Recently, especially with the pandemic arrival, there’ve been a lot of “product designer” jobs popping up. Every industry has suddenly started to produce some “product,” whether it’s a service or an actual product.
Online consultants, digital marketing agencies, graphic design firms, app development companies, dropshipping services, accounting services, and virtual tutoring agencies can all be great examples. Even your lifestyle can be involved! Thus, influencers make money on Instagram by offering us various products and services.
What is “product design”? Who are “product designers”? How can they improve your lead generation techniques? Let’s figure this out.
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Table of Contents
What is product design?
Today, those who work (or would like to work) in technology have become more interested in product design and its capabilities than ever before.
Technology is an integral part of today’s world, and product design is an increasingly important part not only of our business but also of our customers’ daily lives. What’s important is that we need a more detailed description of roles in our product design teams.
However, the concept of product design is still difficult to understand, even for those who work on it directly.
Product design is a comprehensive look at the problem you’re trying to solve with your “product,” and finding the most effective and easiest way to solve it from the user’s perspective. It’s more than just answering the question, “How do we create a solution for a private need?” Product design assumes that you understand user psychology and that you know how to design a helpful UI. In addition, it’s important to see the market perspective and value of your offers.
In other words, product design is all about designing what people will want to use. Part of a product designers’ job is to create simple things, and that’s really motivating. It evokes emotions. It evokes feelings in customers. Above all, the product has to meet the expectations of the latter. Without that, you can’t do anything.
Product design is a synthesis of different methodologies, with more than just a single ingredient. Designers who understand this are always in demand, even more recently. Product designers have a broader set of knowledge – they can be experts in one or two areas but they must also have a good understanding of the entire product creation process.
Who are product designers?
Today everything that surrounds us can be called a “product” in one way or another: products bring us provisions during quarantine, wash and steam our clothes, act as couriers when we need to pass something to our relatives on the other side of the city (e.g., Uber is always there for you).
Products also develop us – artist and designer webinars, online language schools, intelligently “packaged” in a convenient “product shell” – this content is the most adapted to the consumption. Music contests and flash mobs all over the world, creative groups in social networks, pillow-challenges, etc. – anything goes!
During the pandemic, it’s like the world is focused on creating innovative and entertaining content. All of this, any service or product, is ultimately the product consumers want to get. Thus, every day we use so many various products, made available through successful packaging and promotion.
A product designer is required exactly to sell you the “product,” and that’s why the job is so much in demand in the post-COVID world.
Product designers create a product from scratch. They are actually the ones who make customers addicted to the service or technology. When people get hooked on some product, that means the designer’s job was done well.
Habit-forming technology is the basic technology of modern product development (its creation). However, a product in any way solves a certain problem of society. While a product designer only develops a life-cycle model of using it for users, looking for the most convenient strategy to attract and retain them.
Every product now considers our life-cycle needs throughout life and provides solutions at every stage. Product designers are the mind behind this model. They are also responsible for human-centered product design. Thus, this is a comprehensive job that trains you to create a solution from scratch and maintain it.
From marketer to product designer
Along with the “influx” of product designers, we can notice that a lot of marketers switch to product design and development from simply marketing products and brands. Why is this happening?
All lead-generation departments in companies include marketing, sales, and product development departments. Thus, everyone from the startup industry to ministries has moved to Agile, i.e. a project management approach based on delivering requirements iteratively and incrementally throughout the life cycle. Marketers are no exception.
The essence of Agile is that any product undergoes development iterations and is constantly being improved. Product marketing is just about highlighting these innovations after each new iteration of product refinement/creation of new features. Companies refine and sometimes even change our marketing strategy to best introduce our product to the market. Marketing uses the same approach. Salespeople, in turn, also have to change their scripts, presentation, and perhaps even communication channels to properly reflect the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and sell their product. Thus, Agile extends to them, as well.
In such a situation the marketer role is intermediate: on one hand, we get feedback from salespeople who communicate directly with the audience, on the other – we get insights into the reaction of TA segments from tests of their hypotheses. Then we also deliver both types of conclusions to product designers and developers, from which they already form new features for the product. This is why marketers often switch to product designers, implementing their design and constructive talents.
