton of things done, ensuring a fast start. This is an easy thing to postpone or put on the back burner. But we need to be able to operate not just as an extension of your team, but as a true part of it. Looking back over our most successful collaborations, this is a common denominator.
We like to keep :30 minute weekly or :60 minute bi-weekly meetings on the books.
We don’t like call-and-response consulting, unless absolutely necessary. We use this time together to get things done, not read TPS reports aloud.
Many of our clients underestimate how much of their own time is required to work with us successfully. Especially once things start to go really well, your tendency will be to shift focus elsewhere.
Even though outsourcing implies automation, the opposite holds true. Expect to spend one hour of your time for every three hours that JDI works. At our average budget level, this means you are doing one hour of work per day as part of our collaboration, and sometimes 2-3 during intense periods.
We work in teams of 2–5 people, depending on the size of your budget. We convene teams based on subject matter expertise and tactical skill, as well as overall enthusiasm for the work. We very often cycle additional talents through your account when specific expertise or craft is needed.
We are unwilling to launch a company or execute a major campaign without at least 6–8 weeks of lead time. This window, we have found, is also a clear determinant of success.
Harried work creates any of a variety of otherwise avoidable problems, which all amount to a significantly decreased return on your investment with us. We don’t need a luxurious amount of runway. But we do need enough to deliver the kind of results we are known for. On a compressed timeline, dollars are less efficiently spent, and it is harder to maintain collectively high standards of work.
JDI has a unique business model and a unique methodology around money and budget management. We’re also more public and open about fees than others. It is often difficult to nail down exactly how much a firm will cost without investing a lot of time. We think that’s regrettable.
We also think retainers are a bad idea. No company’s needs are the same every month. Moreover, retainers incentivize clients to always seek more for their spend. Retainers incentivize us to do the least amount possible to justify our fees, in order to prop up margins. The relationship quickly fills up with suspicion and constant renegotiation.
Instead, we bill for our time, plain and simple. We preserve sanity by working against quarterly budgets, ebbing and flowing as appropriate. We send bi-weekly spend updates stood up against monthly projections. Activity is adjusted in real-time based on constraints and need.
We charge $300/hour flat for everyone at the firm, across all of our services. We are a senior group through-and-through. Our lack of rate tiers is designed to emphasize collaborations with the right person at the right time for the right thing.
You may think that $300/hour is a lot, or you may think our rate is economical. $300/hour undercuts the boutiques we compete with in San Francisco, London, and New York, but our rates are on par with what you would expect in Seattle, Boston, or Chicago.
Our average client spends $12-15K per month with us. Our smallest client pays us $5K per month, and our largest client $35K. We don’t do project work, but we do a limited number of intensive workshops around particular topics when we have spare cycles available.
One of the reasons people like retainers is because they offer protection against going over budget, and make for easy math too. We account for this desire at JDI by projecting spend by the quarter or year and bringing things in accurately on time and budget.
We’re also pretty intense about communicating budget compared to other firms, and we think talking about money more is much better than talking about money less. In addition to quarterly projections, we also send monthly projections and mid-month updates indicating what we did, what we’re going to do, and how much money we have incurred towards the projection in terms of fees.