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Proven Design Thinking Methods To Solve Marketing Problems

· Design Thinking

Marketing professionals face numerous challenges in today's dynamic business landscape. A fresh approach is needed to overcome these obstacles and drive effective engagement with target audiences. Enter design thinking – a powerful problem-solving framework originally used in product design, now making its mark in marketing.

Design thinking combines empathy, creativity, and a deep understanding of customer needs to develop impactful marketing strategies. By placing the end-user at the core, marketers can uncover unique insights, challenge assumptions, and generate innovative solutions that resonate with their target market.

In this blog post, we will explore how design thinking can revolutionize your marketing approach. Adopting design thinking principles from seasoned professionals to newcomers can lead to customer-centric strategies and successful outcomes.

What is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology that originated in product design but has since been widely adopted across various industries, including marketing. It is a human-centered approach that emphasizes understanding the needs and desires of users or customers to develop innovative solutions.

At its core, design thinking revolves around empathy, creativity, and collaboration. It encourages a deep understanding of users' perspectives, challenges, and aspirations, allowing marketers to gain valuable insights into their target audience. By empathizing with users, marketers can uncover unmet needs and identify opportunities for improvement.

The design thinking process typically involves five key stages:

  • Empathize: This stage involves researching and understanding the target audience's needs, motivations, and pain points. It often includes conducting interviews, observations, and surveys to gain insights into users' experiences.
  • Define: In this stage, marketers synthesize the information gathered during the empathize phase to define the core problem or challenge they aim to address. It involves reframing the problem statement to ensure a clear focus on the user's perspective.
  • Ideate: Here, marketers generate many ideas and potential solutions. Brainstorming sessions, ideation workshops, and other creative techniques encourage free thinking and generate innovative concepts.
  • Prototype: In this stage, marketers create low-fidelity prototypes or representations of their ideas. Prototypes can be physical or digital and serve as a tangible way to test and gather feedback on the proposed solutions.
  • Test: The final stage involves testing the prototypes with users and gathering their feedback. This iterative process helps refine and improve the solutions based on real-world insights. Marketers learn from user feedback and continue iterating until they arrive at an effective and user-centric solution.

Design thinking encourages an iterative and collaborative problem-solving approach, allowing marketers to challenge assumptions, explore multiple perspectives, and ultimately arrive at innovative and impactful marketing strategies. By putting the user at the center of the process, design thinking helps marketers create solutions that truly resonate with their target audience.

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How to Use Design Thinking to Solve Marketing Problems

Empathize with your target audience

One of the fundamental principles of design thinking is empathizing with your target audience. To solve marketing problems effectively, it is crucial to deeply understand your customers' needs, motivations, and pain points.

Take the time to conduct thorough research, engage in qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, and immerse yourself in your customers' world. This could involve conducting interviews, surveys, observations, or even creating customer personas to understand their demographics and psychographics better.

In line with this, Rolljak has Rolljak Signatures, a set of templates adopted from design thinking methods. One such template is The Emphatiser, which, as the name suggests, encourages participants to practice empathy to design better solutions.

Participants can enjoy The Emphatiser with just 3 simple steps:

Step 1: Design a solution for a target user's needs

Step 2: Add to peers’ ideas

Step 3: Rate how impactful, clear, & marketable the ideas are

Watch this video to see how to use Rolljak's Signature Activities!


Reframe the problem

Once you have gained a deep understanding of your target audience, the next step is to reframe the marketing problem or challenge from their perspective. Design thinking encourages marketers to look beyond the symptoms of a problem and identify the underlying causes.

By reframing the problem, you can uncover hidden opportunities and generate innovative ideas that address your customers' core needs.

For example, if your initial problem statement is "How can we increase website traffic?" you might reframe it to "How can we create a more engaging online experience that attracts and retains visitors?"

This reframing process broadens the scope of exploration and encourages you to consider alternative approaches to tackle the challenge. It allows you to align your marketing efforts with your customers' true needs and identify unique solutions that differentiate you from the competition.

Encourage creative ideation

Design thinking is a powerful approach to solving marketing problems, and one effective way to encourage creative ideation is by utilizing tools like Rolljak. The process begins by thoroughly understanding the specific marketing challenge, considering factors such as target audience, market dynamics, and existing obstacles.

Next, empathy plays a key role as marketers strive to put themselves in the shoes of their audience, gaining insights into their needs, desires, and motivations. Armed with this understanding, the ideation phase takes center stage, where Rolljak comes into play.

This innovative tool provides a platform for collaborative brainstorming and idea generation. Its intuitive interface enables marketers to engage in various brainstorming techniques, such as mind mapping, storyboarding, and visual exploration.

By leveraging Rolljak, teams can tap into their collective creativity and generate a wide range of ideas to address the marketing problem. This fosters an environment that encourages participation and diversity of thought, ultimately leading to innovative and effective solutions.

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Prototype and iterate

Design thinking emphasizes the importance of prototyping ideas and solutions. Prototyping allows you to visualize and test your marketing concepts tangibly and iteratively. Create low-fidelity prototypes representing your ideas, such as mock-ups, sketches, or interactive wireframes.

Prototyping serves multiple purposes. First, it helps you communicate your ideas more effectively to stakeholders, enabling them to visualize the potential outcome. Second, it allows you to gather feedback from your target audience or colleagues at an early stage. Their input provides valuable insights and helps identify areas for improvement.

Through iterative cycles of prototyping and feedback, you can refine your ideas and enhance the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Embrace an iterative mindset, continuously seeking feedback and incorporating learnings into subsequent iterations. This iterative process minimizes the risk of investing significant resources into ideas that may not resonate with your audience.

Test and validate

The final step in using design thinking to solve marketing problems is to test and validate your refined solutions. Testing provides you with real-world feedback and data to evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategies, allowing you to make data-driven decisions and further refine your approaches.

Develop a testing plan that outlines the key metrics, targets, and success criteria you will use to evaluate your marketing solutions. Implement your refined strategies on a smaller scale or in a controlled environment to assess their impact. Leverage A/B testing or split testing methodologies to compare different versions or variations of your marketing campaigns, messages, or user experiences.

Collect and analyze the data generated during testing, considering quantitative and qualitative insights. Look for patterns, trends, and user feedback to guide your decision-making process. By incorporating user feedback, you can identify areas for improvement, uncover unforeseen challenges, and gain a deeper understanding of how your target audience responds to your marketing strategies.


Design thinking offers marketers a customer-centric and innovative framework for solving complex marketing problems. Marketers can develop effective strategies that resonate with their audience by empathizing with customers, reframing the problem, encouraging creative ideation, prototyping, and iterative testing.

Design thinking fosters collaboration, thought diversity, and a continuous improvement culture. It enables marketers to uncover unique insights, challenge assumptions, and create solutions addressing customers’ needs. By embracing design thinking, marketers can navigate the ever-changing business landscape and drive meaningful results.

So, whether you're a seasoned marketer or starting, consider integrating design thinking into your approach. Unlock your creativity, empathize with your customers, and design marketing solutions that make a lasting impact. Embrace design thinking and revolutionize your marketing strategy.