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Marketing folks and designers have the same goal: well-designed sites and well-executed campaigns that convert viewers into customers. But getting to that goal can be challenging.

To do so, the more analytical, measurement-oriented marketers and the less analytics-oriented designers must navigate the creative process, which can engender fresh, engaging concepts or meander without any regard for time or budget constraints.

Marketers wishing to collaborate more smoothly and effectively with designers and businesses seeking to improve their creative process should start by understanding the ways in which marketers and designers are similar, where their differences lie, and what they can do to minimize conflict and maximize creativity.

Marketers vs. Designers

The truth is marketers and designers have a lot in common. I'd challenge you to find a successful marketer who doesn't use a creative process to develop new and stimulating ideas. Likewise, show me a designer who lacks a deeper understanding of marketing and a drive to attain viewers' eyes, and I'll show you a designer who's soon to be fired.

Their similarities:

  • Shared goals: Marketers and designers both seek a happy client. And what makes clients happy? Well-designed sites and campaigns that convert viewers into customers.
  • Starting with the objective: Both marketers and designers start with the client's objective. They want to know the specific outcome the client seeks as well as the tone of voice desired.
  • Similar questions: The best marketers and designers constantly ask the questions "Why?" and "What if?" They want to know why people fall in love with a brand and what might happen if they tried one strategy, tone, or idea over another.
  • Control of strategy: Not surprisingly, both marketers and designers would prefer to be in charge of a campaign's or project's strategy, creative and otherwise.

Their differences:

  • Measurement: While designers always wants a campaign to be successful, they'll still gain some sense of satisfaction if they know they've put together an aesthetically pleasing, exceptionally creative, boundary-pushing campaign or site, even if it reaches a smaller than desired audience or looks dull on some screens.

    Marketers, on the other hand, tend to be obsessed with measurement, tracking conversions, impressions, rankings—you name it. To increase Google rankings, we want a site to have tight content architecture and superfast load times, even if this means some slight aesthetic sacrifices.
  • Priorities: A marketer's highest priority is getting a message out to the most appropriate and widest audience. We want to know the nitty-gritty details of how every part of a campaign or site performed, and we want results we can put in a report. In contrast, graphic designers tend to immerse themselves in the bigger picture, the concepts that shape a campaign or site.

These differences might seem minimal, but they represent divergent perspectives and passions that can lead to a lot of friction.

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image of Adria Saracino

Adria Saracino is a UX content strategist at Facebook, a digital marketing and content strategist, and the founder of The Emerald Palate, a Seattle-based lifestyle blog.

LinkedIn: Adria Saracino

Twitter: @adriasaracino