What does a product designer do?
This is a fairly “young” occupation that combines different functions and tasks. You need to be able to do prototyping, conduct user research, use animation and graphic design skills.
For a product designer, it’s important to be able to look at what you’re doing through more than just your own eyes – i.e., a designer who works with layouts. You have to consider the interests of the business, the communication strategy.
To do all this, it takes a lot of team talk. Roughly speaking, if you have some kind of task, you want to walk around and “torment” everyone around you.
A product designer is focused on several tasks simultaneously: the vision of the product, how this product makes profits, and how it solves the problems of users.
The main goal of a product designer is to combine the “wants” of the business with user problems and pains into a single product that satisfies everyone. Quite often, a business wants the user to pay for something, but the user doesn’t want to pay. That’s why it’s important to find solutions, i.e. a connection between the business and the user.
Who are leads and what is lead generation?
In marketing, a “lead” is someone who has shown interest (left a request/comment, responded to a message, asked a question, etc.). The problem is that many take subscribers of a purchased database of emails and phone numbers as leads.
A lead is not someone you “bombard” with cold calls from a purchased database but a person or organization that has begun to communicate with you.
Lead generation is seen as the process of attracting potential customers and guiding them through the sales funnel, from the first contact to becoming a customer. It’s often presented as a “funnel”: marketing brings in leads (the top of the funnel), which are processed and “closed” by the sales department. Clients are then “nurtured” by offering special offers and additional functionality. For us, however, lead generation looks more like a circle, in which all the parts interact with each other.
If your product part is poor, no matter how hard the marketing and sales teams try to measure and improve lead generation metrics, those leads are unlikely to become long-term customers. This is exactly why product design is so important.
How to choose the best ideas to implement
Gather feedback from the team at the end of each quarter: what worked well and what worked poorly, what they would recommend to test or try in the next quarter.
Choose a few ideas that seem to be the best and most progressive. All of the chosen ideas can be tested via the so-called “I.C.E.” methodology, which consists of the following elements:
- Impact – what will be the impact at the company or department level;
- Confidence – whether the implementation of the idea/product will really affect the key indicators;
- Ease of Implementation – how easy it will be to implement the product, how much effort and resources will have to be invested.
Score on a 10-point scale, calculate the result and choose 3-5 winning ideas to implement in the next quarter.
At first, 2-3 volunteers from the team who like to experiment can be engaged in the new channels. If the result is positive, scale it to the entire team.
Attracting customers through newsletters
This tool is suitable for working with cold and warm leads that you have obtained via your main website, landing page, content marketing or video marketing. At this stage, the key is to move the lead through the sales funnel, follow the next steps:
- Tell them more about the offer;
- Form a trusting relationship;
- Work through objections (expensive, difficult, guarantees, etc.);
- Segment leads, if necessary;
- Personalize newsletters to make leads “hot” (or “warm,” at least);
- Turn your leads into customers and retain them by all means (i.e. with your service, respect, integrity, and cool product).
Newsletters can go beyond emails. Recent studies show that in many niches, the effectiveness of these email newsletters is dropping. They are gradually being replaced by messengers. Now you can create a whole series of newsletters, automatic funnels, and even smart bots in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, or Viber.
Generating leads with content marketing
Content marketing is about creating trust relationships, promoting the company’s expertise through useful and interesting content. This tool is quite versatile in terms of attracting customers. It works particularly well in the following cases:
- The product is new or yet unclear to your potential TA – create demand and show value;
- The product is complicated enough – don’t just show the value – explain;
- The product is quite clear and simple, but there are too many competitors – stand out among them and gain the trust of customers.
You can achieve this all through useful articles on a corporate blog or via influencer posts on reputable social media platforms. The main thing is not to forget to set up a form to collect contacts or think of other mechanics to generate leads.
