Jonathan Payne — Marketing is the lifeblood of a business.

Thanks a lot to Jonathan for taking the time to do this Interview. “Marketer Interviews” is a interview series catalog where we interview the top marketers out there and present it in an organised and categorized format at . 
 Jonathan Payne is CEO and Founder at JP Digital. To learn more about Jonathan’s work go to

Question: Where are you working now, what is your role and how did you get here? 
Jonathan Payne: I’m the CEO and Founder of JP Digital, a digital marketing and advertising agency based in Louisville, KY. I spent five years working in account services on brands like Old Forester, Early Times, Canadian Mist, and KORBEL. I then transitioned into higher education, spending a little over a year at University of Louisville in the department for online learning and distance education.

Question: What is your favorite marketing area? (Social, SEO, Sales etc.)? 
Jonathan Payne: Big fan of social and content marketing, but I also love the real bottom line results you can drive with paid search and SEO.

Question: Why do you love marketing? 
Jonathan Payne: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.” -Peter Drucker

That simple. Marketing is the lifeblood of a business. That doesn’t mean other functional areas are irrelevant, but without marketing and innovation, a company makes zero dollars. I love having that level of influence. I also love working to provide legitimate solutions to problems people have and enjoy hearing the positive feedback when you offer a product or service that genuinely improves their lives.

Question: What are your favorite books? 
Jonathan Payne: The E-Myth Known by Mark Schaefer Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields Into The Wild :)

Question: What marketing related blogs, magazines etc. do you read to keep your skills up to date? 
Jonathan Payne: SEMRush Sprout Social Copyblogger Marketo Mark Schaefer’s GROW Buffer Content Marketing Institute Convince and Convert

Question: What brands do you like or follow on social media and why? 
Jonathan Payne: AirBNB does an exceptional job with their #AirBnbExperiences hashtag.

Question: How do you find good content? 
Jonathan Payne: Buzzsumo and aggregating blogs I like in Feedly. I’m also still really active on Twitter and think it has a great niche community for marketing. There are still plenty of people active there that give me inspiration.

Question: How do you get to know your target audience? 
Jonathan Payne: Very carefully :) I think it really starts with having genuine empathy for your audience. To be able to step away from talking to them, and instead be able to feel what they’re feeling. You can’t genuinely understand your audience’s challenges and obstacles until you’ve experienced what they’re facing.

Question: What tools do you use for social marketing? 
Jonathan Payne: A good mix of Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. Sprout is my favorite by far, especially with their recent acquisition of Simply Measured. They already have a great analytics set up and I expect that to get even better now.

Question: What tools do you use for analytics? 
Jonathan Payne: Google Analytics, Simply Measured/Sprout Social, Springbot.

Question: What CRM tools do you use? 
Jonathan Payne: HubSpot primarily.

Question: What’s your #1 advice for people starting to get into marketing? 
Jonathan Payne: Learn the theory and how to think like a marketer and business person while you’re the classroom. But at the end of the day, the only true way to learn marketing, especially today, is to be a practitioner who rapidly adopts and consumes the near-daily changes happening in the industry.

Start with your personal brand if you don’t have a business to work on. Start a blog or YouTube channel, set up social accounts, engage in (white hat) link building, pull the analytics reports. Do it all yourself until you find what you enjoy most, then specialize in that area and become an expert.

Your degree does matter, but not nearly as much as getting your hands dirty and trying to take a campaign or goal from A to B.

This interview is part of the “Marketer Interviews” catalog project. A service by observely — your automated competitor analysis delivered to your inbox