A conventional practice to promote your brand is to launch a marketing campaign. However, modern-day marketers have different thoughts altogether. They are contemplating the idea of combining the best elements of marketing and design to impress the audience and reach more people.
Creative people generally fear marketing as it is something that they do not understand and care about. They just design a logo or any other design and do not worry about marketing it well. Consequently, many creatives do not achieve their goals of taking out their works to a larger audience. So, if you love to design, it means you are a creative person and want to have fun in creating things and draw satisfaction from this activity.
However, most creative people do not grow in terms of reaching out to the audience and earning more as they ignore some basic marketing principles. As a result, many of them are underpaid, and they even starve. If they blend creativity with marketing, they can achieve the desired results.
Similarly, if a brand lays emphasis only on marketing and ignores the design aspect of it, it may not grow much. Therefore, a perfect combination of design and marketing is essential today for the growth of a brand. But how to combine the two for better results?
Finding Out The Solution
To discuss how to blend design and marketing elements perfectly, Designhill, a leading creative marketplace, organized a webinar on this issue on August 28, 2019. The guest speaker was Tom Ross, the CEO at DesignCuts.com, a community and digital marketplace that serves millions of creatives. Design Cuts has empowered thousands of designers to make a living by selling their art, collectively earning them millions of dollars over the past 6 years.
Tom runs a podcast ‘The Honest Designers Show’ on his favorite issue of the marriage of design and marketing. The popularity of this topic can be gauged from the fact that the podcast has been downloaded 1 million times. Tom has also acted as a business coach to industry figures including Ian Barnard, Stefan Kunz, Lauren Hom, Scotty Russell, Dina Rodriguez, and many others. He hosted a sold-out workshop on “Marketing for Creatives” at Birmingham Design Festival. Countless design organizations and podcasts have also interviewed him.
Check Out The Webinar Video
Here Are Some Excerpts From The Webinar Where Tom Ross Explains — What Are The Best Elements Of Design And Marketing And How To Combine Them To Promote Your Brand
01. The Best And Worst Elements Of Creatives
I think that marketing and design could be best friends. There are so many creatives who are scared of marketing, such as sales. But if you combine design with marketing, they become much stronger.
When it comes to creativity, I would think about the best and the worst parts of being a designer. Creatives are problem solvers, and if you’re one of them, it is all about enjoying your job and having fun. Also, creatives make things look pretty.
But there are some worst aspects of being creative. Many artists are starving. Even if they are talented, they barely get paid. Many of them have imposter syndrome. They feel that they are incompetent. This feeling comes from a lack of business or marketing success. So, the creatives get insecure and need validation. Then, finally, freelance designers have to deal with bad clients who underpaid or mistreated them.
02. The Best And Worst Elements Of Marketing
Talking of the best elements of marketing, if done well, it brings you success. It may be a financial and business success. Then, one of the best parts of marketing to promote your brand is empathy. It teaches you more about your community, clients, and the people you want to reach. Marketing makes you act quicker and smarter. Moreover, it can prove to be a fantastic tool for creatives for success. It all gives you confidence.
When it comes to the worst of marketing, it can be kind of sleazy. Marketers are selling everything such as e-books and courses and stuff like that. But creatives are nice people who do not like this side of marketing, which reduces people to numbers. The other worst side of marketing is that marketers are usually very ugly with their websites. But they are still thriving because of their marketing skills. Then, marketers are very pushy. I get messages on my LinkedIn every day from marketers trying to sell me something all the time.
So, what if we combined the best of designing and marketing and we stop doing the worst of both.
03. Combining The Best Of Designing And Marketing
I thought of taking out the best elements of both design and marketing and marry them together. If we combined them, we get success, empathy, clarity, direction, confidence, problem-solving, creative, fun, and pretty. These best things enrich design and marketing both. I think it would be the happiest marriage for creating a trustworthy brand identity.
