Marketing|Demand Creation Blog: Thoughts on strategy, lead optimization, social media and the digital space

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Addressing the Devaluation of Marketing and Graphic Design

A Creative Director and Director of Multi-channel Marketing by profession, I've worked across diverse industries in both B2B and B2C environments. I've made a mission of blending graphic design expertise with marketing and business sense. Over time it's bothered me to see how graphic design (and to a lesser extent, marketing) has been devalued in many corporations to the point where we're seen mainly as the "make pretty people".

I've come across this issue fairly consistently in the pharmaceutical industry where, being part of an in-house design & marketing group and despite frequent communication with the C-suite, the value of graphic design to drive brand equity (in the long-term) and generate leads (in the near-term) is not well understood. In some cases, I think this stems from an organization with senior executives brought up mainly from the sales ranks. Unless an organization is marketing-driven, where the execs understand that value that marketing brings to the table to drive sales, marketing (and hence graphic design as a tactic of marketing) will be devalued. It also hasn't helped that the industry as a whole has had alot of money to throw around. In a $50 million (or more!) launch budget spending $1 million on an ad campaign is a small piece of the overall pie.

I also tend to think marketers and graphic designers have brought some of this on ourselves. When we talk the traditional talk of branding and "touchy-feely" concepts like customer loyalty and nurturing to the C-suite, it all seems too soft for the needs of fast-paced, hard hitting business today (despite its importance in the ultimate success of the company). Compounding the problem is that for a good deal of what we've done as marketers we've been resistant to measure and communicate back to our bosses in ways that matter to the business: where is the business positioned today? What does our opportunity pipeline look like in the near-term? Long-term? How is what we're doing today aligned to corporate objectives and moving the vision forward?

Maybe such measures have been elusive because of cost, lack of knowledge or other resource challenges. In any case I firmly believe in measuring the results of all marketing initiatives to provide concrete Return on Investment metrics to the executive suite--even down to messaging and creative execution. That's what I'd like this blog to be about -- exploring methods and ideas for providing measurable, repeatable results, particularly from a "grass roots" perspective relevant to "resource light" organizations. In so doing perhaps we can not only increase revenues for our organizations but also improve the standing of marketing and graphic design in the business world among senior management.
Joseph Mann Sunday, December 26, 2004


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