Embracing Design Thinking to Improve the Customer Experience

Embracing Design Thinking to Improve the Customer Experience

For years, marketing professionals have advised companies to understand and focus on the target market. The familiar elements in consumer segmentation include determining geographic, demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics to create messaging to identify ways to reach a specific audience.

Often, organizations paint a picture to create personas that capture their ideal customers’ personalities, values, attitudes, and beliefs. In conjunction with this process, organizations are implementing Design Thinking, which promotes empathy within a human-centered approach to increase engagement and customer experience. We will share the benefits of embracing Design Thinking in your marketing strategy.

This method has become increasingly popular in solving business problems in digital marketing, healthcare, engineering, education, and many other industries in recent years. Design thinking can help you understand your customers’ needs, craft innovative solutions for their real problems, and be more empathetic. This results in a more positive customer experience, which directly impacts brand preference, loyalty, and sales growth.

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking is one of the numerous tools that help marketers or specific service creators solve complex human-related problems. With this method, they explore alternative solutions and strategies that may need clarification when starting a collaboration with a user.

Design thinking contributes to developing a deep interest in understanding the people for whom products and services are designed and finding unique ways to engage and reach new customers. The process allows marketers to look at problems, assumptions, and implications differently and focus on empathy.

It can also help reframe ill-defined or unclear problems using human-centric perspectives while at the same time generating a wealth of ideas that cater to consumers’ desires and applying a hands-on approach during prototyping and testing phases. In other words, it is a creative approach to solving problems that keep the end-user/human at the center of the process.

5 Phases of Design Thinking

Now that we know what design thinking is and why it can be beneficial to you, we will discuss how it can be applied. Adhering to the following principles will help you solve real problems for real people.


There is no better way of approaching and understanding your customers than stepping into their shoes. Therefore, asking specific questions during this phase is essential — for instance: “What are my clients’ problems?”, “Why would they opt for my product to solve their issues?” or “How can they find me?”

This way, you can learn about your client’s pain points and run campaigns targeting them. Moreover, one research has found that 62% of customers approve of content marketing addressing their pain points. This means they probably won’t have anything against your ad if you empathize with them and try to get inside their minds.

You can accomplish this by speaking with them, observing them, and letting go of preconceptions. Many techniques, such as user observation, task analysis, interviews, and empathy mapping, can assist you in your research.


Once you have completed phase one and learned how to think from your client’s perspective, you must define their problem. One thing that can help you with this is laying all your findings out in the open and looking at them immediately. You can use sticky notes, whiteboards, or anything that may help you get a broader picture.

For instance, imagine you are dealing with a website with high traffic and fair prices but a low conversion rate. Your focus should, therefore, be only on how to improve this aspect. It would be best to consider enhancing the website copy, making the CTAs more appealing, or optimizing the page.


Now that you have determined the problem, it’s time to be creative and find a solution. You can do it by brainstorming, asking for advice, or even hiring a focus group to help you. This is the ideation phase, where you can collect all the ideas that come to your mind and write them down.

If we consider the example above with a website that, for instance, requires the alteration of the CTA button, one approach can be to change its text, another to change its size, and so on.


After the brainstorming session, it’s time to pick the best option by making a prototype. This step aims to create a working version of your solution that you can later test. Prototypes can be hand-sketched or detailed, interactive, static, single-page, or multi-page. Your prototype doesn’t have to be elaborate. If done correctly, the first version will be iterated upon after testing.


The next step is to test your prototype for a real audience. Don’t be upset if you fail; it is part of the process and can help you learn some lessons and improve your next solution. Test both small and big changes. Collect feedback and reviews because the data will give you valuable insights.

Since design thinking is an iterative process, these insights will help determine which stage to move on to. It may be necessary to empathize again or create a new prototype.

Tips to Help Marketers Use Design Thinking

As the world continues to evolve rapidly, adopting the innovation framework is logical to stay competitive. Here are some ways you can use design thinking to get better results.

Talk to Customers to Gain New and Critical Insights

A successful marketing campaign requires knowing your audience’s motivations, understanding their lives, and learning about their dreams and hopes. Thus, shifting your focus from products and services to customer experience would be best.

However, it’s not easy to reach people personally; asking them what they want is not enough. On top of that, potential prospects will quickly disengage if they are not approached in the way they expect to be.

So, what should be done? First and foremost, uncovering your client’s pain points is necessary — even before any brainstorming, you should employ empathy to determine their issues. Another thing that would provide much insight is talking to extreme users and former loyal customers or checking the reviews of the competition to find out what people don’t like about their products/services.

Once the client’s pain points are established, the next phase is to be creative and generate as many ideas as possible to find solutions. Customers, experts, and anyone related to the product can help you accomplish this step.

Put a Team Together

Design thinking requires assembling a team with diverse perspectives, backgrounds, approaches, and expertise to create the best solutions and achieve the expected results. Since typical teams generate solutions and keep innovation away, you must gather an unconventional team to get unexpected and novel results. It has to be modern and cross-functional, including marketing, IT, and design specialists working toward a common goal.

With a team of about three to six people, brainstorming ideas for solutions becomes much more productive. Each person can bring thoughts and perspectives that are unique to their own experience.

Since content helps engage and attract clients and enhances the overall user experience, one or a few team members must be solely responsible for content creation. This means designing infographics, shooting, and editing videos, writing blogs and articles, and more. Another team must take care of effective customer acquisition and be in charge of generating leads, front-end sales, and traffic. A bond with customers is essential for achieving this goal. Finally, a part of your team should deal with monetization or turning leads into clients.


Design thinking can help you develop innovative solutions that meet your client’s needs. You can keep up with their expectations and understand their lives and motivations by putting yourself in their shoes. This can later assist you in creating products and services that will target their pain points. Simultaneously, you can take your marketing strategies to the next level.