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Content must drive engagement—a truism underscored more and more as businesses and customers embrace digital more fully.

Words are necessary to convey a message, but too many can bog down the experience. You have only three seconds to grab someone's attention, so don't lock your storytelling away behind large blocks of text.

People are bombarded with so much information that the opportunity to engage them with words is fleeting at best. Still with me? Great! Because the point is this: Visual, interactive design is increasingly important for marketers looking to make the most of the moment. Interactive content is one of the most-shared content formats by B2B buyers.

For marketers to communicate best, they need to get designers involved in campaign strategy at the earliest stages.

Designers are strategic thinkers who understand how important visual design is to communicate a story effectively. They bring a novel perspective. Lean on them early and often, because good design leads to content that not only engages but also elicits an emotional response.

When Marketing and Creative work closely together from the onset, all parties get a better understanding of the customer's pain points, and the campaign itself drives better outcomes.

Here's how collaboration with designers early in the process creates truly engaging digital storytelling.

Creating a Digital Experience Efficiently

A smooth creative process and better design thinking require creatives and Marketing to get on the same page early on.

Designers want to have deeper conversations with anyone involved in a project to challenge concepts and ask questions that otherwise might not be asked. Marketing wants to cover all bases, whether branding considerations or hypotheses backed up by user data.

A creative brief allows them to get on the same page—literally. The brief outlines goals, provides background, and references related content or inspiration. It also includes a host of considerations, including what the primary objective of the content is, how it will build the brand, what message it will communicate, and who the stakeholders and audience are.

A creative brief allows designers to have some early input into the strategy behind the effort and opens the door to more meaningful discoveries.

Getting a Better Understanding of the Customer's Needs

Designers like to get their hands dirty, too.

Designers can hear about customer pain points from the marketing team, or they can spend time understanding those pains themselves. Designers get a more holistic view of what problems the customer is trying to solve, and their input can also help drive effective solutions.

Designers may not be writing the language of the campaign itself (and the words are important), but their early involvement may spark ideas for visually conveying a solution to a problem. Visuals drive engagement!

Early collaboration between Marketing and Creative also helps designers weigh in on what channel or medium the campaign should use. Certain aspects of a campaign might work better or be assessed differently on each channel. A designer's vision might see new opportunities the marketer's eyes may have missed.

A designer would ask, "Is this the right thing, in the right place, at the right moment?"—which underscores the benefits of a more strategic partnership between marketers and designers.

Meeting Customers Along Their Journey

Working with the design team isn't just a production step for marketers along the way to campaign deployment. Design is a strategic discipline that helps your organization think more creatively and deliver more effective solutions—creating order from creative chaos.

Strategic collaboration between creative and marketing teams creates engagement. It helps solve problems spatially, not just narratively, and it tells more engaging stories. It leads both parties to map out the customer journey and deeply understand what content should be created for each fork in the road.

Designers ensure that the actual user journey through a piece of content is smooth. Is the presentation clear? Does it naturally lead to the call to action? Is it, say, consumable, or is it asking too much from the user? What feelings or thoughts are being elicited?

Transposing that thought process onto the entire customer journey leads teams to better outcomes from their efforts. A successful marketing campaign isn't a single PDF, video, or piece of digital content. It's a journey, an experience from one endpoint to another; and everything in between contributes to the outcome.

When Creative and Marketing work together from the onset, they forge truly compelling digital experiences. So reach across the aisle: Success is there for the taking.

More Resources on the Partnership Between Marketing and Creative

The Payoff of the Partnership Between Marketing and Creative [Infographic]

To Meet Tomorrow's Marketing Challenges, You Need These People on Your Team Today

Providing Quantitative Feedback to Creatives Is 'Mission Critical': CMOs Offer Five Tips

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Alex Kelly

Alex Kelly is the director of digital marketing at Ceros, an interactive content agency. He oversees a growth marketing team that includes paid acquisition, SEO, integrated campaigns, events, and marketing operations.

LinkedIn: Alex Kelly