Next Wednesday we are running our second BookMachine event ‘Marketing Vs Design – Which matters more?‘ The title is intentionally facetious and the evening is set to be a light-hearted look into both the marketing and design functions of the publishing process, because of course both are of equal importance. However, we’re asking the question because for a long while now we’ve felt that there are missed opportunities when launching a new product between the design and marketing departments.
For us, it’s obvious, design needs to be at the heart of the process – or at least designers need to be part of the early conversations. Marketers are responsible for branding the author and the final product, identifying with the readership and how the final user will interact. Ultimately they are the final link in making the sale happen but all too often they seem to work in isolation to those creating the final product.
Marketers often seem to think that they are responsible for the branding – which to some extent is true – i.e. how an author is presented, where and how marketing collateral is used. However, the actual practical side of branding a product is down to the design team. And this is where at the moment there feels like there is too much discord and not enough collaboration (at the earliest possible opportunity) for designers and marketers to get around the table and work together.
The marketing team has a huge amount of knowledge when it comes to understanding their end user. How they are going to reach them, how these people will use the product. And how they plan to attract customers and then convert them into sales. The user profiles that marketing departments create are incredibly valuable but frequently it seems that the design departments get a watered down version of the end user profile. And this can have a great impact on the way in which the design team approaches the product development stages.
We’ve recently written a blog on why the briefing process is so important and what should be included in a brief. But in an ideal world the design team would be involved with the marketing team to create this brief at the start. Without the whole team understanding the over-arching aims for the project how can anyone expect the project to go smoothly and hit the end goals on time and to that ever important budget?!
It’s also important for marketing teams to understand what role and functions the designers bring to the process. Designers ultimately are the final creators, they take the vision and turn it into the finished product. The designers understand the in’s and out’s of the making part and crucially what is practically possible with the tools available to them. But if designers and marketers work in isolation it’s easy to see how problems crop up and how these initial prototyping stages can be difficult, drawn-out and ultimately costly on the teams time, resources and budget.
So we’re really looking forward to hearing from the panel of experts on Wednesday evening. It will be really helpful for us to hear more about the marketing side of publishing and how we as designers can be working better with each other to help create the best books we can.