Design Thinking  | 3 MIN. READ

Using Design Thinking to Solve Your Toughest Marketing Challenges

ExperiencePoint, January 30, 2019

Using Design Thinking to Solve Your Toughest Marketing ChallengesEven with all of the customer data about when, where and how to optimally reach and ultimately engage customers, any given marketing campaign can fall flat. To many marketers, figuring out what went wrong and why people didn’t respond, can feel like the riddle of the Sphinx. It can also cause marketers to fall back on gut instinct about what sorts of campaigns have worked in the past even though what they really need to do is move forward.

But how? This is where design thinking can help. According to research by Adobe, in partnership with Forrester, 46 percent of companies that practice design thinking report an emotional bond with customers, and isn’t that what everyone is going for, especially in marketing?

So the next time you’re mired in a marketing challenge, try these customer-centric, design-led ways to catapult your team to a stellar campaign.

Assemble a cross-functional team. Think outside of marketing. Way outside. Assemble a team that includes people who have no contact with marketing whatsoever. Sales, strategy, people on the front lines in customer service along with your marketing pros. Fresh perspectives leads to fresh ideas and insights.

Brainstorm. Lay out the challenge beforehand and assign homework. Ask people to bring 10 ideas for, say, increasing customer engagement, or any other problem you are trying to solve. Agree that there are no bad ideas, and spend the first part of the meeting presenting those ideas to the group.

Let human behavior be your guide. Think outside of the marketing box and go to psychology instead. Ask your marketing team to transform the best of those ideas into marketing tactics guided by common human behavior principles to increase engagement. Those principles might include:

Availability bias This is the tendency people have to let a familiar example affect their decision-making. How to use it in marketing: Develop an email campaign evoking images of people in the customer’s life: “Product X is a perfect gift for the sports fan in your life!” It causes the mind to think of someone dear who is a sports fan, and just like that, you have a connection.

Social proof This is the thought that people tend to follow what others are doing, especially when they are unsure about what to do. It is the assumption that others know best and when in doubt, the right thing to do is to follow them. It could be anything from celebrity endorsements, to expert opinions, user reviews, the wisdom of the crowd, or your friends or neighbors doing something. How to use it in marketing: Interview an industry expert for your blog page or host a social media Q&A, share milestones about how many users/likes/reviews your product or service has, or work with social media influencers by giving them free samples in exchange for honest reviews or endorsements.

Neuromarketing This is the study of people’s cognitive responses to common marketing stimuli. For example:

  • The importance of eye gaze: People in your campaigns should be looking at the consumer or toward what you want them to engage with.

  • Numbers: 3 Reasons Why X Will Help Your Life

  • How to price: Ever wonder why everything is $9.99 instead of $10?

By using customer-centric design thinking and applying these ideas to human behavior principles, your marketing campaigns will take on a new resonance and, optimally, create increased engagement with your customer.


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