Design Thinking

6 Reasons to Apply Design Thinking to Your Marketing Goals in 2019

Design thinking isn’t just for designers. In fact, it could help you reach your marketing goals for this coming year.

So what is design thinking? It’s a way of approaching problems that encourage innovation and human-centered though. With design thinking, you begin by considering the needs of the audience rather than starting with a new idea and then figuring out how to sell it.

There’s a process that goes along with design, but it’s not one you have to follow linearly. Instead, you can use each step as a tool to enhance your thinking as you see fit. The basic steps are:

·    Understanding the problem fully: First, take some time to explore the issue and try to think about it from the audience’s point of view. Empathize.

·     Brainstorming: Next, come up with as many ideas as possible to address the problem. Hold nothing back.

·     Testing those ideas: Take the best ideas and test them out. Encourage feedback.

·     Implementing the best solution: Once you find something that works, it’s time to implement it.

Marketers can use this approach when coming up with strategies, writing content, planning events and doing other creative tasks. Here’s how it can help.

1. It Helps You Connect With Your Audience

Good marketing connects with its audience. For your audience to be interested in your content, they need to connect with it emotionally. Creating this connection helps relationships form, which is key to turning audience members into loyal customers. Studies show that the emotional content of TV ads is more important than their content regarding intent to purchase by a factor of three to one.

Design thinking helps you connect with your audience because of its focus on them. It encourages empathy with the audience. Thinking about things from their point of view helps you gain insight into their needs. Design thinking encourages you to consider what someone might say, do, think and feel in a given situation.

2. It Encourages Innovation

Design thinking also helps you to come up with more unique ideas. A primary goal of the process is to encourage new ways of thinking and undo creative blocks. It’s a new mindset to use when approaching a problem that requires creative solutions.

The brainstorming step of the process is essential to this. In this step, you put aside judgment and open yourself up to ideas that otherwise might never have seen the light of day. You employ a “write now, edit later” philosophy. These sessions can result in unique ideas, such as Magnum Ice Cream’s friend connector or L’Oreal’s MakeupGenius App. Innovative concepts such as these could help put you ahead of the competition.

3. It Helps You Refine Your Ideas

In addition to helping you come up with ideas, design thinking also helps you refine them to make them more effective. You can do this during the brainstorming sessions by encouraging people to build off others’ ideas. Bringing together people with diverse perspectives and various areas of expertise can help you create ideas that are unique and effective.

The testing phase of design thinking can also help you refine your ideas. You can make rough prototypes and conduct tests and then ask for feedback from customers. This can lead to ideas that connect with more audiences and lead to better results.

4. It Reduces Risks Through Testing of Concepts

When using the design thinking method, you test your concepts thoroughly before implementing and get feedback from customers. This helps reduce the risks of an idea that falls flat with your audience.

Investing in an idea without sufficient testing can lead to wasted money and time. Design thinking helps you to avoid that fate. If you’re planning a large-scale event, for example, you can try out a new experiential marketing idea on a small scale before booking a large venue.

5. It Helps You Understand Buyers’ Motivations

Understanding why your company’s customers want to buy is important, and so is knowing how they prefer to make purchases. Figuring out what motivates them to make these purchases is even more valuable.

Rather than starting with a product or business model, design thinking starts with the why. You start with a customer need and build ideas around it. This results in marketing concepts and content that are designed around customers’ motivations. It gives you clarity not only for your current project but can also guide your efforts moving forward.

After all, the customers are the reason for your marketing efforts. Knowing their “why” can also help you better meet their needs and exceed their expectations.

6. It Sets You up for Continuous Improvement

The design thinking process is focused on improvement. It’s not something you use one time and then do away with. It’s a mindset you can use to change the way you approach your marketing goals.

Design thinking also encourages feedback. During the testing phase, you create rough prototypes and get feedback from potential customers on your ideas. You can use this feedback to improve whatever it is you’re working on.

Because you don’t have to follow the design thinking process linearly, you can always loop back to this feedback stage and improve your ideas even after you’ve begun implementing them. This helps you to continuously improve your marketing outcomes.

You likely have some big marketing goals for this coming year. Looking at your goals in a typical way can make them seem daunting.

Design thinking offers a new perspective that helps you approach them from the audience’s point of view. It breaks down barriers to creative thinking and lets you test ideas. This way, you’ll know whether they’ll work before you start investing substantial amounts of money and time into them.

As you consider your marketing goals for 2019 and create strategies for reaching them, try using design thinking.

It could help you reach your marketing objectives in unique, new ways, as well as break you out of a creative rut and help you come up with new product ideas.    

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