Mention "marketing" to most design professionals and their thoughts turn to bloated ad campaigns based on broad conclusions drawn from dated demographic research. Marketing has been perceived as manipulative, pushy and greasy. It's that breathless, in-your-face infomercial or the annoying guy calling you at dinner. Some traditional marketers have given the craft of marketing a bad name.
But a new strain of marketing is less about manipulation and deception, and more about two-way conversations, transparency and personalization. It's about building something that people actually want to use, or writing a blog post that 200 people comment on.
The old mindset has been that designers craft the product & marketers peddle the product. Today, effective marketers and designers both build loyalty, trust, perceived credibility and meaningful experiences. This directly affects profitability, retention, satisfaction and word-of-mouth recommendations.
As designers venture further into creating evocative experiences, the line between design and marketing blurs even more. Now great marketing - and, yes, there is such a thing! - comes from truly understanding who your users/customers are and what they want/need to do. Throw in deep understanding of their emotional triggers and cognitive expectations and "marketing research" starts to sound a lot like design research.
We remember the TV ads that make us cry - marketers count on that. But designers know that products that deliver a compelling and elegant experience stand out from the crowd because they evoke and sustain emotion from the user. Great marketing, like great design, goes for our hearts as well as our heads.