The importance of understanding design thinking as a marketer

TL;DR – understanding design thinking allows you to understand your product + design teams AND think outside the box on new messaging that solves your customer’s pain points.

Leanna Jackson
3 min readJan 22, 2022


Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate to work at a couple of product-led organizations. From outside the product team looking in, the design process felt complex and outside my realm.

But, when I began researching UX design, I started noticing how understanding design thinking benefits me as a marketer.

If you are a seasoned marketer or just getting started, understanding design thinking helps you improve your marketing strategy.

Quick definition: design thinking is a process you often used when attempting to understand your user. For more information, here is an article from the Interaction Design Foundation.

Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

First, design thinking is an iterative process.

Stagnant marketing is a blocker for growth. If you find a marketing tactic that works and you only do that one thing all the time, growth is difficult.

Design thinking encourages constant iteration and testing. UX designers and engineers often work through the phases of design thinking: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Throughout this process, designers gather learnings that inform the next iteration of the design.

The constant feedback loop ensures that users have the opportunity to provide input, thus creating a better experience for your user.

Iterative processes also help improve marketing. Testing new strategies, creating new iterations, and learning what works (or doesn’t work) is the core of marketing strategy. By bringing in elements of the design thinking process – such as empathizing with the customer – your marketing strategy excels.

Then, enabling iteration in marketing allows you to gather feedback and test new ideas quickly. Plus, you’ll learn how to reach your customer with the right message in the right place at the right time.

Here’s a great article from Asana for more on iterative processes.

Design thinking takes a customer-first point of view.

Throughout the entire design thinking process, the user is the main focus. Understanding their behaviors, likes and dislikes, and demographics is critical to creating a better experience. Better experiences increase brand advocacy and customer loyalty.

In marketing, developing buyer personas is one way to develop a customer-first mindset. Personas are detailed snapshots of a customer segment, including age, likes, dislikes, goals, and frustrations.

In product design, personas help identify what pain points a design solution resolves. In marketing, personas connect the dots on what messaging and channels where your customer engages.

Putting the customer first in marketing is a proven way to create a sense of connection throughout the conversion funnel (and after).

Want more ideas on how to become customer-centric? Check out this article from Hubspot.

Two men sit at their computers, discussing the importance of design thinking in marketing strategy. Image in black and white.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Finally, challenging assumptions is essential in design thinking.

Throughout the design process, challenging common assumptions helps ideate new creative solutions to your customer’s problems. It helps designers think outside the box and continually puts them in the customer’s shoes.

In marketing, this process is essential to moving your strategy forward. Remember, that what may have worked initially may not last forever. And failed past tests may work in the future. Don’t let past assumptions keep you from trying tactics again in a new way.

I am still new to the design process. But, understanding how to incorporate design thinking in my marketing work has only been beneficial so far.

Do you incorporate design thinking in your work?



Leanna Jackson

Product Marketer + Content Designer | Writing about UX, marketing, and other life stories