There are as many different ways to approach a creative design project as there are designers who might work on it. But they will all tend to have one thing in common. They’ll see the project as a problem and the design they are crafting as a solution. This is the reason professional graphic design studios add value, and it is why graphic design services can elevate the end result of a project to something greater than the sum of its parts.
Data analysis and automation have become standard tools for marketers today. They make it easier than ever to create strategic messaging, measure the results of campaigns, and steer content around observed preferences and trends. But, here in the real world, it takes more than simply having the right tools to meet sales goals, increase market share, and achieve sustained success.
What About the Other Half of the Equation?
"Good design is good business."
–Thomas J. Watson, CEO of IBM from 1914–1956
The importance of good design is all too often overlooked and undervalued. Just look at what happens when school budgets get cut—art is often the first program to go. The same can be true in the business world. It’s easy for a business owner to see the positive impact of a skilled accountant, and an experienced office manager can make a measurable difference. It can be harder to pinpoint the effectiveness of good design—especially since the perceptions of potential customers aren’t easily measured.
Hearing two different things from the same source can be frustrating. If a marketing campaign promotes a product as a premium good that will satisfy luxury tastes, the sales team should obviously avoid closing deals by pitching it as the most affordable option available. Unfortunately, that sort of thing happens all too often. Marketing and sales departments that function independently of one another often undercut each other’s efforts. In today’s digital arena, where minimal barriers for competition provide a plethora of noise, prospects make decisions quickly and move on. A weak and confusing impression can fracture a company’s image with its prospects, and truly represents an opportunity lost.
When you do everything well, a successful integrated marketing campaign casts a sort of spell over its audience. With the right combination of substance and style, it’s possible to compel a previously uninterested individual to do something truly extraordinary—like clicking on that link you want them to click on. Since it can take a lot of time and energy to conjure such magic, whatever lies beyond the link had better live up to its promise.
Despite the title, I’m not bitter. In fact, it’s been a good week. Nestled into a tight schedule of work for clients, work for business, and work for business school, I had the privilege of attending Chip Kidd’s lecture at UCSB. He was as sharp and witty as his work suggests. And while it was certainly refreshing to hear about his experience in working with limited resources, maneuvering subjective input, and handling rejection from decision makers, what struck me most was the wave of refreshment I was hit with when he referred to the graphic design industry as just that—graphic design.
Most would agree that social media—and particularly its appropriate use as a marketing tool—can be intimidating and confusing for the new user. To begin with, there is not just one place to start, but rather a large and unruly world of apps, websites and services that a novice imagines she must master. On top of that, there’s lots of strange and often abbreviated terminology along with a substantial dose of odd characters like # and @. Worse still, this is an arena where mistakes can and do quickly gain attention, potentially circling the globe before anyone realizes there’s a problem.
Would you rather have someone tell you something interesting that's of immediate use...or would you prefer to be interrupted while paying attention to something else? That may be a dumb question, but it lies at the heart of what's wrong with most marketing today.
We’ve heard predictions of the death of the printed page ever since the invention of the word processor. But, as we know, the digital world has yet to finish off the centuries-old stalwart of ink on paper. And, it’s not likely to. The transportive, tactile quality of a well printed piece simply can’t be equaled by the undeniable sameness of everything we consume digitally. At this point, it’s almost trite to say that print is not dying. We think it’s more instructive to look at the ways digital technologies have reshaped print, making it more versatile and affordable.
Over the years, we’ve worked with many different companies—both large and small—in many different industries. One of the things we have observed is that combining the positions of Director of Sales and Director of Marketing can be counterproductive when trying to align the two teams to work towards the organization’s goals. While a strategic combination of sales and marketing is essential to business success, merging these two fundamentally different groups by giving them a single leader can undermine efforts in both arenas.