Design at JDI

Like Socks for Robots


The typical user experience of marketing is poor. Brand only takes hold and growth only takes place when you start investing in your marketing as if it were a product. At JDI, we make better socks for your robots by cutting against the grain in a few key ways.


Content First

We believe content is king. We start with it, end with it, and obsess over it throughout the design and build process.

Templating a page before writing copy, creating visuals, and crafting calls to action puts things in the wrong order. Designing without content results in a mockup full of pretty empty boxes. It’s akin to training for a race without any knowledge of the distance.

Pragmatically, this means having the discipline to delay visual design until later than usual in the overall timeline. Most people delay content instead, punting on content until design is complete and putting quality at risk. Even the most impressive designs fall flat with mediocre, rushed content.

Deliberate overlap

At JDI, we’re deliberately made up of marketing-savvy designers and technologists, and technology-savvy marketers.

Growth hacking, user acquisition and retention, lead generation and nurturing, conversion optimization, and viral coefficients…these familiar terms all amount to classic product marketing to our mind. The nomenclature changes but the fundamentals have not. Those fundamentals amount to two things.

  1. The best product marketers transcend departmental lines. Multi-disciplinary skills sets are necessary.
  2. Design, build, measurement, and optimization must occur continually. The tighter the feedback loop, the better.

Big picture, we are very good designers but we also think that purely beautiful, self-referential, trendy websites often manage to get in their own way. The intended effects suffer because they are too self-impressed, too concerned with looking the part instead of playing it. Navel-gazing is the most common marketing sin—don’t tell me what you do; tell me what you do for me.

User Driven

We take issue with marketing websites that are ceremoniously “launched” and then abandoned to gather dust until the next “website revamp”.

We like to move fast and break things. We prefer continuous improvement and deployment. We like to garden, and we think that gardening gets you the very best results.

The best athletes in the world are revered for their uncanny physical abilities, but what enables them to tap into their genetic advantages, without exception, is their focus on personal bests. In 2012, Usain Bolt set three world records and took home two gold medals from the Olympic Games competition by applying non-obvious learnings he and his team discovered through iterative training cycles, many of which had never been tried before. At the highest levels of function, there is no manual. There is only careful obsession.

Similarly, the best websites are built and sharpened through frequent updates with short feedback cycles with an ear to analytics, user feedback, and constant testing of hypotheses (some proven, and many more disproven).

The courage to be

incomplete

“The courage to be incomplete” is a tenet of classic marketing—one of the oldest in the book.

Psychology tells us that the right amount of scarcity is key. As cognitive burden increases, confidence in choice, no matter what the choice is, decreases. From McLuhan to Ogilvy and back again, marketers have proven this to be the case. People need a reason to click learn more, to get a demo, to get in touch.

It’s important that your website doesn’t turn into your entire marketing funnel in a box. Some things (many things) don’t belong on your website. Some things are better left for “aha’s” further down the funnel. Some things the customer is better left to realize for herself.

Too many websites are burdened with too much responsibility, we think. The best websites are not the most comprehensive. Rather, they orchestrate top-of-the-funnel activity by clearly introducing your company or product in a way that makes it obvious what you do and don’t do, merchandising credibility to position your brand as the preferred one, and elegantly moving visitors to the next stage of the funnel, preserving inertia.

That’s it. Attempting to do more results in a website that fails to move people down the funnel optimally.

Speed always

Speed matters more than you probably realize. We put an incredible amount of time, effort and energy into making whatever we build fast. That means servers that respond quickly every bit as much as it does pages that scroll without lag on 3-year old underpowered laptops and load quickly at coffee shops with 5MB connections shared 15 ways.

Study after study shows that even the slightest discernible lag non-trivially affects conversion, and brand confidence too. It also makes all the difference when you have a customer tethered to their phone on 4G at a rural airport trying to sign up. The bar is constantly getting set higher.

Speed is plumbing work. Speed is behind the scenes. But that doesn’t make it unimportant. In fact, speed is at the top of our list when designing and developing, period.

Building together

for the long haul

We’re not afraid of frameworks, gems, APIs, and more. But we’re not a “Wordpress shop” or similar. We pick the right tool for the job and strive to remain in that sense technology agnostic. We do our best work alongside technology-savvy teams. These counterparts understand the subtleties of what and how we build. More importantly, they are unwilling to settle for just adequate work.

In general, our clients’ best medium and long-term ambitions necessitate custom applications, which can accommodate the bells and whistles that make or break the business. “Custom” does not have to mean “incredibly expensive” however. What it does mean is that you’re committed to building marketing products that uniquely match your goals.

We don’t think that one size fits all, not by a long shot.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but a good peek into who we are, what we do, and how we think. If any of the above resonated with you, there’s a good chance we’re already on the same team.

We’d love to hear more about your business, and the ways we can collaborate together to improve the experience of marketing and help your company grow.

What kind of robots make-up your ideal marketing machine?

This is just a peek into how we think about design. If any of the above resonated with you, there’s a good chance we’re already on the same team.

What does your ideal marketing machine look like? Let’s build it.


Select as many tiles as you'd like below to tell us what you're looking for.

  • a website
  • landing pages
  • strategy and ideation
  • content marketing
  • brand identity
  • naming
  • illustration
  • copywriting
  • user acquisition
  • brand visibility
  • thought leadership
  • increased retention
  • integrated campaigns
  • brand narrative
  • mobile friendly
  • lightning fast
  • conversion optimized
  • data driven
  • growth oriented
  • beautiful
  • a little weird
  • streamlined
  • fun
  • really cool
  • visually impressive
  • print collateral
  • a/b testing
  • offline components
  • video
  • social media
  • best practices
  • paid media & advertising
  • mixed media
  • internet of things
  • branded experiences
  • games
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