Learning to hear and understand consumers
The American Marketing Association has called design thinking one of the main trends of 2018 in marketing. This approach to innovation has long been successfully used by large companies – Apple, Google, IBM, General Electric, Nike, AirBNB and others.
Design thinking is a new trend in marketing.
What is design thinking?
The theme of design thinking in recent years has attracted more and more attention of marketers and business owners. But right now, he was ranked among the main marketing trends. And there are reasons for that.
Now for many, innovations are becoming an integral part of business development, and this is not only about technological products and the boom of startups. In markets with high competition, the introduction of innovative solutions is for the company almost the only opportunity to reach a qualitatively new level, which leads to increased sales and further development of the brand.
You may have already heard about the method of design thinking. But have you ever wondered how many companies actually put it into practice?
The process of design thinking is quite simple to understand and can be applied in companies of any scale, becoming an excellent tool for making business decisions.
Is there a place for design in marketing?
How does design affect marketing?
So, what place did design find in marketing?
Initially, the method of design thinking was really used only among designers and engineers. The methodology of his work was formed at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Hasslo Plattner and David Kelly.
The use of design thinking helped to find attractive solutions for users and consumers using a creative approach.
With it, you can solve problems in the face of uncertainty and find answers where no one had previously guessed to look for them. In particular, exploring undetected problems and relying on implicit knowledge of consumers, which they have not yet managed to formulate even for themselves.
The method of design thinking puts a person at the forefront, starting from his problems, and then, from the many possible solutions, leaves the best, innovative.
At the same time, the consumer plays the role of not only the object of research, it affects the entire process of creating innovation and, in a sense, consists of a team for its development. It is on the basis of his reviews that all improvements and changes to the product will be formed.
Perhaps you already had the idea that the application of this approach is universal. Design thinking can be useful not only in design, but also in other disciplines, especially marketing, because the idea itself fits perfectly into the concept of F. Kotler about the role of marketing and the consumer in the company.
Evolution of views on the role of marketing in a company according to F. Kotler
How to work with design thinking in marketing?
The method of design thinking includes 6 stages: research, problem determination, generation of ideas, prototyping, testing and implementation of a working idea.
Design thinking pattern
1. Research and problem determination
In design thinking, consumer research is based on empathy – the ability to understand a person’s feelings, thoughts and desires, to imagine himself in his place.
When creating a product, you need to understand how the buyer looks at him and what exactly he sees. And the fact that he sees how he understands the product and what will be important for the buyer in it is influenced by many factors that need to be studied.
At this stage, you need to design a detailed ethnographic study and implement it.
Simple questionnaires and reviews of existing products will not be enough. We must understand what values our customer adheres to, what motivates him to commit certain actions, what problems he faces daily, how successfully he manages to solve them, and much more.
For the study, detailed in-depth interviews, informal communication, and observation are suitable. To truly understand the buyer, you should go along with him all the way from the generation of needs to the purchase, use and disposal of the product.
According to the results of the study, it is necessary to clearly identify problems, set goals and develop a brief for further work.
2. Generation of ideas and prototyping
For the next two stages, a team of company employees is assembled. Moreover, the success of its work will depend on the heterogeneity of the composition.
Ideas are generated mainly through brainstorming or other creative methods for creating ideas. After this, a detailed analysis of each idea and its development to the prototype stage takes place.
If the company already practices a team approach, you should not use teams that have already worked together or teams of employees of the same department.
Ideally, with the method of design thinking, the working group should consist of employees with various abilities, knowledge, types of thinking and views. You can include one or two buyers in the team, which will allow already at this stage to control the compliance of ideas with the wishes of consumers and new value propositions.
By including employees from different departments in the team and inviting customers, we get the maximum variety of possible solutions.
The prototypes through which these decisions are implemented will help to better understand their strengths and weaknesses. Only with the help of prototypes can we collect the right reviews at the testing stage, especially when it comes to complex innovative solutions that potential consumers cannot imagine right away.
A new product must be tested and experienced in order to understand its viability.
3. Testing and implementation
The testing phase is important for collecting final feedback from buyers that can be processed by company employees, members of the project team – each from the point of view of their specialty. After all the modifications, the release of the finished product is possible.
But perhaps this stage will not be the last. As you can see in the diagram above, our process of creating innovations is cyclical, after the implementation of the solution, new reviews will come from customers who should be analyzed and used to implement new ideas.
In general, we can say that design thinking in marketing is about dialogue and new things. Following this method, we learn to hear and understand the people for whom the company exists, and to realize new ideas, even if earlier in the circumstances they would have seemed dubious or difficult to implement.
And, probably, the last rule is not to be afraid of mistakes, but to perceive them as opportunities for further improvements.
Thanks to the method of design thinking, it turns out to develop such solutions that will definitely meet the needs of consumers. And, accordingly, they will be successful in the market.