Designers Should Learn Marketing

Designers often ask if they should learn code but I think it would be just as beneficial to learn marketing.

The role of designers and marketers overlap more than you might expect.

Good marketers spend an inordinate amount of time speaking to customers in a practice called Customer Led Growth:

Customer-led growth does not presume what marketing, sales, or product experience your business should offer. Rather, it begins with creating organization-wide understanding around what experience is most appropriate for the company’s best customers. Value to customers is then delivered — whenever, wherever, and however they need it — throughout their relationship with the company.

Forget The Funnel

Sounds a lot like UX Design, right?

Why Should Designers Learn Marketing?

Marketers have an advantage over designers because their work permeates every aspect of the company so they are exposed to the inner workings of the business beyond just product.

Most designers don’t know these metrics because they’re not expected to – the success of their work is not directly measured in these terms.

If designers adopt a marketing mindset they can focus their attention on areas where it will have the most impact for both the users and the company. Customers get a better product and the business grows more efficiently.

How Can Designers Be More Like Marketers?

I’m not expeciting designers to start running webinars or configuring marketing automation sequences but there are plenty of ways that we can borrow from marketing to make ourselves better designers.

Collaborate With The Marketing Team

Like I said, there’s a lot of overlap already there in terms of customer research so share what you’ve got. Give the marketers nuggets that you have uncovered in your research and they’ll start to do the same. If you have a theory as to why a customer is behaving a certain way then ask the marketing team if that tallies with their experience.

Look For The Business Case

Good designers will pride themselves on fighting for the user internally but it wouldn’t hurt to assess the wider business objectives for a particular product or feature. This might mean taking a deeper look at the metrics I listed above or going further by looking beyond the product. You could participate in customer support or sit in on a marketing webinar to learn about the types of questions and objections that come up in relation to the product.

Jobs To Be Done

Products don’t exist in isolation. A person doesn’t randomly appear in your product one day, they have come on a journey to get to that point. Learning about a customer’s journey pre-product is essential to understanding their motivations and the problems people hire your product to solve. Jobs To Be Done isn’t new and it’s not exactly a marketing technique but I think it’s really useful framework for getting to the core of who you are designing for.

Friendly Faces

If that all sounds like too much work then I would start by at least following some marketers who take customer research so seriously it’s like they’re designers in disguise: