Great article – it’s nice to have the point of view of a creative in this situation, instead of another marketeer hiding behind marketing-speak they only half understand.
I’m a trained graphic designer, from a marketing background and now work as a design lead of a design team in an in-house role which I’ve done for many years. So I’ve seen it all from both sides.
I’ve worked with dozens of marketeers, all with very impressive degrees and even more impressive job titles.
Most of them do not understand what marketing actually is, or how to do it.
Marketing isn’t design, or being creative or working with colours, or pictures or shapes.
It’s not using google image search to find a design you like and then telling my team to copy it (which happens constantly).
Marketing isn’t sitting with the designer and telling them where to move the mouse until you happen upon something marketing ‘likes’ by chance, days later.
Marketing is market research.
Really boring market research into the behaviour of those really boring customer we all have.
Marketeers should research the problem that the client (or boss) has presented to them to solve.
Demographics, customer data, focus groups – they can call it whatever they like – they’re the experts.
They should use that research to come up with a marketing plan, that will form a ‘brief’ to a designer, usually centred around one or more relevant advertising channels.
A brief – remember those?
This briefs tells the the designer THE PROBLEM, not THE SOLUTION to the problem.
It used to be like this in my early agency days – marketeers (or account managers/sales managers as we used to call them), would do all this and do it really well, and then leave it up to the designers to solve the problem creatively.
A designer used to present to the client directly along with the account manager – this way the idea could be justified along with sound design reasoning.
The account manager didn’t have to change the creative or tread on their toes because they didn’t have to justify it to the client – the creative did.
What happens now is that marketing thinks that they are the sole arbiter of the solution – marketing stands between the designer and the client – everyone else is simply a tool to be used in the process.
We all have a part to play in the process.
If marketing don’t like the design, (“it strays too far from the brand”, or “it doesn’t solve the client’s sales problem”, or “I don’t like the colour”), the problem is with the brief they briefed to the designer – not the designer.
Not that ‘liking’ it or not is even relevant.
It should solve the problem outlined in the brief.
Whether the designer or the marketeer like it is irrelevant.
A great designer can design something they don’t like. We are all solving the customers problem, not the designer’s, marketeer’s or the client’s.
It’s up to the account manager to explain that to the client, not to stand over the designer’s shoulder debating which shade of blue they like this week.
This is the reason why there’s so much conflict between design and marketing now – marketing have forgotten what their role and responsibilities are, they treat everyone else as a ‘service provider’ and they’ve forgotten how to write a good comprehensive well researched brief.
This is why the advertising we surrounded by is tepid, committee driven dross.