James Booth is the VP of Growth here at Jot. His infectious curiosity, boundless creativity, and relentless drive to one-up not just his competitors but himself are two massive reasons why Jot customers have already enjoyed over 14 million cups of Ultra Coffee in only 18 months.
He’s also a husband and the father of a 3-year-old and a 21-month old, meaning he manages to keep up his furious work pace while also holding down a home life that is absolutely wild with toddler energy.
I sat down with James to get some insight into how he manages to stay perpetually energized and to keep his creativity flowing – aside from his go-to coffee: “5 oz of hot water and a tablespoon of Jot."
As James describes it, a growth marketer’s fundamental job is to listen to the customer. But “listening” doesn’t just mean reading reviews and addressing complaints, it also means paying attention to how the customer browses your website, clicks your links, or interacts with your messaging.
“There are countless moments within a customer journey that have an impact on whether a given customer clicks, purchases, returns, recommends, complains, etc.” he says. “By identifying these moments, you can then think about how to change them for the better. What if we say this instead of that? What if we send them here instead of there? And so on. Slowly the more ideas you test, the more you learn, and then you have better ideas.”
As James describes, there’s no rulebook on how to discover what customers are looking for, no one way to approach it. Success, instead, comes from tinkering, listening, and then tinkering again, a process that requires a deep and open curiosity.
“I am naturally inquisitive, and just want to know how everything works,” James says, “and then when I have an idea of how something works, I instinctively want to see if I can make it better. In true ‘growth’ style, I learn by trial and error!”
But being able to adapt to new data – to tinker – requires a seemingly infinite well of creative inspiration, and James has an interesting take on that.
Contrary to what most people assume, he views inspiration as just one tool in his creativity toolkit – and not the most important one.
“I definitely need a certain amount of inspiration to be good at my job,” he says, “but I can get work done without it when I need to. I think that comes from discipline. Inspiration comes and goes, but discipline means that when inspiration does come, your to-do list will be short enough for you to take advantage of it. It sucks to have a great idea and no time to act on it.”
At the same time, he does believe that one can give inspiration an opportunity to blossom through the way that one approaches life outside of work, by allowing the different parts of yourself a chance to rest.
As he puts it, “At work I need to be analytical and creative, while at home I’m just doing whatever I can to make my kids laugh. Someday my kids won’t think I’m funny, so I’m getting all those laughs in now. I don’t think inspiration can be manufactured, but I know that if I maintain a good balance of activity, new information, time with my family, and time to think, then good things happen.”
And when all else fails, James’ advice is just to keep moving. “For me, action beats inaction most of the time. So just take a step towards wherever you want to be and then take a well-earned nap.”