Our Process

At JDI, design, marketing, and communications work as one unit in sync.

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.

It’s useful to get into some of the brass tacks of an engagement with JDI. Here’s what’s most important to know.

  • Chapter 1

    Kickoff Workshop

    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.

  • Chapter 2

    Regular Meetings

    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.

  • Chapter 3

    Team Composition

    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.

  • Chapter 4

    Proper Ramp Time

    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.

  • Chapter 5

    How Much We Cost

    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 most. 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 traditional 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 monthly and quarterly budgets that we agree upon at the beginning of each billing cycle. We send budget projections at the top of each month, followed by a comprehensive mid-month update on activities, status, and spend. Scope can be adjusted each month based on constraints and need.

    We charge $375/hour flat across all of our services for everyone at the firm except for our CEO and Partners. Our CEO bills at $550/hour and our Partners bill at $475/hour. We are a senior group through-and-through. Overall, our pricing model is designed to emphasize collaborations with the right person at the right time for the right thing.

    Some folks think that $375/hour is a lot, while others look at JDI as a bargain, depending on the region used as a baseline. $375/hour undercuts the boutiques we compete with in San Francisco, London, and New York, but our rates are exactly on par with what you would expect in Seattle, Boston, or Chicago.

    Our average client spends $15K per month with us. Our smallest client pays us $8K 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 month, quarter and/or year to create predictability.

    We’re also pretty intense about communicating budget compared to other firms. In addition to budget projections and mid-month activity updates, we’ll also check in frequently on pace (do we need to accelerate or decelerate based on your business needs?), value (are you getting your money’s worth out of JDI?), and program mix (how should your marketing with JDI evolve over time?).

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Our Portfolio

Our work runs the gamut from A.I. and robotics, to neuroscience and new ways of manufacturing physical goods, and even sound. Our portfolio does business in an equally wide array of industries, ranging from automotive to finance to healthcare to learning. You’d choose us over a vertically-focused firm because you want to both own a category and simultaneously step outside it.
Our Portfolio
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