As I said before, when I started teaching myself internet marketing, it appeared sleazy and pretty dark to me. It was not a pleasant experience as marketers target vulnerable people. However, I also found out that it does work to some extent. As I taught myself traffic generation, a part of internet marketing, I ended up getting 15 million sessions on my blog and over 11 million users. This is because I taught myself traffic generation strategies. All of my actions were designed to get more and more people checking my blog. However, it was not kind of smooth sailing.
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04. Using The Vanity Metrics
Vanity metrics are basically the numbers such as how many followers you have, how much traffic you get, how many visitors you get, etc. They are generally entirely controllable. We can control how many followers and visitors we have. For example, on social media, everyone is obsessed with how to get more likes and followers. Then, it becomes a kind of vanity metrics as it massages our ego. But at the end of the day, it is more or less meaningless.
So, why vanity metrics? I give you one example — my company does partnership all the time. We did two partnerships. One was with the audience that had one million people. Another partnership was with an audience that had just 5000 people. They both had audiences with designers. The shocking thing was that the audience of 5000 people got twice the big as the results than the other audience got. For me, that is the perfect example when numbers do not matter. Therefore, it is not about how many followers you have.
However, when we got 40000 people overnight to our Facebook page as a result of addressing those 5000 people, we found that they were not interested in what we were doing. They just liked and made memes but never followed up. A majority of those 40000 people were not engaged with the content.
Engage Your Audience
Then, Facebook starts to see your content as the worst than it is. This is because Facebook generally sees what ratio of your audience actually engaged with your content. If the ratio is low, they will limit your reach and it will be difficult to promote your brand. So, roughly we had the same number of people engaged before, but the size of the audience increased further from 40000 people to 80000 people. Then, our ratio of engaged people went down further and limited our reach. I see this happening over and over again. Therefore, I advised people not to give giveaways to increase their number of followers. That will increase your number of followers or likes, but the ratio of engaged people will shrink. That happens because you are massaging your ego by involving into vanity metrics.
05. A Better Marketing Plan
Some marketers post content on social media and grow an audience of peers, not of clients. Then, they call it the marketing plan and wait for clients. But it is not the marketing plan. So, is there a better way? Here is an example of Rachel. She had decided to offer copywriting services for clients’ blog posts, websites, etc. When she started doing this, she had only 69 followers on Instagram. But within one week, she landed 4 huge clients. This worked for Rachel because she went direct and implemented the sales mentality. She knew who her ideal clients were and where could she find them. She sold her copywriting services to those who were actually needed. Then, she just asked the clients directly if they needed her services.
06. Find The Balance
I think you should intentionally find the right balance between content creation and marketing. If the only thing you are chasing is ‘Likes’, then you will be invariably creating content for that. But that does not work nicely for the desired results. I think you should consider the content funnel. If your content is at the top of the funnel, you need to think about what is the end of it. Is it for the client or someone who buys it? What many people do is to put up content to get more likes and to feel themselves good.
The best way is to find out which is your top-performing, better and low performing content to promote your brand. Do not keep posting the same content over and over again. Mix some more content that is not performing well and see the result.
07. Validate Your Marketing Audience
You need to invest time in research work to find out your target audience. Know what is funny for them? What are they interested in? What do they care about? And what are their values & agenda, and how old are they? After you know what type of audience you have, you can then tailor-made content for them to promote your brand. So, know who do you actually want to serve, where do they hang out, and how will you reach them. This research is important before you have some graphic design ideas, which should be based on various backgrounds of your audience.
08. Useful Content For Instagram
What should you post on Instagram to attract people? If you are a designer, then post the work that you want to e hired for. Many designers put up work that they do not do. Secondly, you need to see through the eyes of clients. This is where case studies can be outstanding. Show them how you helped a previous client get the results with your work. Give them the testimonials you received from happy clients. That is what most clients care about. Overall, show clients how you are going to help them with your work.
Design and marketing are often treated as two different aspects. But marketers are now merging them as a strategy to reach out to engage a larger audience. Tom Ross says that they should borrow the best elements of design and marketing and combining them for the desired results. So, creativity, success, empathy, solving the problems, direction and confidence are the values you get by combing the two.