Design Thinking and Marketing

Two weeks ago, I attended the Discover & Ideate Workshop, an event curated by my previous boss and mentor, Alex Oliveira. Discover & Ideate introduced design thinking concepts to bridge the gap between digital marketing, sales, and customer satisfaction for South Florida business owners (check out the recap here). After the workshop, I soon found myself exploring it again through my Digital Marketing Strategies course.

Well, what exactly is design thinking?

Per the Interaction Design Foundation, design thinking is

“a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing.”

There are five non-linear steps involved with the design thinking process, in which you could read more in-depth about on the article above and see in the graphic below.

Design Thinking Steps
Image Courtesy of Career Foundry

So how why should marketers implement design thinking in their organizations?

The design thinking approach to problem solving takes the guess work out of marketing. It’s an agile approach that allows marketers to develop and test things in pursuit of pleasing customers. It’s also a great way to trigger innovation for customers and internally within organizations, while always remaining realistic. No longer do you have to wait for things to be perfect to launch or solve issues on a “hunch”. You create an idea based on the customer insights, test it, and go. For a great story on how a team of SEO marketers at HubSpot used design thinking to aid in increasing their numbers, check it out here.

At the Discover & Ideate Workshop, Alex had the class split into groups and discuss the connection (or disconnect) between sales, marketing, customer satisfaction, and customers. We found that design thinking could aid in most of the issues that the teams face. We also explored how design thinking could be used in formulating teams through behavior science, but that’s another topic for another day, and it also involves the use of DISC assessments.

Overall, I’m curious to see how I could implement the approach in my day-to-day marketing activities. I believe that a valuable skill that every marketer should have is to creatively problem solve, and design thinking helps with just that.

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