Why designers need marketing skills



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This is an excerpt from Fundamental UI Design, an InVision e-course by Jane Portman.

Does the thought of selling something send shivers down your spine?

Then you might think marketing is all about sleazy sales tricks, and that it takes a special kind of personality—one you certainly are not, being a creative introvert.

All these are common misconceptions.

Marketing is another solid craft, just like design or development. The essence of it is making the perfect match between the buyer and the seller.

“Marketing is another solid craft, just like design or development.”

“Marketing is communicating the value of a product, service or brand to customers, for the purpose of promoting or selling that product, service, or brand. A sale is the exchange of a commodity for money or service in return for money. Marketing and sales differ greatly, but have the same goal. Selling is the final stage in Marketing, which also includes Pricing, Promotion, Place and Product (the 4 P’s).”

A marketer is merely facilitating the sales process by informing all the parties and reducing the friction—all done at the right time in the right place. As a designer, you can certainly participate in this process.

“A marketer is merely facilitating the sales process.”

Why you need marketing

So does a UI designer need to know marketing? Absolutely.

You don’t have to plan and run intricate ad campaigns. But the basics of marketing are essential.

You might think that creating a great product is the biggest challenge for any business. That’s partially true: it’s hard to nail down a product concept. But it’s even harder to craft the application itself, launch it, and deal with support issues.

Photo by #WOCinTech Chat. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Photo by #WOCinTech Chat. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

For any entrepreneur, the core challenge is making sales. Healthy cash flow is the oxygen of a business. It doesn’t matter if the product is spectacular—the business dies if nobody buys it.

“Designers with marketing skills stand out from their competitors.”

As a UI designer, you don’t have to sell anything yourself. But you want to keep your head turned in the same direction your client’s looking. And trust me, your client thinks about sales a lot.

The majority of designers manage to live without having a single idea about marketing. So any effort in this direction will be greatly appreciated by your clients. It’ll set you apart from your competitors.

Want to learn more? Get Jane Portman’s entire e-course, Fundamental UI Design, in your inbox by signing up here.

Header photo by #WOCinTech Chat. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.


Jane Portman, UI/UX Consultant
Jane is an independent UI/UX consultant from Russia who helps SaaS founders build focused, profitable products. Previously a creative director at a large agency, Jane went solo after having two boys. While running a successful productized consulting service, she recently published her third book, The UI Audit. Jane enjoys writing and speaking at events, but most of all she likes to solve real-life business problems through smart UI design. Get her free course on managing designers here.

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