31 October 2014
Peter Bogaards
Peter Bogaards
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Some things marketing can learn from design

The connection between marketing and design is increasingly intensifying in organizations. The forces of digital, the communication power of the customer and the value of experience are driving the two disciplines towards each other. Marketing has been a long-time proponent of connecting with customers, from the inside-out. Now, design brings a perspective, culture and mindset on problem-solving that marketers can learn from.

At the leadership level of many organizations, there is an increased awareness of the role, value and perspective of design. Design is becoming more strategic. Commercial organizations continue to establish design teams, and some of these become enriched by acquiring or developing top-tier design talent. Examples of this include the acquisition of Adaptive Path by Capital One or IBM’s initiative to put design at the core of the company. And not even to mention the usual suspects for being the poster children of business success by design, such as the Apples of this world.

The world has changed dramatically in the last decade, and design is no longer seen as “veneer”. Alongside creativity and innovation, design has become a crucial ingredient to business success. In markets where competing on price (operations), features (engineering) or brand (marketing) is no longer enough, experience has become the primary competitive advantage. In this respect, designers have much to offer.

To be innovative, companies have to work harder and take a human-centered approach to strategy. Human-centricity in a business context means better understanding customers, their needs, motivations and emotions, and building excellent products and services which serve those. This is where designers come in. Design-based skills are becoming extremely valuable to organizations.

So, what can marketers learn from designers? In the article ‘Five things marketers can learn from designers‘ David Weber and Lisa Leslie Henderson identify some of them.

  1. To look at the market through the eyes of prospects and customers.
  2. To build a deeper context around prospects and customers in order to create more relevant experiences and to learn about emerging and latent demand.
  3. To brainstorm and sort through options effectively with diverse people representing multiple functions and interests.
  4. To move quickly, testing ideas early and often to improve relevance.
  5. To keep the creative juices flowing.

As an obvious side note, designers can also learn from marketers. To think in terms of brand experience, adapt to market trends and developments, and establish connections with corporate leadership are just a few of these domains to learn from. Enough food for thought for another post.

About the author

Peter Bogaards (a.k.a. @BogieZero) is the editor-in-chief of our blog BiRDS. Peter also works as a curator and coach at Informaat experience design. He has been an online content curator avant-la-lettre in various UX-related fields for almost three decades, choosing what he thinks is interesting, relevant or remarkable to share.

Design (16), Marketing (2)

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