Commercial aspects of Product Design

Prior to our Marketing module: thoughts and expectations:

What do we mean by 'commercial'
Commercial, business, money, profit, Sales, turnover and marketing are all very much to do with the non creative side of a product's journey.

Commercial: commerce +‎ -ial. From French commercial (of, or pertaining to commerce). commercial (plural commercials)
1. An advertisement in a common media format, usually radio or television.
Commercialisation - Introducing a new product into the market. (Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris, 2013, pp. 658-659)

The design side of a products journey is a much more fluid, personal, development and interrogation of what is possible. Matt hunter, Chief Design Officer for Design Council discusses in an article 'what is design and why it matters' for the counless definitions of design out there. He settles on a quote from Sir george Cox "'Design is what links creativity and innovation. It shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers. Design may be described as creativity deployed to a specific end.’" (VIEW: What is Design and why it matters, no date)

Design is a branch of ‘art’ Product design is concerned with both the end goal, having a use, purpose or function and maintaining a creative innovative edge.

Because of the concern with the end use or function, a user or customer is a large part of the product design process.

Commercial aspects of product design is a module I am very interested in, gaining a better understanding of the approach taken to understand our end users will only benefit the sales and success of any products I design.

Sales and Marketing for me is; Only Fools and Horses, Phones 4 You and the Marketing team at Tigerprint!

Phones for you (now closed down) - potentially a reflection on their overly aggressive sales approach? Ability to convince someone else that what you have is what they want, understanding, listening, and often pre-judging the customer and then being able to ensure they feel the product you have is what they want, or even need.

Delboy and Rodney’s sales techniques, on the other hand, were their use of charm, banter and distraction. These were often hilarious techniques to con or trick the customer into a sale: again, their ability to quickly understand their audience and pitch to them in a correct manner.

Marketing team - Tigerprint. The marketing team at Tigerprint were more of a source of frustration and irritation in reflection. Often appearing upon completion of the design work just to get their point of view considered. Due to the speed of turn around their research was often counterproductive.

One aspect of the marketing research at Tigerprint I found helpful and insightful was their customer profiling, this enabled us to reference to the customer our product was being aimed at and understand instantly her key needs and expectation’s of the product. I do, however, question the methods by which this ‘bible status’ information was gained. The team would gain fresh research by observing members of the public shop in our stores, visit their homes and spend time getting to know them. From this the marketing team would then create a profile.
This customer insight gives a "fresh understanding of customers in the marketplace derived from marketing information that become the basis for creating customer value and relationships says Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris. Furthermore it is these customer insights that and Then create at Organised collection of comprehensive data about individual customers and prospects: a customer database. (Kotler, Armstrong, and Harris, 2013, pp. 660-661) "Tesco’s Clubcard loyalty program has been in operation since 1995 during which time its capability of gaining insight from customers is advanced dramatically says retail weekly" (Davis, no date)

But the heart of all this data collection must be an understanding of where is going to be used. "the aim is to know the customer better see that they can be given what they want." (Davis, no date) Tesco have Dunnhumby to unify and give relevance to the data collected, however Tigerprint did not and I found it a concern when considering how much direction, and design decisions were made on these few customers and then a educated generalisation of their habits, likes and dislikes.

Therefore in summary I cant wait for this module, I love to learn and the more holistic my understanding of the process involved in taking a product to market the better I will be at being a product designer.

It is with a pinch of salt that I will consider and implement the marketing strategies taught to my own designs however. I look forward to exploring the many options and approaches to customer profiling and hope to find one that suits both my method and me of designing.

Kotler, P., Armstrong, G. and Harris, L. (2013) Principles of marketing. United Kingdom: Financial Times, Prentice Hall
VIEW: What is Design and why it matters (no date)
Davis, G. (no date) Analysis: Loyalty cards - How retailers are using the data