Design Thinking for Marketers

Design Thinking for Marketers

As marketers, we are consistently chasing ideas that speak to our audience. But, it’s time we stop chasing ideas and start creating them. This is why we need to incorporate design thinking into our marketing strategies.

As the world turns increasingly digital, if you want your marketing to succeed- design thinking can no longer take a back seat. It has to run the show.

Design thinking is not about being artistic; it’s about being pragmatic. It helps you create products and experiences that are customer-centric, invariably resulting in higher loyalty, sales, and even increased brand preference.

Here’s how to do it right-

Integrating Design

Marketers need to take a holistic approach while crafting campaigns. It is one of the most powerful ways to differentiate your offerings from your competitors’.  Design has a superpower- it caters to the emotional needs of your audience while at the same time makes the brand performance more effective and efficient.

Ours is a visually-oriented world. How you package your brand matters more than you can imagine. Align your design efforts with market trends to make your products or services more adaptive and engaging.  This is how you can stand out even in a saturated marketplace.

Design thinking makes your brand more appealing, influencing not only the emotional but also the rational sides of your audience.

It’s more than just Creativity

Design shouldn’t only be restricted to creativity or to a stage in the process of creating something. It’s the vigorous ideation process that transforms the way people do business. Design should now be an integral part of all aspects of marketing.  As a business, you need to create products and services that are easy to make and sell. On the other hand, your customers want products and services that are appealing and convenient. This is the goal of design.

A visionary Team

Design thinking isn’t a one-man job. You need a diverse team of individuals who brainstorm together to come up with fresh and creative ideas. To create innovative solutions that solve your customer’s pain-points, you need a team with an aligned vision. When people with different skillsets work toward one goal- the sky’s the limit!

The elements

Design thinking starts with observation. You take a problem-solving stance and start looking at it from different perspectives. Learning about your audience is the next strategic step. It needs extensive customer research and a collaborative team effort.

With this, you decide one idea that you would want to transform into reality.

Design Thinking for marketers

The Concept of Design Thinking

Adding Value

Design thinking makes so much sense once you grasp the functioning of this concept. Look at your business from a customer’s perspective and keep asking questions until they get hugely specific. It will inform both your sales and marketing strategies, giving your customers more choices and making it all more personalized.

This helps you adjust your offerings according to your customer’s needs and wants. Design thinking incorporates creativity, analytic reasoning, and empathy.

Want to add real value to the market? How can you step into your customer’s shoes and create messaging that resonates with them? Your marketing team needs to go the extra mile and do something different. If possible, talk to your customer to better understand them and empathize with them on a deeper level.

Shift your mindset- from problem to solutions. This is how you choose new pathways that better address your client’s issues and meet customer expectations. Apply design thinking to improve your marketing and create a culture that is laser-focused on finding the best solutions to a business problem.

Dive into the intricacy and obsess over the details- overwhelm the engine of perfection.

Flexibility

With the world forced to take a flexible approach and leave rigidity behind, design thinking helps you do things differently. You swim in creativity, not doing everything in the same mundane way every time.

Create a marketing environment that fosters innovation and let ideas grow. Get out of the rut! Sit together, get everyone to participate, and let all ideas blend perfectly. Create a dynamic that helps everyone to work together and be on the same page.

You need to recognize people for who they are, fusing their strengths to create something extraordinary and magical. As a marketing leader, it’s your job to make people comfortable enough to contribute their ideas.

The objective behind the design thinking process is to make ideas more organized and tangible, so you arrive at the right decision sooner. Create prototypes- not because you won’t fail but because if you fail sooner, you win faster.

The goal here is not perfection; the goal here is to be better. Don’t let the aim of perfection hold you down.

Multi-faceted

Modern-day marketing demands diverse skillsets and opinions. If your team thinks in the same way, you need to shuffle things a bit. Give people time to think. The best ideas come when people have a relaxed mind, not one that’s constantly occupied. You can’t lead your marketing with just a hunch and some data to back it up. You need to fuel creativity and drive innovation.

Design thinking drives business results and helps your marketing bring extraordinary results. Include design thinking exercises for all the major marketing decisions you make as a team. You need to create a puzzle; how all the brilliant ideas and processes fit together. But, that’s not where it ends. Experiment and test in on a small scale to see how your customers respond. This will help you gain a thorough understanding of what users love the most and what simply didn’t work.  With some tweaks here and there, you can then launch it on a larger scale.

Let the ideas flow freely and build on each other’s suggestions. Design thinking will increase business value, facilitate sales, and make your marketing more fun and exciting.

