From the Ground Up: An Interview with Daniel Klein of Joseph Studios
Most marketing service providers today understand the importance of fostering meaningful relationships with customers, but unfortunately, as operations start to scale, that relationship-focused approach seems to be the first thing that gets thrown out the window. Establishing processes that streamline communication with clients and encouraging transparency and openness is essential for those looking to build and maintain relationships at scale.
'Encouraging transparency and openness is essential for those looking to build and maintain relationships at scale.' Click To Tweet
In this week’s interview from the “From the Ground Up” series, we are chatting with Daniel Klein from Joseph Studios, an UpCity Certified Premium partner, and one of the top digital marketing agencies in the United States. Below we discuss how Joseph Studios got its start, how they manage to build personal and successful relationships at scale, and more!
Q: Tell me a little about your company and how it got its start.
A: My friends began starting their own businesses a few years ago, but they were struggling to get leads and build momentum. Not wanting them to continue to struggle, I began helping from a marketing perspective. Turns out marketing is about building relationships and meaningful connections with people rather than bombarding folks with interruption ads. Go figure!
My friends’ businesses bloomed and so did mine, but we didn’t have a name for ourselves yet. Looking over name options with my dad one evening, we reminisced that my Grandpa once ran a successful marketing company for many years called Conrad Studios (Conrad being his middle name). So, as a way to pay respect to the old man, we dubbed the company Joseph Studios (Joseph being my middle name).
We’ve since grown by 1400% over the last two years using our organic marketing approach, and our team is now comprised of 11 high-speed US-based employees. Many of these folks left the corporate world to start a family but didn’t want to give up their careers in the process. Since Joseph Studios is a fully remote company, we were more than glad to onboard each of these experts, and over the last two years, we’ve been quietly stealing the best and brightest from corporate America simply because the Fortune 100 can’t or won’t offer fully remote positions.
Today, we either augment medium and large businesses (who typically have marketing generalists on their team) with our team of experts, or we act as the company’s entire marketing department and are in charge of all lead generation activities. This way our clients have all the capabilities of an enterprise marketing team but without the cost, overhead, or burden of having an internal team.
Q: Remote work is definitely becoming a lot more common, but what led you to pursue an entirely remote team??
A: I’m able to fully leverage someone’s talent and say, “You know what, you’re a professional and you want to be treated like a professional. I totally get that. You don’t want to work in an office 100% of the time, and you do your professional thing on your own. I got your back. Go forth and do awesome things.” And they work out of their house; they work out of a coffee shop; they do whatever. It’s possible now because we have Slack, we have Skype, we have Zoom, we use Jira, we use ClickUp. All these tools combine to enable a process that results in really phenomenal delivery.
The fully remote capability would not have existed without technology. Even five years ago, this would have been impossible. Tax compliance, communication, HR – there are so many reasons why this level of remote work just would not have been possible until now. For example, in Denver, Colorado there’s a work entitlement tax. I never would’ve known that (I live in Georgia), but we use a tool that helps us from a corporate compliance perspective to understand and pay those taxes. I can hire people in Texas and Colorado and Louisiana and New York based on their skills and abilities, not because they live 10 miles from the office.
Q: What drove you to focus on medium to large businesses, rather than small businesses? Was that a strategic decision?
A: That decision came about very organically. We work best with medium and large companies because of the level of expertise that we have and the type of services we provide.
'Starting a business is like climbing Mount Everest and your marketing team is like a Sherpa Guide.' - Daniel Klein, Joseph Studios Click To Tweet
Starting a business is like climbing Mount Everest and your marketing team is like a Sherpa Guide. They will help run equipment, run safety lines, guide you to the top, make sure you’re pointed in the right direction, but at the end of the day, the person has to put one foot in front of the other. With the medium and large companies, they have a lot of momentum to be able to do that, whereas with solo entrepreneurs and startups there are a lot of other factors at play which can prevent an otherwise wonderful strategy from being implemented.
Q: What has been your biggest challenge in growing your business thus far?
A: Things haven’t been easy as the founder, but we’ve HEAVILY relied on LEAN, Six Sigma, and Agile mythologies to ensure that throughout our growth we’ve maintained a rock solid delivery process. Process is everything to us and we love it because it prevents waste and defects from reaching our end users.
Outside of this, it’s cash. We’re completely self-funded and with that comes a slower than necessary growth curve. Still, 1400% in 24 months is nothing to shake a stick at.
Q: Could you elaborate more on what you mean by “cash”?
A: I was being a little satirical there, but it’s 100% true.
We provide a tremendous amount of white glove service to each client that we don’t nickel and dime for. If you need a spare email, if you need an extra blog, if you need someone to bounce ideas off of, there isn’t an expectation that there’s going to be an invoice headed your way as a result of those extras. It’s something that’s thrown in. I still pay the staff for that, but it’s something that I do as a result of my deep desire to see our clients succeed.
Q: How important is being recommendable to your company?
A: It’s absolutely everything. Reputation is the only thing standing in the way of ruin, and ALL companies need to be fanatical about their reputation!
Q: Can you give us an example of an occasion when your reputation has helped you close a client?
A: EVERY SINGLE CLIENT. Whether they found us via an organic Google search, they found us via UpCity, or they read a review elsewhere, absolutely every deal we’ve struck is the result of our reputation being intact and publicly on display.
We’ve made a conscious decision to humanize our brand and step out from behind our logo. When you do business with Joseph Studios you develop personal relationships with our team and that process begins when you first speak to our sales team. At the end of the day, a logo isn’t going to pick up the phone if you need immediate help, but Blake will, Hailey will. We’re a group of humans who help you connect with other humans in a very scalable way so you both can potentially do business. That’s a very beautiful thing.
Daniel Klein was born and raised in Atlanta, Ga. He served 8 years in the Army Intelligence community and upon exit moved into a project management role helping; Home Depot, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, IQVIA, and Fiserv with their strategic projects and initiatives. In 2016 Daniel began marketing consulting, focusing on how companies can build honest and strong relationships with potential and current clients at scale. Flash forward to present day and Joseph Studios is a fast-growing company with an US-based team of SME marketers and a blossoming portfolio of successful and happy clients.