Checklist for lead generation: How to attract more customers
- Analyze all existing indicators – how much it costs to attract a customer, how much money is spent on different channels of attraction;
- Draw your ideal customer’s portrait. Having such a portrait is already a great start. Sometimes companies try to buy some ABM ( (Account-Based Marketing is when marketing and sales teams work together to target best-suitable accounts and convert them into customers) platform without not knowing the details of their target audience. Find out the “pain” of a particular company: what will be critical and urgent enough for it to respond to your actions;
- Choose the most promising companies and divide them by importance, based on the customer’s portrait. Don’t spread it all out; focus your sales and marketing efforts on a small group of profitable target companies;
- Think through the offer, its uniqueness, the real benefit to your potential customers, and how different it is from your competitors. Don’t just say “read our articles,” say “get our articles and tips to make 2-3 times more.” Instead of “get our fashion articles,” use “get 10% off your first order,” etc.;
- Create a landing page with an offer or a lead magnet (free material as a gift – a book, an instruction, a checklist, or a catalog). The page should have 1 (!) clear appeal and an easy contact form: name and email will be enough at first;
- Use a corporate blog and social media channel to share useful information with potential and existing customers. These can be articles about how to use your product, instructions, recommendations on related topics, etc. Also, don’t forget to integrate your offers there periodically and set up a contact form;
- Use content marketing – publish material on other platforms: media, blogs, influencers, FB groups, etc. To track the effectiveness of different publications, you can use UTM tags or discount promo codes for the readers of a particular resource. UTM tags (or UTM codes) is a method to track traffic that’s coming to your website from a certain platform;
- Work with your contact database, i.e. users you have already collected via e-mail, messengers, or phone calls, depending on your business specifics. Lead generation should be systematic and effective – the database by itself will not give anything, it must be constantly “heated”;
- Segment the audience to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Analyze indicators, e.g. lead costs, lead conversion from different channels, average customer check by the attraction channel;
- Once you’ve found the most effective methods, keep testing new tools and scale channels you’re already confident in.
Ideally, two of your lead generation channels should be scalable and calibrated, i.e. email and LinkedIn newsletters. They can be automated for mass reach with Outreach, Expandi, or LeadIQ, for example. As part of single-account and ABM ideology, you can build and test how you can use these two channels effectively in parallel. Keep in mind personalization for your top accounts.
Product design is important because it directly indicates how we understand people. Product designers must go beyond the fortress of assumptions that make them feel comfortable. They must constantly doubt their “cozy” way of thinking. Remember that people can surprise us, and that is the only assumption that is acceptable.
Know how to observe. Understanding motivation is part of the empathy process. This is what we mean when we say that designers have an advantage in mastering product design. In reality, the design is just an exercise in developing empathy, connecting culture to ideas, and creating interesting things out of them. Designers do this unconsciously. They work with the intention of spreading ideas, and empathy helps them do well with that. Designers go beyond their consciousness and create things that can really attract people.
However, the “taste” kills empathy. Taste emerges when designers are over-saturated with cultural influences to the point when they start to feel like they are in fact the source of ideas and cultural synthesis. At that point, they stop observing and absorbing, which becomes the source of cultural influence. This moment is easy to miss, and gradually, the inspiration sources are exhausted, become scarce, and designers (as well as their new products) start to repeat themselves. The culture is evolving and constantly changing, and the designer is “chewing” the same ideas. That’s where the “taste” can lead.
A product designer is better versed in business processes, and the involvement in them on both sides allows to improve communication when working with customers, as well as reduce costs, increase income, and the number of leads. Design now speaks the same language as business. By getting rid of the separation of duties that existed before, the product designer saves time and avoids a lot of inconsistencies.
They are hired as a class of designers that are simply profitable to invest in to attract leads. Yes, the average product designer might draw worse (or even have no drawing skills at all) but still design solutions, which profitability can literally be justified in dollars.
An interface designer will make a system component that will require $15,000, and $30,000 more a year later to redesign it. A product designer, although twice as expensive in terms of salary, will make it so that $15,000 will only be spent once, saving $30,000. And will do it in just a week of his work. Not to mention the fact that it will be easier to use the system and therefore easier to sell it, as well.
A product designer conducts the whole range of work and supervises the product from birth to meeting the consumer. That is why the work of an experienced specialist is so valuable.