an online conversation
about design management

Why marketers need designers

Each week I have many discussions with design studio owners from every part of Australia. It’s amazing how many of the issues are common across studios of all sizes and locations. One of the consistent issues is that marketers don’t take designers seriously.

The answer is in part to show marketers that design can be used to measure the effectiveness of marketing. Measurement of marketing effectiveness is a hot topic with Australian marketers because it can be hard to implement. The Content Marketing Institute reported on the problems with measuring the effectiveness of content marketing while the Australian Direct Marketing Association has shown that creativity linked to an effectiveness measure can be an answer.

Some recent research undertaken by US based, Information Technology Services Marketing Association (ITSMA) shows that the marketers are under more pressure than ever to create business value. According to the researchers only one quarter of marketers say they are able to measure and report how their programs contribute to business performance. The research classified markets as A, B, C or D according to their ability to match marketing inputs with business performance. What separates the “A” marketers from the rest? The “A”s have the right mindset, believe it’s possible, and make measurement a priority. In addition to the right mindset, the “A”s have nailed the five fundamentals of aligning marketing activities to business results.

They get clarity around the business outcomes that matter the most by speaking the language of the business and having regular two-way dialogue with senior executives.

They track and report outcome metrics that measure impact, not just metrics that track activity, output, and marketing efficiency.

They set quantifiable performance targets for every program and activity.

They use data chains to create clear lines of sight between marketing investments and business outcomes.

Finally, the “A”s use marketing dashboards to track its effectiveness but also to communicate impact on business outcomes, allowing them to justify additional budget.

They have become value creators.

The research showed that marketers who create value are proactive. The ‘A’ marketers hold themselves accountable for contributing to business outcomes even if senior leadership doesn’t. They believe it is their responsibility to identify, investigate, evaluate, recommend, and prioritise market and customer opportunities. These marketers implement continuous change to maximize the organization’s success, and enable it to stay abreast or ahead of market, customer, and competitor moves. ‘B’ and ‘C’ marketers don’t seem to do that, don’t ask the right questions, or don’t know how to show their value.

Marketing performance becomes a management priority

The research showed that organisations that are performing well when it comes to customer value and business growth, are those where the marketers excel at performance management. ‘A’ marketers prioritise performance management, establish a clear roadmap for performance improvement, and focus on aligning marketing to the business not just sales. They have regular two-way dialogue with senior leadership and are motivated to select and report on the metrics that matter most.

The researchers showed there are three qualities of this elite group that any marketer can emulate:

Be a business person first, a marketer second

Provide customer and market insight to inform business strategy, in addition to enabling sales

Tap experts to hone skills and improve capabilities

The return for being in the A group.

Companies with “A” marketers outperform their peers.

Specifically, 63% of companies with “A” marketers reported increased customer share of wallet, compared with 48% of marketers in the middle of the pack and 38% of laggard marketers.

As for new business growth, 54% of the companies with “A” marketers confirmed improvements in their win rates, compared with 39% and 25% of companies with “B” and laggard marketers, respectively.

So where does design come into it?

For a start the findings from the research can be summarised (and made into an infographic) and used as a pitch to clients to show how measuring marketing effectiveness can improve sales.

This could be followed by a presentation that shows how design can add measurable responses into the marketing materials. In print this could involve forms that have a reward attached to responses or a 1300 reward phone number that is a call to action for customers to seek more information. In the digital space A/B split testing landing pages can be used to gauge response to different offers while apps can be used to track customer preferences.

Demonstrating value can be achieved through tools such as the empathy map and customer journey maps. These are explored in the DESIGN BUSINESS COUNCIL Selling design value workshops.

The upcoming DESIGN BUSINESS COUNCIL workshop Showing return on design investment demonstrates that in a marketing project there are 32 touch points where design can be added to increase return for the business. Each of these touchpoints can be measured to show design and marketing effectiveness.



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