During our three-year partnership Rattleback helped Jump Associates clarify its positioning, increase marketing effectiveness, and push past its first growth ceiling.
As the world’s leading independent strategy and innovation firm, Jump works with the world’s most admired companies to solve their most pressing growth challenges. After 20 years helping clients generate exponential growth, firm leaders wanted to expand awareness of Jump and grow new relationships. Jump would have to learn new ways of marketing and selling – including some skills and capabilities the firm had yet to even consider.
A relational selling approach that had brought the firm over two decades of growth had maxed out. At the same time, the firm had evolved. So, it stood to reason that its growth targets, and the strategies required to hit them, needed to follow suit. In 2020, Jump CEO Dev Patnaik and Director of Strategy Michelle Loret de Mola partnered with Rattleback to help break through to the next tier of growth. Over the course of our collaboration, Jump:
CEO and Cofounder
A MARKETING STRATEGY FOR WHERE THE FIRM CAME FROM RATHER THAN WHERE IT WAS GOING
Jump was founded in 1998 by a group of entrepreneurs who were passionate about creating innovative solutions to complex organizations’ most sticky challenges. Its unique “hybrid approach” built the firm’s reputation as a trusted advisor to some of the world’s most admired companies. Jump was the catalyst behind Target’s “mass with class” strategy that has enabled it to thrive in the face of disruptive competitors like Wal-Mart and Amazon. Over the years, its client list grew to include companies such as Starbucks, Nike, P&G, Universal Music Group, Google, and Virgin. Those relationships, along with referrals and word of mouth, carried the company through more than twenty years of growth.
But by 2019, Jump needed a new way to grow. The referral-based model that had worked so well had reached the ceiling of its potential. As a future-focused strategy firm, Jump leadership had the right mindset – Dev and Michelle sensed it was time to look ahead to what marketing could be. What they lacked, however, was clarity on what that marketing approach needed to look like.
LEVERAGING A FUTURE-FOCUSED MARKETING APPROACH TO BREAK THROUGH THE GROWTH CEILING
Jump took the initiative to confront a critical question: What do you do when your marketing approach can no longer support your firm’s vision for the future? To start, Jump and Rattleback engaged in a discovery-driven process to pinpoint the unique makeup of its ideal clients. Together, we worked to sharpen its positioning and POV, revamp its online presence, and develop its thought leadership strategy. The journey included:
NARROWING IN ON THE IDEAL CLIENT
Jump’s marketing makeover began by gaining clarity and consensus on the firm’s ideal client — the kinds of companies and buyers that most value Jump’s organizational purpose and unique expertise. Collectively we reviewed the firm’s best clients with several key questions in mind. What do these organizations look like in terms of size, industry, status, and performance? Individually, who are the decision-makers who sponsor us into their organizations? How do they look at the world? What are their most pressing issues?
We discovered that Jump’s ideal client is typically a Fortune 50 company that is innately “present focused.” Organizationally, they’re “execution machines.” Yet, the people who sponsor Jump into their organizations are quite the opposite. They’re curious and future-focused. They’re passionate about what the future could be for their organization but frustrated with the difficulty of getting colleagues to buy into that vision.
Every marketing activity that followed — from positioning and POV development, to thought leadership strategy and the firm’s digital presence — would be rethought with these characteristics in mind.
CLARIFYING POSITIONING AND DEVELOPING A POINT OF VIEW
The next step was to consider how Jump really wanted to be known in the market and to ensure its positioning and POV were expressing what truly sets it apart. Based on its ideal client profile, Jump was best served by a market approach to positioning. This approach requires aligning the business model with clients at key points in their organizational maturity. In Jump’s case this meant the Fortune 50 – the top multi-national companies with revenue exceeding $10 billion. This positioning was expressed as: Jump works with the world’s most admired companies to solve their most pressing growth challenges.
The firm’s POV zeroed in on the unique wants and needs of its ideal client: Companies that really change the game are focused on the long view. They take a future-focused approach to strategy that looks out 6 to 7 years. They understand deeply who they are. They learn things about their customers no one else knows in order to create products and services no one else can. And they test and learn along the way to deliver results previously unimaginable.
Bringing clarity to the firm’s positioning and POV helped ensure Jump was (1) focused on winning the business it was best suited to win and (2) in control of its growth trajectory. It also provided a thematic foundation for all marketing activities to follow.
TELLING A MORE ENGAGING STORY WITH A WEBSITE REDESIGN
Jump’s existing website conveyed some solid key messages. But its graphics and user interface no longer represented the firm’s unique positioning and POV. For a firm focused on the future, it looked like yesterday’s news. The Jump team concluded the site no longer adequately told the story of the firm. Nor was it delivering the types of client conversations they were looking for.
It was critical to use the impact of great design to effectively engage Jump’s current clients and attract new ones. The site needed to meet a high standard for quality and charisma, and project a compelling voice and style. Working alongside the firm’s visual design team, Electric Pulp, Rattleback advised on site functionality in relation to the buyer’s journey. We assisted in creating content for the firm’s industry POVs — a key feature in helping prospective clients learn about Jump’s unique multi-industry approach. And we helped tell the story of three of the firm’s best client relationships — Target, Universal Music Group, and Stanford Children’s Health.
DEVELOPING AN EDITORIAL STRATEGY AND CREATING A THOUGHT LEADERSHIP ENGINE
To create demand, Jump needed to “jump-start” its thought leadership program. We worked with firm leadership to develop a topical strategy for owned content based on the firm’s unique 5-part “strategy canvas” and the types of questions clients typically ask in the early stages of a new client relationship. Then we connected Jump with earned media experts to build out its external publishing efforts.
The internal initiative focused on producing evergreen content to establish Jump as the leading global expert on future-focused strategy. The earned media initiative focused on publishing high-profile features, on timely topics in the news cycle, where future-focused business leaders go to learn and discover. This included article placements in publications such as Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Modern Banker, AdWeek, and more. And it led to a recurring weekly column in Forbes for CEO, Dev Patnaik.
RECORD GROWTH AND A ROADMAP FOR THE FUTURE
In three years since starting its relationship with Rattleback, Jump successfully:
Most importantly, the firm pushed right through its first growth ceiling.