Digital marketing professionals across the world all strive towards the same goal: to get inside the customer’s head to increase sales. However, big data and AI are much more helpful in terms of delivering a perfect marketing strategy. On the other hand, there are people in the IT industry whose success measures in the research and implementation of the abstract aspects of marketing, such as UX and UI designers. They are among the few professionals who do it daily. They collect insights, empathize with the user, create different sketches and outlines, and test everything before creating the perfect design. Digital marketers in other niches, however, have little experience in such psychological tactics.
When you want to make a marketing strategy, you’re mainly relying on analyzing and predicting consumer behavior, their demographics, preferred social channels and so on. However, you’re missing out on one crucial factor, empathy, which is the primary component of design thinking.
What is Design Thinking and Why It Is Important?
You can describe design thinking as a mindset that helps you solve a specific problem with a set of methods at your disposal. It sounds like the beginning of any strategy, right?
Well, that’s not entirely true. Unlike the marketing mindset, which focuses on higher sales and the instructions on how to do it, design thinking focuses on the process rather than the rules. In other words, designers will first get as much information possible on the need of a customer in a specific situation and then go into the developing stage. During the developing stage, each current decision can be overturned, depending on the new insight.
Nonetheless, there are a couple of design thinking tactics that you can add to your content strategy. Not only will they help you get to know your customers on a deeper level, but show you which of the two works better; your current strategy, or your strategy with a boost of design thinking. According to a Hubspot report, 55% of marketers say that creating blogs is their top inbound marketing priority. So, it’s in your best interest to make it flawless.
Empathize With the User
Exploring what your audience truly wants is more than looking at demographics, the number of website visitors and the time they spend on your site. What marketers often forget is that you have to empathize with the user. Sure, you can’t physically be around them, but you can observe certain factors.
- Listen to what they have to say. There’s probably an article from your site that got more shares than any other. Go through it again and figure out why people liked it.
- Check the social channels your audience uses. See what questions they have about your company or your product.
- Go to your customer service department and ask John what people have trouble with. The more you know, the better.
Once you gather this type of data, you can see what their experience is like. Think about how your content can solve their problems. If that’s not enough, try to reach out to a real customer and ask them how they feel about your product and what would they like to see more.
Define the Ideas
Next, to create a powerful content strategy, you’ll have to define the ideas. The course of action is to organize and analyze the data you have. Then, you’ll have to turn the unique insights into a point of view of your customers. It consists of three components:
- The insights you gathered
- The needs of your customers
- The challenges they face.
You can define the ideas with the help of a team. Take a few of your employees who are good at knowing how others feel. Schedule a meeting with them and brainstorm ideas to find solutions to your customer’s problems. After you’ve collected a handful of ideas, select the ones you can realize and the ones you find essential. Naturally, those can change in the course of the next steps. Still, the premise will look the same.
Materialize Your Content
Most companies feel as if they know enough about the customers to offer them the best content. However, as stated by IAB, only around 50% of companies have a documented content strategy. If you lack the strategy altogether, how can you plan, create, and distribute the content you think is appropriate?
What you need is first to materialize your content. Treat your videos, articles, podcasts, and newsletters as your product. Now, this stage includes drafting an editorial calendar. Take the ideas you came up with and turn them into helpful content pieces for your audience.
In this context, design thinking can turn blank content pieces into meaningful resources for the audience. Pro tip: try to create as much evergreen content as possible. It’s the information you can share time and again. What’s more, your future customers will get back to the content should the need arise.
Use a Digital Asset Management System
Once you create content for your strategy, you have to store it somewhere. The usual file-sharing services and emails are unreliable since you can easily lose a piece that you had to publish today.
The solution is a digital asset management software. It’s a file storage system that your whole team can access at any time during the content strategy implementation. It organizes, stores, and shares files among the team members in one location. The last thing you would want to do is to lose one crucial blog post in an email thread, so make sure to use a digital asset management software from the beginning.
Test It During the Whole Process
Lastly, the implementation of design thinking isn’t finished without the testing process. Nevertheless, it is a method you should use during the entire content strategy venture. Constant tests will ensure you:
- know you have the most optimal version (of the current piece) of the strategy
- never spend more budget than intended
- can change the course of action without damages to the plan
Most importantly, according to B2C’s article,
“The test mode provides a trial-and-error period to test and observe how users engage with a prototype. During this process, new problems may arise that can inform the next iteration of your prototype (or possibly force you to revisit either modes). Though it may be agonizing to repeat previous steps, it is ultimately critical in developing a final outcome that is relevant to customers.”
How do You Feel About Implementing Design Thinking into Your Content Strategy?
Content marketing strategies are, without a doubt, powerful tools to engage the customers. If you believe design thinking is the right method for your advertising efforts, now is the perfect time to integrate it into your strategy.