|Marketers and Designers: Bridging the Discipline Gap|
|Monday, July 09 2012|
For this installation of Tuesdays with Tukaiz, we're taking a look at the relationship that design plays in marketing. While sometimes treated as separate disciplines, design and marketing are in fact intertwined and wrapped around a core understanding of the needs of target demographics and audiences.
In a perfect campaign, marketing and design are driven by research, data, and a clearly defined plan of action that drives the intended message through strategic touch points. It is at these touch points that the intended message is communicated to the target audience. Marketing lays the foundation for the organized delivery of a media experience designed to achieve a particular response or action. Design creates and builds the experience that the audience interacts with. Whether it's a visual printed display, an interactive website, or a mobile app, design is responsible for communicating the intended message within the constraints of the media channel used. The marketing and design worlds, however, are far from perfect and the divisions between the two disciplines are noticeable.
From June 21st to 25th this year, the annual HOW Design Live conference brought thousands of creative professionals together in Boston for a long weekend of education, networking, and inspiration. Creative professionals that gathered at the conference work for small agencies, large in-house creative departments, and as freelancers. The education sessions and workshops at the conference highlighted the current gaps between marketing and design. Conference sessions like "The Anatomy of a Logo", "Creative Storytelling", and "Decorative Effects for Your Brand" emphasized designers' current focus on the importance and integration of good creative when trying to effectively communicate the essence of a brand. While these topics are certainly important, little attention was paid to current challenges that marketers face in shaping strategy and the role that design has in meeting these challenges.
The explosion of data, the rise in social media, the growth of channel and device choices, and shifting consumer demographics are challenges that marketers face; designers need to more effectively hone in on how to help marketers solve these issues to prove their value. To that point, in IBM's 2011 study on Chief Marketing Officers, which we've covered in the past, an executive manager of marketing for Qantas Airlines' frequent flyer program stated, "The success of my role is far more about analytics and technology than it is about hanging out with my ad agency, coming up with great creative campaigns. We must increase campaign ROI."
Nevertheless, while marketers are turning to data and technology to help shape and form their strategy, the role of design can't be ignored. The success of products and brands such as Apple owe as much to design as they do to good marketing strategy. While the focus for designers is still on the visual and tangible aspects of the campaign, data-driven design decisions will increasingly become more important as CEOs and CFOs place growing importance on the ROI of marketing campaigns. Designers and marketers need to meet together at the same table and develop collaborative strategies that blend solid marketing methods with sound design. Closing the gap between these two disciplines will create stronger campaigns that deliver a cohesive brand experience and message to the audience regardless of media channel.