If you’ve been viewing my posts lately on Linked in, you might wonder why I’ve been talking about SEO, Webdesign and learning marketing out of the blue. Shouldn’t I just focus on design while I’m still in university?
This was a bit unintentional, In fact, I had no idea what I was stepping into, but over my semester break, I wanted to take time out from design to learn something completely different, just to keep learning still as exciting. looking back at my decision, I do recognize a few triggers and subtle influences that led me to this decision
The Marketing Rabbit Hole
In the January of this year, I picked up reading books on personal finance, Why you ask? *Uhm* because this year I turned 20 *so she thought she became a real adult*.
One of the best books I read was Kiyosaki’s all-time hits ” Rich Dad poor Dad” which went deeper and deeper to make a point about why “selling” is an important life skill to learn, the history of trade, and why we must learn to sell no matter where our core skills or interest lie because that’s going to affect whether you can do what you do for a living or even monetize your passion for a profession to do things full time.
Branding got me into Marketing
Over the end of last semester, I developed a progressive interest in Branding (designers talk about branding all the time!), what it was, and whether it was just limited to visual design? I was looking for a definition, from what I was taught the understanding about branding didn’t feel convincing enough because everyone had a vaguely different answer. The more people I asked the more frustrated I got with not finding a specific answer to my question.
I was looking for something solid everyone could pretty much agree on. That’s when I read about Senior author and Designer Marty Neumeier’s book Zag.
I remember listening to his Interview on the Futur podcast, where through his numerous years of experience working in the branding space he came up with an exact definition of Branding. He said, ” A Brand is a gut feeling of a person about a product, service or a company”. And everyone articulates what they feel differently,
I also noticed how businesses talk about marketing in the same conversation of building a brand. I read my Mentor Digital Deepak’s marketing blog way before I enrolled in his internship program, who always stressed how crucial it is to have a personal brand and how personal branding increases the ease of doing business, getting sales, building trust, and connecting with your audience.
I had to explore marketing to get the full picture of branding, to look at the missing piece of the puzzle, or that’s what I thought, Branding is like an intersect of Design and marketing
My Assumptions about Marketing
I was convinced that marketing was an important skill to learn, but I kept it on the side for “someday” for a long time.
After all, I knew marketing is an MBA specialization, there are a lot of courses you can find online (YouTube of course) that teach you different aspects of marketing like affiliate marketing, Advertising, E-mail automation, or lead generation, but my problem with that was, that it was a very segmented way of learning.
I needed something more cohesive and structured that could teach me marketing as a whole because it was challenging and harder to make sense sticking together different pieces of content with the added struggle of, is to not just making sense but also effectively using those strategies (like funnels).
Luckily I found a course that could condense & teach me everything from scratch, at my own pace while also getting paid for doing work.
The learning experience was incredible, I’ll be writing an in-depth review after the internship program is over. There were in fact so many things I didn’t know, that link back to marketing.
Webdesign for example is inherently connected to marketing and branding as well. Read more here on why your personal brand starts with your website and why we should learn marketing as creatives.
Branding Lessons from a Marketing Perspective
I signed up for marketing to learn more about branding. So here are some more things marketing taught me about Personal Branding.
. Personal branding can be used as a tool for networking and adding value through content creation, that follows the narrative and vision of your brand.
. Personal Branding increases the ease of doing business since people are more likely to trust people and not logos.
. Personal branding adds more value and builds more trust with the businesses you’re trying to build. In the early days for example Apple’s branding was driven by Steve Jobs and hence a lot of Apple’s values like innovation and a keen eye for good design are derived from Job’s personal brand
. It’s easier to run a business with a face behind it, often such businesses are more valued than their competitors.
.Personal brands inspire action by doing and not talking, they walk the walk, which builds credibility.
. A personal brand can help you become a thought leader or establish your “expertise” within your niche. while bringing people in similar niches together through collaboration.
Understanding Marketing through a business perspective was a game-changer. While learning marketing processes or rather the purpose behind marketing (apart from generating revenue) I realized that a lot of it mirrors design itself
Design Parallels Marketing
Design is based on empathy and understanding the user’s needs, aspirations, and pain points to make a product or a service a better fit for the user. Marketing too Is about understanding what your audience cares about, their problems and frustration and what they’re looking for to have their needs met, and finding the right products market fit.
Marketing and design both solve problems!
I am not saying they’re both the same because they’re definitely not. You can have your own definition of design and what it means to you, but they’re definitely some similarities hard to ignore.
Everything is geared and targeted towards the user or a specific audience. With marketing, you can build trust that scales with the right e-mail messaging automation that serves relevant content to different segments of your audience.
Do you think marketing and design are similar? Does design fulfill a marketing objective? Should Design colleges offer modules on marketing and content creation for extra credits? write down your thought in the comments below, the more I learn about marketing from my mentor, the more apparent the similarities became.
Marketing is a use-case of Psychology
A lot of marketing is understanding the psychology of consumers and your audience in a niche market. Marketing professionals specializing in Sales for example need to learn the principles of Influence and persuasion to close leads.
As humans, we justify most of our purchasing decisions based on emotions and feelings. We buy from the brands that we trust, admire, and resonate with or the quality of “experience” of their products. Branding, as well as positioning, gives an edge to companies from their competition that sell a similar product or service even with better USPs.
There is a mental cost that comes along with switching from my go-to brands that’s hard to justify for me with logic alone. Marketers and Product designers study core principles of psychology to build habit-forming products. You can learn more about this in Nir Eyal’s book called “Hooked: How to build habit-forming products” which talks about building better products with a habit loop.
Marketing is Universal
Marketing is one of those high-value skills anyone could benefit from learning. Many say that they’re not “marketers” and that’s not their job to do it.
Everyone has a core T skill that they spent 80% of their time doing, but the truth is if you want to make a living off your own, become a solopreneur, freelancer, or be self-employed to stay self-sufficient, you would need to learn marketing anyways. I don’t think learning marketing is a choice.
It’s like a language you need to learn to be able to communicate effectively to keep doing what you do
Marketing is the only business function that cannot be completely outsourced. Unlike other things, like copywriting or design marketing cannot be completely outsourced by a business.
Marketing is deeply linked to problem solving and psychology, so if you’re one of those people interested in any of those topics, you can use that curiosity as an anchor to pivot yourself around learning this topic.
For me my trigger was branding, I would recommend you to find a structured course because learning online can be scattered, with a bit of Instagram carousels used to “educate” people and a bit of YouTube and blogs, It can get all over the place.
Trust me, we’ve all been there while learning something new. Sticking together different pieces of content from different sources and different people to make sense as a whole can not only be complex & overwhelming but that might make you give up on what you started with.
For me my frustration about wanting to know what “branding” is, was the tipping point to learn marketing. And all the triggers along the way that didn’t get enough credit. With marketing, it only feels like I’m getting started on learning something much, much bigger than myself.
Your Feedback 🙂
What do you think? have you tried marketing before? Share your thoughts in the comments and we can get into a nice chat over my hot coffee <3