Media by JP is a premier sponsor of Startup Sioux Falls.

For local videographer, Jeff Pickett, marketing is all about putting yourself in the customer’s shoes.

He recalls watching a movie back in the eighties called Nothing in Common, starring Tom Hanks. In the film, Hanks portrays a successful advertising executive who puts himself in the mindset of the customer.

“I’ll never forget that,” Pickett said. “It really struck this emotional chord with me about how to really sell and market, you have to think like the customer, and ultimately that led me to get into marketing.”

Pickett spent close to twenty years in the field, working in both consumer and healthcare marketing, but he says he reached a point in life where he wanted to prove his value to himself. 

“I just had the itch to find out if I have what it takes to do it on my own,” he said. 

Pickett says he noticed that traditional marketing companies were charging hefty fees for work he could offer at a lower price. With little overhead and a more focused approach, Pickett felt he could provide a valuable service to businesses seeking video work. In spring 2017, he went all in as Media by JP, investing in the necessary equipment and searching for clients.

“The first year was pretty rough, as with any startup, but by February 2018 I made more money in a month than I had in the previous six, and everything started clicking,” he said. 

Creating a differentiating factor

For Pickett, a key to his success has been differentiation. 

“It’s basic marketing,” he said. “I came up with the tagline, ‘My name is Jeff Pickett, I own Media by JP, and we provide emotional branding through video.’” 

The first time he used the tagline at a networking event, Pickett says ten people came up and expressed interest in working with him. 

“It’s really what I’ve hung my hat on—tying in the emotion behind why we buy and make decisions—and I think that has struck a chord with a lot of clients,” he said. 

With years of marketing experience under his belt, Pickett sets himself apart from other talented videographers by implementing those tactics and strategies in his work. While he still films the occasional wedding, close to 95 percent of his clients are businesses, including dental offices, orthodontists, manufacturers, and industrial clients. 

“I’ve done a good job of building trust with my clients,” Pickett said. “75 to 80 percent of the people we worked with last year are also working with us this year.”

Pickett encourages his clients to talk less about their businesses and more about their customers. Reviews and testimonials are where people make their decisions when it comes to purchasing a product or service.

“As consumers, we’re more apt to listen to ourselves or our peers talking rather than the ‘big guy on high’ telling us what to do,” he said. 

To keep his rates reasonable and optimize resources, Pickett says he often tries to shoot as much video content in one day as possible, ultimately providing content for multiple videos at once. Rates vary based on the client’s needs, but Pickett says most people come to him because they know video is a smart investment. 

“I’m not going to waste time challenging someone who’s convinced it’s not the way to go,” he said. “I do let people know, however, that people are making their decisions based on search and video, and all signs point to it going up and up. If you say you don’t need it, you’re just putting the competition ahead of you. 

In 2019, Pickett traveled to Tennessee to become certified as the first and only Story Brand Guide in South Dakota—a designation based on the book, Story Brand, by Donald Miller. Pickett references the book as one of his main touchstones for making the customer the hero of the story.

“The biggest thing I want from my work is to continue to guide other businesses down this path and help them understand that the customer really is the hero of the story,” he said. 

As an entrepreneur, Pickett says he likes to pay back groups that have helped him in the past. 

“I see the startup and entrepreneur community as the next generation of business owners, innovators, and disruptors, and I’d rather be part of that than against it,” he said. “There’s so much that people could gain from this community, and it’s just a signal to me that opportunity is out here, you just have to know where to look.”

If you’re interested in working with Media by JP, schedule a call today.

Here at Startup Sioux Falls, we’re grateful for the support of sponsors like Media by JP. View a full list of sponsors here.