Glasgow initiative will teach marketing skills

Designers in Glasgow are queuing up to learn how to market themselves via an initiative by the Glasgow Development Agency.

The GDA is running a series of seminars to teach marketing to designers and consultancies, after which they will be able to bid for GDA funds to implement specific marketing plans. The GDA believes marketing to be a “major weakness” in designers’ skills.

Eight individual designers and consultancies are taking part in the pilot course, which begins next week. GDA design executive Adrian Searle says another 25 are on a shortlist and a further 20 are interested in taking part.

Another course will be run in a couple of months, followed by a further intake and the GDA is keen to hear from any consultancies which want to improve their marketing skills.

Searle says the courses, subsidised by the GDA, will help participants investigate what makes them genuinely different from their competitors, identify their customer base more precisely, and make them more creative and successful in marketing their businesses.

“Glasgow has a wealth of design talent in both established consultancies and exciting new start-ups,” says Searle. “We have found that few designers have a structured approach to marketing and it is rarely taught as part of the design curriculum.

“While the principles of marketing may seem straightforward, companies with design services or design-led products often find them hard to implement. The aim is to help designers get to grips with marketing in a way that is relevant to their specific needs and then practically assist putting this into practice.”

Among the eight designers and consultancies on the pilot course are furniture, domestic products and interiors group ShortHouse Design, graphics group Cactus Creative Consultants, the established graphics, interiors and exhibitions consultancy Pointsize Associates, and the furniture and interiors group LWD.

David Hepburn, a director at Cactus, says: “As a relatively new, small company, one area where we have difficulty is finding the right way to go about getting new business. We are hoping to gain insight into this from the course, which being subsidised is quite a help to a small group like us.”

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