As a freelance web designer responsible for every aspect of your business from design to accounting to customer relations, you've no doubt discovered that it's a time-consuming career. With all these responsibilities on your plate, you may struggle to find enough time to build each background, icon, or other webpage element from scratch. The good news is that you aren't alone in feeling overwhelmed from time to time! The great thing about design is that you don't have to repeatedly re-invent...
Why a Marketer Should Think Like a Designer
Marketers often have a hard time working with designers, and that is true the other way around as well. As a designer, is there ever an opportune moment to sacrifice design for marketing strategy, or vice versa? Has collaboration between marketers and designers improved in recent years? Well, as difficult as these questions are, we thought we would prepare a guide on how to bridge the gap between marketers and designers. We hope this guide proves every bit as useful to you as it did to us. As always, your comments are welcome.
5. Commonalities between Marketers and Designers
The primary goal of any marketer or designer is to satisfy the client. Just like a designer, a marketer would start at the same line, which is to meet a client’s needs with an attractive, successful end product. This common goal presents a huge advantage, and opportunity for better collaboration between designers and marketers: Marketers should use various creative processes in order to develop new and innovative marketing ideas, while designers should gain as much knowledge about marketing as possible in order to increase the number of eyes on his work.
4. Different Roles of Designers and Marketers
While there is common ground that both marketers and designers share, their differences are also clear. Marketers are driven by reach; they are concerned with quantifiable data. Designers, on the other hand, would more happily sacrifice conversions in order to deliver aesthetically pleasing, interesting content. Marketers focus on stats while designers focus on whatever they consider to be valuable. For a marketer, success is higher reach; for the designer, it is delivering content that solves a visual problem.
One of the most common mistakes that non-designers make about designers is that they compare them to artists. It does seem like a compliment, but it is completely off the point. Design is not about art, it is about solving problems. Designers are usually on the lookout for a need – and a visually appealing solution. If you are a web designer, you are consistently working for a wide array of clients, trying to satisfy their needs.
In order for you to understand a marketer, you first need to believe that you think differently. Marketers see the entire populous as an aggregate. This allows them to come up with efficient means of delivering whatever message they have to deliver. When it comes to design, the entire populous is seen as individuals. If you mean to run a business, and run it successfully, you need to incorporate both. You need to see your audience as an aggregate, and as individuals.
3. How to Improve Communication
Communication is very important if you hope to work together in harmony, which means being on constant lookout for signs that tell you that the communication process is going down the drain – and it is usually not that hard to tell:
- Feelings of skepticism towards the marketing team: If a design team has feelings of distrust towards the marketing team, you definitely have a problem.
- Lack of engagement: You, the designer, are in a meeting with the marketing department. Ask yourself whether you are participating, or contributing to strategy. Are you asking questions? Do you know or are fully aware of the repercussions of a particular action? If you are not contributing, something is not right.
- Are there any meetings held between the marketing department and the design department? Are you sitting together discussion and brainstorming different strategies? Are you working together to solve a common problem? No? Well, there’s your problem.
- If you consider the marketing department as a homogenous group and not your partners in business, you are not doing it right.
- There are instances when the marketing department may have certain strategies. These strategies would involve cooperation from all the departments and in such cases, the marketing department will be giving out directions. What do you do about them? Do you follow them or ignore them? If you fall in the latter category, you need to work it out between yourselves.
If just one of these signs mentioned above are true, you need to sit down together and discuss matters over a cup of coffee. Communication is paramount.
2. Bridge the Communication Gap
If there are misunderstandings between marketers and designers, coming to terms with those misunderstanding is only half the solution to the problem. You need to get rid of those misunderstandings. It is not easy, but the good news is that there are several ways in which you can get rid of these misunderstandings:
- Set clear goals: You need to settle clear goals, and all departments must unanimously agree to those goals. If everyone is on the same page, you are likely to run into very little problems down the road.
- Clear expectations: After setting goals, you need to be clear on what you expect from each other. The marketing department needs to be familiar with their roles, and designers should be familiar with theirs. Make sure the marketers understand what your design process is. If they get an understanding of that, they will be better equipped to put your stuff out to the world.
- Gather information: Gathering information is essential. When you meet for the first time, gather all the data you need in order to complete whatever you are to design, such as deadlines and target audience. You also need to be clear on what problems you are looking to solve. You, the designer, need to understand what the marketers are working on. You need to know who will write the content, and who will work on the SEO. Moreover, you need to be clear on the keywords.
- Make notes: Throughout the entire project, everything must be noted down. There are various ways to take notes and document every bit of information. Choose the one you fancy, but make sure everything is well documented. Every aspect of the project must be recorded right from the very first meeting. It does not matter if you hand-write it or record it, it should be on paper. That way, if certain questions pop up in the future, you will be well-equipped to handle those questions with a clear history of problematics.
- Revisions are okay: You need to be prepared for revisions. When you finish the web design, chances are your work will not be passed without criticism; there will be negative feedback, and there is no need to feel bad about it. However, such criticism goes down to a minimum if effective communication is part of your process. You need to be able to deal with criticism, and you need to be able to deal with revisions, no matter how many times they are requested. If you want to defend you work, do it, but make sure you can handle criticism. You are there to please the client, not yourself or your company. Your opinion is of little value here.
- Your worth: Never be afraid to ask questions or demand more information about design demands, no matter who is asking. In short, stand your ground, but remain professional and polite.
If you want to avoid conflict or otherwise manage them in a healthy manner, do not shy away from confrontation, communicate in an effective manner, and be willing to listen to others. Find ways to encourage communication amongst yourselves. This should go a long way.
1. The Importance of Bringing Marketing and Design Together
If you are only looking to focus on your design, you are not being fair to your client. The best designers are those who have a well-versed marketing team behind them. Both these departments go hand-in-hand and it is only with each other, that they are successful. In other words, find ways in which you can work together. This goes for both designers and marketers. Why, you ask? Well, this will only make you more successful with time.
Marketers are a core part of every organization. No matter what your profession is, at some point you will need marketers; whether you are freelancer, a designer or an artist, it does not matter. Moreover, there are a lot of commonalities between a designer (or any creative professional) and a marketer. Your basic purpose, whether you are a web designer or a marketer, is to build an audience and potential customers. What you want is to please the client and achieve success. There is however, a significant conflict between marketers and designers in every part of the world. One thing that needs to be understood here is that not all marketers are designers and not all designers are marketers. There is always a gap between the two, so how should that gap be bridged?