The phases of design thinking
There are many examples of using design thinking frameworks in marketing. One common approach is to use the “understand, observe, define, ideate, prototype, test” framework to guide the marketing process, image above from the brilliant book by Lewrick, Link, and Leifer – The Design Thinking Toolbox.
Here’s how this framework could be applied in the marketing context:
The marketing team comes together to collect and gather existing information and understand different perspectives on the challenges the marketing team want to solve. Once aligned the team build assumptions that can be tested and discussed in the observe stage.
The marketing team conducts research to better understand the market and the needs and pain points of their target audience, through interviews, surveys, or observing customer behaviour.
Using the insights gathered, the marketing team then outline the identified problems and start to share potential opportunities. Creating problem statements, persona development, journey mapping and even the value proposition canvas to define your solution fit are useful at this stage.
The marketing team generate a range of possible solutions to the defined problem. This should involve team brainstorming or using other creative techniques to generate a range of ideas.
The marketing team develops a tangible representation of one or more of the ideas generated in the ideation phase. This could involve creating mock-ups, wireframes, or other prototypes that help to bring the idea to life.
The marketer gathers feedback on the prototype from the target audience conducting user testing, surveys, or other forms of customer feedback to evaluate the effectiveness of the idea and whether it should be developed further.
Other examples of design thinking in marketing include empathy mapping to better immerse marketer’s in their target audience’s environment, or the brand superhero canvas to map the competitive landscape. The sailboat exercise (which is also a great retrospective tool) helps to define a team’s vision, strengths and risks. Overall, design thinking is a versatile framework that can be applied to a wide range of marketing challenges to create more customer-centric solutions.
It’s clear that design thinking is a powerful approach that can help marketers get closer to their audience, align their leadership, and drive innovation. By putting the customer at the centre of their strategies, marketers can develop more effective campaigns that meet their audience’s needs while fostering collaboration and experimentation within their organisation.
If you’re ready to find out more, join us next Thursday, 2nd March for our panel event on when and how to use design thinking in the marketing context.