December 18, 2019

Marketing and Design Must Collaborate to Solve Complex Website Challenges

Whether you’re looking to develop a brochure website or a utility-focused web app, an immersive design experience paired with effective optimization and marketing can only be achieved when departments work collaboratively to serve a greater purpose.

Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

  • Why is no one coming to our website?
  • Why are people leaving our site right away?
  • Why is no one filling out our contact form?
  • Why does marketing need to be a part of a website “design?”
  • Why doesn’t our website stand out amongst the competition?
  • Why is it so difficult to update my site?

The Problem: “We just need a website design.”

This could mean, “we do not care what it looks like, we just need it to bring in leads,” or “we want an award-winning design” without considering it as an integral component of a larger plan or initiative. The difference between design and marketing is not always perfectly clear.

The Solution

1. Solve the problem together

Depending on the type of website project, the team should include an expert from Design, Marketing, Technology and of course a Project Manager to hold everything together. Each person will see the problem from a different angle. Specifically, a designer will zero in on the user and their emotional experience, while a marketer will be thinking ahead to the conversion/communication with the customer.

Consider the problem(s) you’re trying to solve and come up with as many ways possible to solve this problem together.

  • Include key players throughout the project (Design, Marketing, Technology, PM)
  • Foster collaborative thinking
  • Consider the problem from different perspectives
  • Create as many possible solutions as you can
  • Identify the solution everyone on the team aligns with as having the greatest impact

2. Differentiate yourself

It pains me to see so many business websites today that look so much alike. One might say there are too many companies taking shortcuts by using design templates or themes… that’s no excuse. You can and should customize your website to the nth degree and make them your own. From website design & marketing perspective, what are you saying that’s different than your competition, what do you offer that’s different, how will potential customers remember you over the other 10 companies they were researching? Start by studying your competition and purposely going in another direction – within reason of course.

  • Study your competition
  • Think outside the box – do the unexpected
  • Say something your competition isn’t
  • Communicate your value
  • Invest in custom illustrations, photos and/or graphics
  • Showcase your social identity

3. Incorporate design thinking

Design thinking is a process for creative problem solving, which allows organizations to focus on the people they’re creating for. It is a non-linear, iterative process that seeks to understand users/customers, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. This concept has gained a ton of recognition over recent years due to the efforts of the geniuses at d.school & IDEO.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.”
— Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

  • Empathize – with your users
  • Define – users’ needs, user problem, and your insights
  • Ideate – by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions
  • Prototype – to start creating solutions
  • Test – solutions

4. Experiment & test multiple solutions

The initial solutions you come up with for your website may not always work out the way you planned – hey that’s life, isn’t it? The good news here is that there are so many tools available now that help you test, track, and measure your efforts – a few of my favorites being Google AnalyticsSEM RushHotjarGoogle OptimizeVerify (now Helio), and InVision.

  • Get yourself some analytic & testing tools
  • Regularly review analytics as a team
  • Test out various calls to action – be sure they make sense 😉
  • Try out different types of information that people can take with them
  • Evaluate what’s working & what isn’t
  • Talk to your customers!!! Find out what you might be missing. (This point alone is worth another blog post… coming soon)

5. Serve a greater purpose

Because design is at my core, I still catch myself putting most of my energy into a superior design experience for the user – hell, that’s my job isn’t it?

Well, yes and no. In short:

  • Get aligned on the required impact & performance
  • Identify – purpose, goals, metrics, KPI’s, testing opportunities, etc. (high-level & granularly)
  • Look at what KPI’s are currently being tracked
  • Know how the site fits into and supports the bigger picture / strategy
  • Have a marketing & design post-launch plan to keep the momentum going

Design & Marketing, the unstoppable duo

I highly encourage your business to unleash the power of marketing & design collaboration on your next project. Stop thinking of these two departments as separate silos. By combining the expertise of these disciplines, you will position your website to be a driving force in your business and set yourself up for positive Digital Growth now and in the future.