Digital Marketing And Design: How The Quest for Success is Damaging Advertising Design

Digital Marketers these days are struggling to find new ways to increase engagements for their online campaigns.


Waheed Iqbal

3 years ago | 3 min read

Digital Ads are everywhere. And at times it gets very hard for startups & new brands to stand out in the crowd.

Digital Marketers these days are struggling to find new ways to increase engagements for their online campaigns.

In this blind rush for success, most of the marketers tend to overlook one of the most fundamental aspects of successful advertising, that is design.

Although, visuals, also referred to as "creatives", are one of the core requirements for any online advertising campaign, but many advertisers, in an effort to streamline their digital marketing process are utilizing a plethora of automation tools and generally prefer to use pre-made templates instead of focusing on original designs.

Even though, designs that are specifically created for a particular campaign are more likely to reflect a holistic brand image. Eventually greatly enhancing campaign results, not only in higher engagements but also in lifting brand recognition.

So, why this increasing trend towards pre-made design templates? What's making marketers to overlook this critical aspect of advertising? Automation? Struggle for efficiency? There must be something right?

Well, it's not just the hyped-up process as it seems. In fact, there are many other factors that are actually contributing to this growing neglect towards design essentials in digital advertising.

1. Bandwagon

More marketers are focusing on tools instead of content. Incorporating the next trending marketing tool and getting ahead of the competitors is becoming the new norm in digital marketing.

"If our competitors are using it why aren't we using it?" This is a familiar senior executive response to a competitive analysis.

Well, there is nothing wrong with a good competitive analysis & adjusting your marketing strategy.

But, making reactive changes is not the right way to go. On the contrary, emulating competition out of context might turn out to be counterproductive in the long run.

2. Race for Quick Results

Believe it or not, Digital Marketing is a very stressful job. Managers want quick results, more so in digital marketing than in traditional offline marketing.

The race for more leads, more engagements and more conversions is always on. Managing multiple campaigns with a variety of ad formats can be overwhelming sometimes.

This way, marketers worry more about the end result than the critical process at hand. Ultimately compromising on quality while focusing on doing things quickly.

3. Automation

A catchphrase in marketing departments, automation does contribute in affecting the design process directly.

Over the years the process of delivering online ads has shrunk dramatically. Automating the steps involved in planning, designing & executing online campaigns has been the top priority of marketing teams, which is not a bad thing per se.

Although this automation process did speed up things, it also contributed in significantly shrinking the time allotted for visual design or creating, "creatives".

5. Recruitment

Yes, surprisingly, recruitment does play its part in affecting the advertising design process.

Go to search for junior executive-level digital marketing-related positions. And look at job descriptions.

The more you look at the job descriptions, the more you'll find a recurring point. More and more recruiters want their young digital marketing executives to be skillful at design too.

Digital marketing and graphic design are two separate skills. Yes, design is an essential part of the online advertising process but, a digital marketer doesn't necessarily have to be a graphic designer too.

Design & marketing teams do work very closely, designers have to follow their design briefs. But, they don't need to learn digital marketing skills.

Things do get tricky when digital marketers delve into the design realm & vice versa. Having said that, everyone has the right to learn a variety of skills but the new skill set that a professional wants to acquire should make sense.

For example, if a graphic designer wants to learn UI/UX that makes perfect sense. If an SEO expert wants to learn SEM & SMM skills that also makes perfect sense. But trying to be an expert of two separate domains is not an easy task.

Professionals do realize this, but the problem is at the recruitment level. Recruiters & small companies that are looking for professionals in digital marketing plus designer roles are not saving their company any money, in reality, they are doing their companies harm by hiring professionals who may not be able to successfully execute their jobs.

Concluding Thoughts

As digital marketers, the more we look to streamline the different phases of online marketing by introducing new automation tools, the more we tend to focus on the tools rather than the content itself.

And, as more small businesses & companies are going online for marketing, recruiters are looking for digital marketers who are skilled in graphic design as well. Which I think is simply not fair.

This is not only bad for young professionals but also to the whole process of design in digital advertising.


Created by

Waheed Iqbal

Marketing professional with a keen interest in data backed UI/UX, SEO and Performance Analysis.







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