5 Reasons Why You Should Care About Marketing Design
November 12, 2010 4 Comments
I work in marketing, so obviously I believe in the power of words and in the importance of effective communication. But why is the design of that communication worth much time and thought? Having said what I want to say, why can’t I just (for instance) dash off a plain text email instead of sending that email to our online team to be designed?
Why exactly is marketing design important, and why should you care about it?
Design isn’t separate from the communication: it’s part of it. Good design makes a piece of communication easier to read; it aids the reader by drawing attention to important points. This is one reason why different forms of written communication have vastly different design: an official memo will be designed very differently from an HTML email; a web page should look like a web page and not like a print brochure.
I gave you one reason why design differs depending on the medium: here’s another. Your email inbox receives, most commonly, two kinds of email–business email from your colleagues, clients and partners, and – very usually these days – emails from businesses you patronize or whose information you have subscribed for. It’s evident that you are much more likely to read the first kind of email than the other. Each of us has a limited number of hours, and work email takes priority. Which is why marketing emails have to work harder at grabbing your attention. Marketers do this not only by offering you information they think you’d be interested in and by wording it to attract or provoke you (samples from my inbox: “7 Reasons Why Leading With Price Will Kill You”, ”30 Proven Internet Marketing Strategies”, “Why You Need a Gmail Priority Strategy”), but also by designing those emails to attract your attention. A display ad in plain text is usually much less engaging than one that uses graphics and text to deliver a coherent, interesting message. (I say “usually” because sometimes plain text works better, but in such a case I’d argue that the absence of obvious “design” is itself a design tactic.)
Just as you wouldn’t trust a marketing message that is riddled with poor spelling and grammar (is there any more obvious indicator of spam than spelling errors?), you wouldn’t trust one that was poorly designed. This is of course, especially true for us as a design production company, but is it any less true if your business is, for example, a restaurant?
Along with competence, good design indicates sincerity – that you cared enough about the message to present it well. If you don’t care about your message, why should anyone else?
I’m going out on a limb here to state my feeling that designing your ad or marketing communication well not only indicates that you cared enough to spend time on it, but also that you cared enough to hire competent folks who would design it well. In an indirect way, it communicates to me that you’re not a fly-by-night operator but an established business who is willing to put its money where its mouth is.
But this doesn’t mean you actually have to spend a lot of money on design. Good design needn’t necessarily be expensive, and as long as you manage the process well, you can outsource it to a provider who will operate within a tight budget. Take advantage of the flat world: I see so much design talent here in Affinity Express’s offshore production center, and the quality of work our designers turn out is, as our clients would testify, no less than what you would get locally in the U.S. or other developed countries.
With so much riding on good marketing design, and with high-quality and fast-turnaround production available at such affordable rates, what excuse do you have for not improving your marketing design?