Office Hours: I lead marketing at Wildbit, was employee #8 at Litmus, and former CMO at Help Scout.Featured

Hi everyone! I’m Justine Jordan, Head of Marketing at Wildbit, the team behind Postmark, DMARC Digests, and People-First Jobs. We’re a product agnostic software company that operates like a self-funded venture studio. We also believe that businesses are designed to support human beings, and want to prove it’s possible to build bootstrapped, people-first, and profitable products.

Most recently I was interviewed for a Good Morning America segment about companies who run a 4-day work week. You can also read about my recent experiment to “hire like a human” or check out my personal site, Twitter, or LinkedIn posts.

Previously I was CMO at Help Scout and VP of Marketing at Litmus (where I spent 8 years after joining as employee #8 and the first marketing hire). While at Litmus I was recognized as the Email Experience Council’s 2015 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year and built an incredible brand, community, and multi-city international conference.

In my past life, I was a designer. After earning my BFA in Visual Communication, I spent a year in a tiny agency before landing in the professional services org at ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce) as an email designer and campaign manager for small brands all the way up to the Fortune 500.

Along my career journey I realized that I was chasing someone else’s definition of success: climbing the ladder, getting promotions, leading ever-bigger teams at increasingly larger companies. Once I figured out my sweet spot, I’m a lot happier in life and work.

Ask me anything about sustainable/organic growth strategies, running great events, recognizing when it’s time to move on, supporting multiple brands in a 4-day work week, public speaking, or hiring like a human. I’m an open book!

Thanks so much for joining us @justinejordan!Elphas – please ask @justinejordan your questions before Friday, September 10th. @justinejordan may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
Hi Justine, Wildbit sounds awesome! Great work building something that focuses so hard on people-first companies!My question is about sustainable growth strategies for consumer software products: how do you walk that fine line between measuring and using feedback from engagement metrics to find out if your product works and "growth hacking"? My app is the social media space and a lot of my competitors use push notifications to suck users back in. I want to avoid those kind of dark patterns, but if I eschew them entirely, people just drop off because they're so used to being reminded to open an app.
Thanks for the question! First, a disclaimer that I don’t have experience in B2C software 😬 But I’ll do my best for an answer.The psychology of social apps along with the influence of dopamine-driven learning behaviors is fascinating and while I don’t have a lot of experience here beyond being a consumer myself, here’s what I’d say:Does it matter what your competitors are doing? Do “best practices” to the product you’re trying to build? Are the benchmarks for engagement created by companies that share your values? In other words, carefully examine the sources of influence for you, your product, and your business. Are those expectations internally or externally motivated? Your app looks really cool, and I especially appreciate this language in your messaging: “...where people are the customer, not the product”. That, and the fact that you’re already aware of dark patterns tells me that you’re thinking about this differently than most. Keep asking “why am I doing this?” “why am I choosing this path?” and “is there another way?”If you stay true to your values, ask your customers what they want (in email, honoring preferences are everything), build trust and credibility, and deliver on your value proposition the rest should take care of itself. You’ve got this!
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response! That has been my gut feeling so far, so I just gotta keep sticking with it and combine that with the feedback I get!
Justine, thanks for sharing!I’ve never heard about Wildbit but the mission you’re on sounds meaningful and exciting. Are there any openings I your marketing department as of now? 🙈
Hey, Justine! I have been a big follower of yours since the Litmus era, and I appreciate all your work. Thank you for giving your time to cover some of our questions.I'm curious what a candidate should look after during the interview process if they wish to evaluate the hiring company’s approach to diversity, inclusion, empathy (or questions you'd like to get asked by your candidates). I've worked in the gaming industry for the last decade, and my current role is with a company that excels at sexism, racism, and the bro culture, and I made a goal from finding a company culture that is as far of an opposite as possible ☺️Thank you again for taking the time to share your experiences.
Hello and thanks for the question. I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve experienced sexism and racism in your career so far. One of the things I’ve realized in my career is how the collective trauma of our past experience (both personal and professional) can significantly influence how we see the world, how we make decisions, and more. So be kind, patient, and understanding with yourself as you navigate the path forward. I’m a huge fan of Key Values, which is a site that can help you find companies that share your values. It also has a section called the Culture Queries, which is essentially a quiz that suggests interview questions to ask based on what is important to you: of Key Values, my other recommendation is to dig really really deep. I’ve found that some candidates are afraid of asking tough questions. A good employer that is aligned with your values will appreciate those hard questions and the best employers know that they often come from a place of past trauma and will welcome them, even when they don’t have “ideal” answers. If the company is dodging your questions, stumbling through their response, or providing a politician's answers, that might be a red flag. Look for transparency and a willingness to admit that they have work to do—along with their plans for how to address it. Another thing I recommend is reaching out to prior employees to ask if they’d be willing to have a chat with you about their experience.
@DianneM thought of you when I read this answer!
Thank you so much @teresaman! That is awesome and super helpful!
Hi @justinejordan - You had me intrigued with your offer to discuss recognizing when it's time to move on. I would love to hear your thoughts on why that came up as something you feel should be discussed and what most women get wrong.If I get a 2nd question, what growth strategy do most companies do poorly and leave a ton of opportunity on the table?
Hi Justine! How did you make the switch from design to marketing? And what did carving out 'your sweet spot' look like?
Hey Justine! I'm super intrigued by the 4-day workweek and would LOVE to see my employer transition to it. How can employees make the case for a 4-day workweek internally? (hopefully without seeming lazy!)
Hi Justine! What skills & training did you take on (beyond what one would see on your LinkedIn) to become a top performer in your field?
Gosh, I feel old saying this, but sometimes I wonder if expectations have changed since I started my career. I’ve done very little skills-based training in design or marketing, and these certifications are much more popular now than they used to be. This also seems to vary from field to field and industry to industry—so it’s important to understand what your particular field and industry expects to see, along with what types of opportunities you are targeting. As a hiring manager for marketing roles at small SaaS companies, I don’t particularly value certifications—I prefer to see practical experience that has driven impact and outcomes. However, I am a voracious consumer of information. I read a lot of books and articles, participate in networking groups, and proactively seek to expand my sphere of influence by participating in communities, having conversations with folks inside and outside my field/industry, etc. One skill that has transferred across every role and job I’ve had is the ability to think about, drill into, and solve problems. I initially learned that skill through the design thinking framework, but there are lots of frameworks and models for problem solving. Here’s a great explanation of design thinking: one big exception is management and leadership training. While in college I volunteered for AIGA and got leadership training from that organization, and various employers have provided me with management training and leadership coaching. I'm grateful for that, and it's made me a much better leader and manager!
More sources to discover tools and frameworks:
Great advice! Thanks Justine. I agree - I'm not a fan of certificates, but practical experience.Like you, I don't give a damn about which school someone's come from or what certificate they earned at whatever school - tell me what you've produced/spearheaded/experimented on lately?That's the good stuff!
Hi Justin, it is a pleasure getting to know you. My name is Manisha Khadanga. I am building a growth marketing agency "Salted Social" helping b2b, saas and mobile app brands (mostly startups) grow digitally. As a first time founder, there sure are things I wish I could ask someone (setting up processes, building a strong network, manage teams and so much more)It would be great to connect and get some insights from you, of course if you find it worthwhile