Did you ever go on a diet, lose weight, and then try to repeat that diet again a few years later — only to find out it didn’t work that time? Some strategies work during a particular point in time, but they may not be able to be repeated successfully later due to other factors. This is what marketing is like. Tactics that worked once upon a time may not work any longer. Audiences evolve, online algorithms are revised, and marketing teams have to change in order to keep up. That’s where design thinking can come into play.
Design thinking is a way to come up with new solutions to common problems by considering what’s most needed now. The way marketing teams approach the projects they work on — the methodology they use — can have a big impact on each project’s outcome. Design thinking encourages collaboration, flexibility, curiosity, and positivity, creating happy teams and positively influencing the outcome. Through this process, team members feel valued and clients know that their feedback is taken into consideration.
What Is Design Thinking?
Design thinking revolves around the idea of putting the customer or client first. Organizations and teams think about who they’re creating a product or service for in order to have better, more targeted results. While design thinking is often associated with software development, the methodology can be applied to all sorts of teams, including marketing. Marketing teams will employ design thinking by considering what the target audience wants most.
At the same time, the design thinking methodology considers what’s realistic for the company. Businesses marketing to customers have to choose campaigns and strategies that are economically feasible. Forward-thinking marketing teams simply consider this another exciting challenge, though. The goal is to come up with cutting-edge ideas that realistically fit into what the company can handle.
Get Everyone on Board with Design Thinking
From the very beginning, everyone on the marketing team should be involved in planning, creating, deploying, and testing campaigns. If you don’t bring in everyone from the start, the team will always feel disjointed. A well-rounded marketing team will consist of these three broad categories:
- Acquisition specialists who know how to generate traffic, leads and conversions.
- Content creators who will build infographics, create videos and write copy for ads, blog posts and landing pages.
- Monetization specialists with sales skills who can secure sales and build a relationship with the customer.
Again, these are broad categories, and each area may employ several different team members with further-specialized skills. For example, your marketing team may have people who specialize in engaging with customers on social media, creating mobile-specific marketing campaigns or encouraging and gathering user-generated content and reviews.
Considering the Big Picture as a Team
A cornerstone of design thinking — and maintaining relevance as a marketer — is focusing on the overall outcome and value of a project instead of smaller problems along the way. Problems are handled, of course, but they’re also framed in the context of the bigger picture. When everyone is on the same page and working toward the same goal, true collaboration can take place. This is when innovative and effective solutions are arrived at together, rather than individual team members working on different components of the project.
Bonding and collaboration are among the components that drive employee motivation, along with transparent communication and motivating incentives. In design thinking, teamwork is established from the very beginning of a project. In its first stage, the team will come together to determine the project’s direction and long-term goals and to brainstorm ideas. They’ll consider various components of the project, including:
- Business opportunity
- Brand vision
- Technical capabilities
- User research
- Potential barriers and risks
Team members will ask questions in order to create a well-rounded view of the project, and they may create a project roadmap that will be displayed in a place where everyone can reference it.
Sharing Feedback and Making Improvements Together
Very few marketing campaigns are perfect from the get-go. As a campaign is rolled out, user feedback should be gathered and tweaks should be made. Teams have to work together during this stage just as before. Different team members will get different types of feedback from customers. Most often, one part of a marketing campaign will be related to several different team members, which is why it’s so important for everyone to be involved in every step along the way.
For example, the team in charge of landing pages may notice that conversion rates are lower than expected. By bringing that problem to the team, everyone involved can get on board to create a solution. Content creators can write more compelling calls-to-action, and ad specialists can adjust spending and targeting.
There are some marketing strategies that will work every time you use them, but smart teams don’t leave projects up to chance. The best way to create value is to consider the specific needs of the end user — the person who is going to interact with the marketing campaign. Every target audience has a unique set of challenges, and the most successful teams are those that work together to discover and solve those overarching challenges using design thinking.
The original version of this article was first published on V3Broadsuite.