S1 • E1 – Jul 01, 2020

Inside Marketing Design at ConvertKit

with Marketing Design Lead Charli Marie Prangley

with Marketing Design Leads Charli Marie Prangley and

with Marketing Design Lead Charli Marie Prangley and

Kicking off the series with a solo episode about my work as the sole marketing designer at ConvertKit – a remote tech company making email marketing software for creators. Hear about how I run web projects, the challenges I face in my role and our approach to marketing.


0:45 - Why I created this series & what to expect

02:05 - About ConvertKit & the team

05:00 - My marketing design responsibilities

10:50 - Design and project management tools

13:10 - The process for working on a web project

24:35 - Performance & success metrics

28:30 – Challenges I face in my role

33:15 - Areas of growth

34:30 - The impact of marketing design at ConvertKit

35:50 - What I love about my job


Welcome to the start of a brand new series. This is Inside Marketing Design. And in each episode, I'll be giving you an inside look into how marketing design works at various different tech companies. If we haven't met before then, hi, I'm Charli. I am Marketing Design Lead at ConvertKit, which is a remote tech company making email marketing software for creators. And I thought I would kick off episode one with the thing I know best. And that is how marketing design works at ConvertKit.

I'm gonna be telling you about what role marketing design plays within our company. The types of projects that I work on, the process that I use to get work done. And in future episodes, I'll be getting on calls with my peers in the industry with marketing designers working at other companies and hearing how things work for them. I think it's gonna be really interesting to hear about the similarities and the differences and that we're all gonna learn a lot.

I wanted to create this series because there is so much design content out there that's focused on product design, UI, UX, even freelancing. There's a lot out there for that, but as marketing designers, there's just not so much for us. I wanna learn from my fellow marketing designers and be seeing more marketing design-related content. And so that's what we're gonna get into.

We're gonna dig deep into this marketing design niche in this series. Inside Marketing Design is available in both audio and video form, video on my YouTube channel, youtube.com/CharlimarieTV and audio in, well, hopefully whatever podcasting app you use, search for Inside Marketing Design on there and subscribe to it. But you can also get links to all of the episodes on InsideMarketingDesign.co

All right, with all that said, let's get into the details of today's episode. Like I said, we are gonna be digging deep in these episodes. We're gonna be talking in detail about processes, about company structure and tools and all of that nitty gritty marketing in detail. So let me tell you about how marketing design works at ConvertKit.

First off, a little about the company itself. We are a fairly small tech company. There's about 53, something like that, people on the team at the moment, and we do have a goal to keep the team as small as possible. So that's been growing very slowly over the three years that I've been there. Like I said before, we make email marketing software for creators, and it was that target audience that really drew me to wanting to work at the company in the first place. I'm a creator myself. I've got a YouTube channel, got a podcast, those types of things, and so I was excited about the opportunity to design for that audience and it has been really fun.

We are fully remote. So the company is based in the U.S., but we don't actually have a headquarters or like an office anywhere. Everybody works from home, fully distributed. Most of the team are in the U.S. because the company is based there, but I'm over here in Europe, and there's a few other people on the team based in Europe as well.

In terms of the makeup of the team, I am the only marketing designer on the team. We do have three product designers. And then Nathan, our CEO is a designer himself as well. He has a design background, so he'll step into design for the product every now and then too. But yeah, I'm the only one handling design from the marketing side.

I sit within the marketing team. So my manager is the director of marketing just in terms of the org structure of the company.

We don't have an official design team, like there's no head of design or anything like that, running a design team, but all of us designers in the company do gather together as a design team, quote-unquote every two weeks for a design meeting where we discuss, like, I don't know any design topics that need to be talked about to do with our brand design system, whatever. And that's also a time when we can ask for feedback from each other as well. So that's really helpful, but yeah, really, I am part of the marketing team and that is where the marketing design role sits at ConvertKit.

Because we have this like company value, like I said before over keeping the team small, we really do lean on outsourcing for projects every now and then, like working with freelancers. We're not afraid to do that. That's been quite different from me. I haven't had that experience at other companies. Previous places I've worked, if there was like a need arose within the company, they would hire to fill it. But at ConvertKit we try and see what we can do to increase our capacity whether it's working with a freelancer, improving our processes or whatever, to be more efficient before we decide that we need an actual person to fill this role on the full-time team.

So we work with freelancers on the marketing side, there's a graphic designer who works for us part-time on a freelance basis, which is really helpful. I'll go into more details of how that works and how that fits in with my role later on. But yeah, I suppose that is extra capacity in the marketing design space within the team with this part time graphic designer. So that's a little bit about the team and how we divide up the work that gets done.

In terms of my responsibilities as the marketing design lead, as the name suggests, I lead the marketing design efforts at ConvertKit. So the lead in my title isn't at the stage, like a people management type of leadership. It's more like project management, but yeah, I'm responsible for the design of anything that's not the product, basically. So we're talking the marketing website, any sort of branded assets and imagery, things for events, all of that is stuff that I am responsible for. It doesn't mean that I need to be the one designing it 'cause like I said, we have this part-time graphic designer, Hollie, who handles a lot of the imagery needs, which frees me up to work on the website, which I really love.

I love having that capacity, but it is still my responsibility to coordinate getting all that stuff done if that makes sense. And because my manager is not a design manager, but he's the director of marketing for the company. So, you're not handling all of the marketing efforts that means that it's really my responsibility to be checking things are on brand, that they're setting the standard for the level of quality we want to meet with our design efforts, and that I'm not having my work like design approved as such.