Phases

Kick start your design thinking plan by understanding the issue at hand. Before you think about solutions, understand the problem. What’s the problem and what caused it in the first place? Now, think about the solutions and the best way to implement them. Always be clear on the goal from the very beginning. What are you trying to achieve here? The more questions you ask; the better solution you’ll get.

As much design thinking is about freedom and creative expression, you need to be strategic and result-oriented. Set clear timelines and budget to get the work done speedily and efficiently. You need to strike a balance here!

Assign responsibilities so each person on your team will feel accountable for their segment of work. The key here is to stay focused while also encouraging ideas.

Design Thinking

Source- MAQE

Marketing Strategy

Before you design your marketing strategies, use real data to create different personas. Now, use these personas to wrap your head around customer pain-points, motivations, and desires. Answer questions such as – What do they want? What are their life goals? What buying motivations do they have? What can make them reluctant to make a purchase decision? And so on!

The answers will make your marketing strategy more customer-oriented. Remember, you’re not trying to understand the persona here; that’s easy. You’re trying to understand the person here.

Expand the horizons

Understand your audience in this way will help you see your customers as real humans with real problems. Results? You’re marketing will get real too.  

A lot of effort goes into creating a great product or service. The objective of marketing is to help people engage with what you’ve created. With a limited budget, deadlines, and ever-changing market demands, it’s natural for people to put them in a box. Design thinking helps you get out of that box and unlocks tremendous opportunities that have the potential to take your marketing to the next level.

A problem-solving framework helps you better solve your customer problems and connect with them in a way that creates a win-win situation for both. Design thinking helps your marketing team craft stories that keep your audience coming for more.

Stay away from a rigid mindset- the “this is how we do it” philosophy, and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Audience Knowledge

Even the savviest of marketers fail to gauge what makes customers tick, and this is precisely what design thinking helps you do. It guides you to choose the right track, identifies new opportunities, continues what’s working, and discard what’s not.

There’s a cacophony of marketing messages, and design thinking is what makes your message dulcet and enticing.

Design thinking tells you to keep your minds open, do not stop at one idea. Explore and look for more. Have a bunch of great ideas! When you choose the best ideas of all, go ahead and build a prototype. Bring your idea to life- from hypothesis to execution.

The talk about understanding your audience isn’t complete without considering the empathy map. It’s an extremely efficient visualization tool that demonstrates how well your team understands your customers. With this, the marketing team gains a broader understanding of why the customers do what they do, helping you shift your focus from what you want to create to what you should create. Once you get insights into your customers’ world, you’re able to give them exactly what they want and expect from you.

The way to do it

Great marketers are, in fact, experts in design-thinking. Not only are they highly creative, they consistently seek feedback to improve and refine their strategies. It is an iterative process, and they get it!

Marketing revolves around human-experience, and understandably design thinking places a crucial part in the overall process. It helps make brand interactions more personal and human-centric. In turn, the audience can better relate to your brand and feel more affinity for it.

Get crazy with the ideation process! Visualize your ideas, no matter how big or small. Try on different lenses and look at your brand from completely different perspectives, especially the ones you never thought were possible. Take the road less traveled to reach the destination only a few have reached. Design thinking helps you create a broader alignment in your marketing efforts- more leads, more revenue, and more customer satisfaction.

To take a step forward, take a step back. Consider how your customers are engaging with your marketing. Design thinking is here to revolutionize both your marketing and sales strategies.

Observe. See things for what they really are. Notice what’s happening. You can’t have a limited worldview here. Try to get rid of your preconceived notions and beliefs and start looking at things as you are seeing it all for the first time. Stay with the problem, so you don’t jump to conclusions based on limited information.

To make design thinking work, go beyond these general questions, and ask the ones that no one else is asking. This way, you’ll create solutions no one else is creating.

Let your imagination run free. Remember, ideation is not just about coming up with a lot of ideas, it’s also about coming up with great ideas. No matter how crazy an idea sounds, write it down and let you believe it is possible. This is the best way for a marketing team to create top-notch marketing campaigns, to create experiences that are unique and engaging.

Wrapping it Up

Design thinking helps businesses understand that there’s so much that can be done, so much that can be achieved. Thinking outside the bulb establishes you as an industry leader, exceeding expectations. 

It’s time to tell more compelling stories and make bigger changes possible. It’s time to make your marketing not just get into the heads of your customer but also touch their hearts.

Put the customer first and make the entire experience enticing and user-friendly. Ditch the old ways of doing things that are not working out for you, and enter the land of the unknown. This is where you’ll find the best of your ideas, and this is where you’ll transform your marketing from good to great.

Design thinking gives you marketing a richer, deeper meaning. It’s not just about fueling growth; it’s more about making an impact.

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