Good Design: Part 3 – Marketing & Positioning

by Eric Tsai

The last element of good design is to maximize the design by selling it – distribute it in the market, execute on marketing.

Picture this: you have a product idea and spent a great deal of time laying down the solid design framework for this innovative product,  you think it’ll be a huge hit.  And finally you developed a production sample and it’s even better than you had imagined!  How would you translate that into success? Can you build a path to optimize the user experience?  Do you have the roadmap to revenue?


Integrate Ideas into Strategies

Great marketing doesn’t make the product great, but a great product usually have marketing built into it already.  It’s not about feature or benefits. This is a highly overlooked area for many creators and designers today, not having a playbook of strategies from start to finish.  The best way to start developing your game plan is to imagine your ideal situation, your desired outcome then work backwards into the design.


For example, you came up with a new type of shoes that can help runners run longer and faster, then you should start your design framework by addressing the needs of your targeted runners.  Perhaps those shoes solve some technical problems or have certain style advantages, they should all be part of the initial research so the end product could easily sell itself.

Think of how your want your users to view your product, better yet what reaction would you want them to have?  Who, where, why and how are just as important questions to ask.

  • Who is it for?
  • Where would they use it?
  • Why would they use it? Want it or need it?
  • How does it work?  How do they experience the product before committing to it?

The more specific market segment(s) you target, the more value you will bring to those customers.   If you can formulate those outcomes and keep them in mind before you start and address them during your process you will most likely have an easier time marketing the product.


Positioning and Messaging

Communication design is about translating the concept and selling the idea.  This is also one of the more difficult task for majority of the designers especially those focusing on aesthetics.  This aspect of design requires a lot more creative juices on the business side and it does not have to be pretty, it just has to be simple, concise and to the point.

There are many approaches in developing the right messaging however; many well crafted messages can sound professional but mundane. It could be nicely written and formatted by some marketing agency with all kinds of overrated phrases like “innovative, unmatched, or amazing,” but it won’t receive the attention it deserves.  In fact, the more you overpraise, the less unique you are.  Ironically what works are the cheesy, low-cost, infomercial marketing pitch that does the trick.

fsimageresizeaspxThe low-end positioning may not add much brand equity to the product, but the message usually is loud and clear not to mention easy to remember.  The objective is simple, reveal the message and show what’s inside, what you are really selling, no tricks of gimmicks because they only work short-term.

High-end positioning is all about sustaining your brand equity over time and usually it takes a lot of resources to maintain the product or services at a high level.  Think of all the luxury brands from Rolex to Bentley, from Chanel to Armani, all had to endure time and competition.  You are paying for character, history, quality and image.

In the long run it’s about incorporating the framework and user experience of the design to the end-user.  Everyone wants to sell good design, you can make money with good design or you can look good doing it, it’s market perception.


Leverage Technology and Networking

In today’s market, the design arena has evolved into a highly competitive landscape forcing designers and creators to utilize every possible resource to maximize the exposure and sales of good design.  The digital world has transformed the way that brands communicate with their audiences. Interactivity and engagement are more important than ever. Marketers are using web2.0 tools such as blogs and Twitter and social network platforms such as Facebook, Youtube and Myspace to reach out to as many audience as possible.

There are plenty of resources on the internet that can educate you on the power of social networking, but it is still only a tool.  If you want to maxmize your next design idea, you must have a solid framework with go-to-market strategies that includes the right message ready to communicate to your customers.  This will allow you to have a higher probability of gaining brand recongition, and through recognition you control the destiny of your design or ideas.

Further Reading

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