J Dilla: B2B Marketing Lessons from His Album Donuts with Head of Marketing at Crowdcube, John Hills

In this episode, we’re talking about J Dilla's album Donuts. Together with the help of our guest, Head of Marketing at Crowdcube, John Hills, we’re talking about borrowing from content that’s already out there, building your content IP, and never losing your human touch.

Episode Summary

There’s a lot of great content out there. So why not find inspiration there? Sample it, remix it and make it your own.

In this episode, we’re turning to one of the greats when it comes to sampling: the late rapper and producer J Dilla.

Together with the help of our guest, Head of Marketing at Crowdcube, John Hills, we’re talking about borrowing from content that’s already out there, building your content IP, and never losing your human touch.

About our guest, John Hills

John Hills is Head of Marketing at Crowdcube, Europe’s leading equity crowdfunding platform. To date, they've helped raise over £1.4 billion for over 1,300 businesses and built up a community of over 1.7 million members. He joined Crowdcube in April of 2022. Prior to his current role, John led the marketing team at FrontFundr, Canada's leading equity crowdfunding platform. There, his team helped 70+ companies raise more than $90M and built up an investor community of over 32,000 people. He has also previously held marketing roles at Duuers and Founder Institute. Outside of work, he is a bass player, marathon runner and a record collector.

Key Takeaways

What B2B Companies Can Learn From Donuts:

  • Sample, sample, sample. Just like J Dilla samples from Dionne Warwick, The Temptations, Run-DMC and more on Donuts, you can borrow ideas from content that’s already out there too. You don’t have to come up with something totally original every time. John says, “When you're doing content marketing, the bar is incredibly high. You can feel quite overwhelmed. Like, I don't have the budget that Apple has, neither do I have the brand expertise or the people to do it. That doesn't mean that I can't have an impact. I can still be scrappy. I can still look at what's working and create things that are memorable and valuable for people. And so I think that you can just look at what's already out there and how you fit into that rather than feeling you have to create something new. You can take what's there, see what appeals to people and see how you can make that memorable and impactful as well.”
  • Build your content IP. John says, “You could create a load of content and just farm it out. [But instead] why don't you find a problem that your customer really cares about, name it so you're acknowledging it, you're identifying it, and then exist only to solve that problem. You become known - you become synonymous - with that content IP.” For J Dilla, his calling card - what he was known for - was a horn sampled from Isaac Hayes. And John says, “​​I kind of think of that as his content IP. You know it's him. It's giving you what you want, which is a dopamine hit of great music. He's being there for you. And I think that's what we have to do as marketers too, right? Like basically find your Isaac Hayes horn and blast it where appropriate.”
  • AI’s a useful tool, but never lose your human touch. John says “that's really what's going to land with people and what's going to resonate.” It’s like how J Dilla sampled from live recordings, which John points out have slight imperfections and variations from a studio recording. He says live recordings catch your ear, engage you more and are more memorable.

*”Sampling is interesting because you're channeling your interests. You're like part curator, part creator. And like that is truly what a marketer is. It's just a perfect metaphor for modern marketing.” - Ian Faison

*”If you want to engage and build an audience, you want to be known as someone that's bringing them the good stuff. You filter through. You know which places to look, which is what [J Dilla's] doing on the album. Like, ‘I know this really particular little piece of a song which I dug out from a record shop and turned into something that sounds really cool for you.’ In the same way we, as marketers, have an attention economy, right? So it's kind of ‘Why should you have to pay attention to me rather than someone else?’ I've done the hard yards and I'm bringing you the good stuff, packaged neatly in a newsletter or a podcast or on a social feed.” - John Hills

Episode Highlights


Watch Parks and Recreation

Connect with Jen on LinkedIn

Learn more about Intellimize

About Remarkable!

Remarkable! is created by the team at Caspian Studios, the premier B2B Podcast-as-a-Service company. Caspian creates both nonfiction and fiction series for B2B companies. If you want a fiction series check out our new offering - The Business Thriller - Hollywood style storytelling for B2B. Learn more at

In today’s episode, you heard from Ian Faison (CEO of Caspian Studios) and Meredith Gooderham (Senior Producer). Remarkable was produced this week by Jess Avellino, mixed by Scott Goodrich, and our theme song is “Solomon” by FALAK.

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