Is It Product Design Or Marketing Design?

To survive this digital revolution, companies are seeking new ways to innovate, and they’re doing so by creating and refining their existing digital technologies so the experience can seamlessly span across desktop, web, and mobile platforms. Building the right digital product isn’t a happy accident, and more companies are recognizing there's no easy path to success.

Like traditional Product Design, digital product design has its roots linked to a manufacturing process. This process is known as the Product Development Lifecycle. Throughout this cycle, many different services work as a system to build the product; project management, design processes, engineering processes, and marketing. This digital product system works like a machine. It’s composed of various different parts that work in unison to complete the whole system. If these parts are massed incorrectly, the machine runs the risk of breaking. A well assembled machine takes precise understanding, planning, and utilization.

Authentically building products that have a measurable impact requires a lot more than a sense of possibility. Persistence, determination, process, and a deep understanding strengthens the ability to truly make a great product. We work closely with the executives and stakeholders to fully understand the vision for the product. It needs to be sharply focussed on clearly defined business goals, user needs, success metrics, and opportunities we can capitalize on.

So, which is it?

A big misconception feature[23] encounters is that Product Design is the same as Marketing Design. What people don’t understand is these two services have a different set of constraints, they have a different approach at solving different problems, and they have a different set of goals guiding them.

Product design and marketing are their own individual steps in the development process; both have to advance their understanding of the business needs together and on their own, so it’s easy to see how these two can be convoluted. At it’s simplest form product design builds the bridge between the stakeholders and the consumer. Marketing, when done right, will easily convince those users why they so desperately need to cross the bridge.


Great design will not sell an inferior product, but it will enable a great product to achieve its maximum potential.

— Thomas J. Watson Jr.


Product design for business

The role of a product designer has undergone a shift in the last decade. Product design is known as industrial design, which focuses strong on the form, function, and material of an object. Design now focuses heavily on the interaction between people and technology, also known as Human Centered Design.

Product Design is the process of building a digital product, asset, or service that delivers on the back of technology. Digital products serve as platforms for experiences, functionality, and service offerings that are built by organizations to solve problems for their users.

Stakeholders take part in the product design process by contributing their expertise in specifying technological solutions, and help define the key characteristics of their target users. A user can be considered either anyone who is exposed to the interaction of the product from a social standpoint, or a user can be a service personnel + employees of the service provider.

Marketing design for consumers

At its core, marketing is the art of persuasion. Similar to product design and development, marketing efforts, approaches, and the messages are constantly evolving.It researches and develops theories on the consumption of products, to understand what influences consumer to buy, and how they make decisions. Marketing attracts attention and creates interest around a brands image, their services, and the overall customer experience.

To develop marketing strategies, marketing professionals use quantitative and qualitative measures to learn the identity and needs of their customers. Organizations are looking to co-create and innovate in its product development by initiating and maintaining relationships with the customers in ways that create value for both the consumer and the business.

Product Design and Marketing may have a few things in common, but there are very several, clear distinctions between the goals driving design with marketing in mind vs. designing a product with stakeholders AND users in mind.


Learn. Build. Explore.

In the new Digital Business Era, business models, if they haven’t already, are gravitating towards a full-on digital model. For the last eight years, we’ve helped clients dust off their software assets and brought them back from flatlining. The ones that have made the shift are seeing increased growth and success, while the decaying models slowly enter a comatose state and die on the tech-ventilator.

As the digital application economy evolves, creating a product that provides value to its users has become increasingly challenging. The interaction between a human and their computer screen is becoming, more or less, the stitch that holds our tumultuous existence together. Thanks to evolving human behaviors, digitally grown businesses, and marketing designed for our obsessive impulses, our correlation with these designed systems have grown to feel as a more complete experience. As technology gets more advanced, how will our relationship with it continue to change?

Dan Malarkey

About Dan Malarkey

Dan is a product designer, wanna-be astronomer, and obsessed with the design process by focusing on design thinking and strategy to aid evolving digital business models through innovated software.

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