Strategic INsights: Marketing part 1

So you’re designing that new brochure, report, or ad for marketing this week and you’re a bit stumped as to how to approach it. Before you start thumb-nailing layouts, or searching for images that you think might do the trick, take a moment to consider why this brochure or ad is even needed in the first place.

To begin understanding why marketing has come to you – the creative –  you have to first understand what they do (c’mon, you know you kinda wonder what happens over there).

Today I’ll start with some basics and over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll dig in a little deeper about how your internal marketing colleagues come up with those often crazy ideas for promotional materials.

Lets start with a definition: Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably.

In other words, everything done behind those marketing doors is to find out what customers want. Then they figure out how to make it (or offer the service), and get people to buy it.

To do this, a marketing department needs to be responsible for six different functions:

  1. Marketing research; determining what customers want.
  2. Product planning; recommending what products the company should make, or services they should offer.
  3. Advertising and promotion; telling customers about the product or services.
  4. Distribution; providing the means to get the product to where the customer can purchase it.
  5. Sales; the process of working personally with the customer (often to close the deal).
  6. Customer service; assuring customers are satisfied.

Chances are that the design request you’ve got for this week is going to be used for a specific purpose related to one of those six things above. How you approach the design should take more than an understanding of your company’s visual branding though.

Next week, I’ll dig deeper into number 3 on that list – Advertising and Promotion – since thats where we designers tend to be most involved when it comes to our creative services.