How disappointing to see James Dyson at the Marketing Forum, bemoaning marketing departments’ negative impact on the design process (DW 14 October).
As a marketer of some 20 years, I believe passionately in design’s key role in changing markets and creating value. It’s depressing that some of the UK’s leading designers hold marketing in such low esteem they declare it a ‘big problem’ and should be ‘stopped’ from polluting designers’ minds.
It would be presumptuous of me to defend the calibre of the marketers in question, but I can only assume they were poor exponents of the discipline. Research is a notoriously bad predictor of breakthrough technologies, but a good tool for killing off mediocre ideas – the rate of failure for new product launches is still far too high.
It’s also what most good designers actually do in the early stages of the design process, only they call it ‘observation’. Brands are key in generating price premiums – way above the production cost – to a company’s benefit, and hopefully the designers are also keen to see their ideas come to life. And communications may often be philistine and variable in quality, but they’re vital in raising product awareness.
Marketing and design should be sister disciplines and powerful allies – not enemies within. More thoughtful communications from the design industry may help to get more great ideas to market quicker, with help from enlightened marketers who should be the designers’ strongest allies.