Design Thinking in Digital Marketing

In the Digital Marketing arena, Design Thinking can be super impactful when done in a right way. Coming up with an idea is easy. Coming up with the right one takes work. With design thinking, throwing out what you think you know and starting from scratch opens up all kinds of possibilities.

About Design Thinking:

Many of you might have a fair idea of Design thinking in digital marketing as it is an innovative problem-solving process rooted in a set of skills. This approach has been followed for decades, but it only started gaining traction outside of the design community after the year 2008 (Tim B, Harvard Business Review). Design thinking has been applied to developing new products and services, from creating a business model for selling solar panels in Africa to the operation of Airbnb.

How do we Implement Design thinking in Digital Marketing?

If we follow the design thinking process:

Design Thinking

Identify your target audience and understand their needs. Communicate the benefits that match their perceived values using their language. Test your message with your customers and iterate till you get it right. Bonus points for measuring the outcome to feed into future campaigns.

Within an organization, the marketing department typically has the most understanding of their potential customers. They’ve been using market segmentation to anticipate customer reactions and conducting focus groups to validate their ideas. Both have been proven to be successful.

The challenges are ironically rooted in some of the advantages mentioned above. What’s worse than not knowing your customers? You think do you do when you don’t. Market segmentation is a tool created based on data and research. However, it doesn’t replace personas and journey maps in design thinking. The former defines the “who”, the later defines the “how”.

The customers’ triggers, motivations, factors to consider when making the purchase decision, what happens afterward, are all critical elements to shape your message.  Market segments provide a starting point for you to recruit customers to conduct more detailed research. Given the context of the product or service you are promoting, customer segments can split into more or consolidated into fewer personas at the end of the research.

Along with the excitement of starting a new campaign a series of questions should be answered:

·      Why is it important to launch this campaign?

·      What are our main goals?

·      What value would we be providing to our audience and to our guests?

Defining Campaign’s Goal:

Campaign Goal: Get 1,000 new subscriptions (name + emails) 

Besides the objective, keep in mind the following questions to try to find the best solutions along the way.

·      Who are our users and what are they interested in?

·      What channel and format will convey our message?

·      How will we spread the word?

Map out user’s journey from the first email/touch point to various channels and landing pages up to the last click on the webinar’s video. These diagrams or workflows are always used to tell stories and keep in mind the points of contact of your user.

Talk to stakeholders and business users

Interviewing your colleagues to get perspective and avoid mistakes is a highly recommended practice.

After analysing the answers modify your campaign goal based on the inputs:

Redefined Campaign Goal: Generate a campaign with at least 500 subscriptions(name + emails)  

Identifying Solutions

Analyse existing projects and suggested individual solutions. Run an exercise where each person sketches 3 design solution in 15 minutes assuming you have 4 people on your team you will have 12 design solutions in only 15 minutes.

Tips on this technique: The value of this exercise is that it‘s focused on quantity, not quality. This forces you to surpass the obvious ideas and explore new solutions. This is where the real innovation begins.

Redefining Campaign

Analyse each of the solutions and vote for the best solution carefully also considering your past experiences selecting the campaign with the greatest potential and redefine your campaign. 

This will lead you the implementation steps. Here you need to be cautious as mostly this step is completely outsourced to agencies. As a Marketers, it is essential to define RACI and plan in terms of how much you would you want to outsource to the external agencies. Not only just outsourcing but carefully selecting the right agency would also be the key to success of your campaign. 

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