Integration of Design and Marketing in Higher Education

A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Arts
School of Journalism and Mass Communication 1992

Evidence presented here strongly suggests that there is a need for a design management function in business. Design, in its various forms (product, environmental, information and corporate identity), is a powerful tool that should be used in every area of an organization's operations to provide a strategic competitive advantage and to achieve corporate objectives. Recognizing the need for more and better design work, a two-way education process must occur. Marketers must develop an understanding of the design process and designers must develop an understanding of the marketing process. Higher education, in both design and marketing, could play an important part in creating awareness and understanding of the potential of the integration of these two disciplines.

This study attempts to determine what progress, if any, higher education has made (in both design and marketing) in the emerging field of design management Integrated design and management education is defined as business school programs that include design-related courses and design school programs that include marketing courses. Included in this determination is the definition of a set of curriculum criteria (for both business and design) that should be used in the integrated education of designers and managers.

The course offerings catalogs of three top graduate business school programs and three top design school undergraduate programs were analyzed and compared in context of a design management curriculum. Findings show some evidence of integration of design and management in higher education; however it is minimal. Design schools appear to be taking the lead in developing this area.

Future research in this area should include identifying common management elements across design disciplines, defining subject areas and developing quantitative design decision-making models. 


Chapter I -- Introduction

The marketing concept became widely accepted as the right way to do business in the early 1960s when Harvard Business School professor Theodore ''Ted'' Levitt published an essay entitled "Marketing Myopia" in the Harvard Business Review. The marketing concept has been a hot topic ever since. Many executives consider the marketing concept gospel and Ted Levitt a prophet. The truth, however unfortunate for consumers, is that few companies practice marketing in the sense that Levitt championed. Many executives still confuse total marketing with basic selling. As Levitt (1975) pointed out, "Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about Marketing ... views the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse and satisfy customer needs." (p.194)

As competition gets tougher on the marketing battlegrounds of price and technology, design becomes a particularly important element in strategic marketing planning. Harvard Business School professor Robert Hayes said, "Fifteen years ago companies competed on price. Today it's quality. Tomorrow it's design" (Dumaine, 1991, p.86). ''Design reinforces the consensus that exchange forms the central phenomenon for marketing study by initiating a visual exchange system and by considering the aesthetics of a company or of an innovation as a set of controllable variables" (Borja de Mozota, 1990, p. 74).

Proponents of design as an integral part of marketing strategy say it helps to create "value-added" products for the consumer, increase the worth of a company and its products via corporate identity, reduce cost in production, and sell products more effectively through differentiation.

Design issues force a company to focus on the consumers' wants and needs and the product's ability to satisfy them, instead of on the processes within the organization.
The objective of using design as a strategic marketing tool is to create total satisfaction for the consumer, and in turn, profits for the company. Total satisfaction is accomplished by communicating information about products, services and organizations to consumers, suppliers, employees and shareholders through product design, information design, environment design and corporate identity design. As will be discussed later, information is the most important component of products and services, and communicating this information to consumers is vital to marketing success.

Design and marketing complement each other; however, antagonism exists between designers and marketers. Patrick Coyne, editor of Communication Arts magazine, says, "There has been an ongoing complaint by designers that they are not involved early enough in the decision making phase of most projects, or in the greater role of helping businesses to strategically position themselves for the future" (May I June, 1992, p. 18). Designers also complain that marketing executives are too concerned with numbers and forget that consumers react to products emotionally as well as logically. Brian Dumaine (1991) writes that "Managers typically fail to give designers enough authority to be effective, or, worse, they look upon design as pure aesthetics, a matter of simply dolling up a product long after it has been engineered .... Good design addresses the consumer's every concern - how a product works, how it feels in the hand, how easy it is to assemble and fix, and even, in this era of environmental concern, whether it can be recycled." (p. 86)

Management has a different view of things. Brian Dumaine (1991) writes in a Fortune magazine article on competition, "Engineers and manufacturers believe that designers don't have the technical knowledge to be of much use. Marketers see designers as blue-sky creative types, more concerned in winning awards than in making a product that sells" (p. 94).

These are stereotypes, although they may have some basis in reality. It remains that companies as diverse as Ford, IBM (Olins, 1985) and Sony (Lorenz, 1986) have achieved significant commercial success through their organization-wide use of design as a strategic marketing tool.

Design is critical to consumer satisfaction and corporate success. If marketing and design people understood and valued each others methods, intentions and processes more clearly, then corporations and consumers would both benefit. Marketers and designers must learn to appreciate and respect each other's skills and realize they can achieve greater success through cooperation than through opposition. Higher education is where this alliance could be forged. It remains to be seen whether it will be or not.

The essence of this research project is to investigate design as a critical component of marketing - a tightly integrated process involving discovery, creativity, arousal and satisfaction as prescribed by Levitt. Design, in and of itself, is not new. However, many marketing executives are not familiar with, or even aware of, the full potential of design. Designers are often not familiar with marketing strategy and the role that design plays in strategic planning and positioning.

Higher education, in both design and marketing, could be an important player in creating awareness and understanding of the powerful potential of the integration of these two disciplines. The primary question this thesis will examine is: what is higher education, in both design and marketing, currently doing in the emerging field of design management?