I'm obviously getting feedback from the team on everything that I do and like getting final sign off on the information, et cetera. I am responsible for making sure things are on brand at ConvertKit and that they are at the level of quality that we want to have happen.

Because we're a small team that also means that I end up doing not just design work. Like I said, I do project management stuff as well, I lead our site squad. So we break our teams up into squads for various content areas, I suppose, is the way to describe it. Within the marketing team, we have a content squad who handles the production of all of our content that we put, we have the affiliate squad, which handles our affiliate marketing needs, a data squad and we have the site squad, which at this stage is just myself, and a front end developer Cory.

Before Cory joined the team about like little over a year ago, I was also responsible for coding everything on marketing site. But I'm very grateful that we decided that there was a need there to hire a front end developer full-time so that I could focus on the design stuff because yeah, before that I was splitting my time between designing, and then also bringing my designs to life through code.

So I lead the site squad, which means I am managing projects that we're doing on our marketing website. I'm also the one who does all my own like user research. We don't have a separate researcher on the team or anything like that so I'm doing research and running AB tests as well. 'Cause one of the main metrics that I'm responsible for within the business is our website conversion rate. So that's what I'm thinking about and what I'm always trying to improve.

All right, let's talk about what the marketing team at ConvertKit focuses on 'cause obviously what the marketing team focuses on ends up being what I focus my work on. We're very digital at ConvertKit. I would guess that's the same case for the majority of tech companies, I suppose we'll find out in this series, it's very rare for me to have to design print stuff.

There is the odd occasion where like we run a conference as a company once a year and sometimes we'll have a sponsored booth at other conferences. So, might be print stuff to do with that, like a flyer or a stand or something, but for the most part, it's digital so the work is designing improvements to our website, whether it's a new page or an improvement on an existing page or it's creating imagery to promote the various content and like an online workshops we're putting out. Like I mentioned before, we have a graphic designer, Holly who handles most of the imagery needs now, which is cool. So she does most of that stuff. And I mostly focus my time, my design time anyway on the website.

As a marketing team at ConvertKit, we're very good at creating content, and where we're trying to improve is in promoting that content. We put a lot of time and effort into making things. And then like once it's done, we just wanna go ahead and make the next thing. But obviously the job of marketing team, part of it is to be promoting this stuff that you're making obviously. And so that's like, yeah, an area that we're working on right now, we're trying to do less one-off things and create more systems in place and be reusing assets so that as a small team, our efforts are going further.

We'll run promotions that the whole team works on. Like we've done Cyber Monday for the past few years. And we run challenges where it's like 30 days to build landing page and get subscribers, and you can win prizes based on that. That sort of thing is always really fun to work on bringing the whole team together. We also just, like I said, producing really great content. So we have someone on the marketing team who is a full-time storyteller, where she's interviewing people who use ConvertKit and telling their stories about their businesses, their lives. And it's like, obviously the point is to promote ConvertKit but sometimes the stories don't even mention ConvertKit. We're kind of playing the long game there with just wanting to produce really high quality early stuff and get it out there. And that's like what we wanna be known for.

So, yeah, I love that attitude towards things. I love being a part of that 'cause it really helps me to set a high standard for my designs as well. I mentioned AB testing before, but that is a huge focus for us as a team as well, because we are a small team. There's eight people on the marketing team. No one's role is duplicated either, everyone is responsible for a separate area of marketing or a different skillset.

We do a lot of testing because of that, 'cause we wanna make sure that our efforts are... like we're maximizing our efforts. So we have in the past used a tool called NorthStar where we'll set a goal of like improving the site conversion rate, for example, and everyone is adding to this tool their ideas for improving the website conversion rate. Then we try them out, measure them, see what works, and then we know what to like double down on. So I really like that way of working as well. It's really fun and it helps us like learn things about where to focus our efforts.

Since I mentioned NorthStar, let's very quickly touch on some more tools that are a part of our process before we get into the details of getting a project done, which is what I'm gonna talk about next. So the design software that we use at ConvertKit is Figma. We switched from Sketch a couple of years ago, and we really love Figma because it's collaborative, and Figma kind of acts as our file storage system as well 'cause all the designers are in Figma and we can just see everyone else's projects in there.

I personally use Dropbox to store my own files, but we also have like Google Drive as a company for accessing documents and things like that. I think in future, if our team grows, we're gonna need more of like a collaborative design team file storage system to be able easily access assets and things like that. But right now because of Figma, everything is in there as a component and we can all access things. Everyone else in the company can access all of our branded assets through our website. Even like anyone in the world could actually convert to our concept brand. They can all their logos and some imagery and things like that. So yeah, there hasn't been seen a need yet for a team-wide design file storage system outside of Figma, but I have a feeling that will arise. And I also have a feeling maybe that might shock some people listening. I don't know. Let me know if you think that's weird that we don't all have access to each other's like saved assets, I suppose.

I do also still use the Adobe Suite for a lot of things, definitely for any sort of print design but also for creating assets here and there too. Like recently I've been working in after effects to create some animated things to go on our website and some product gifts, that sort of thing. So that definitely still gets use.

Our marketing website is built on WordPress and we use a Bootstrap framework on it. We mostly used to use the grid and like structure system from Bootstrap though, not so much like the button system and all the other components.

Then of course, because we're a remote company, we use Slack for communication, Basecamp for project management, Zoom for video calls. And I've also been using a tool called Ping Pong for remote user interviews that I do with creators to get their thoughts on our website. Well, I don't know if that was interesting or not, or if that was just me naming a bunch of tools in a row, but that's sort of the setup that we work with.

Let's talk about the process now, because this is honestly the part that I'm most excited to learn about from other people. And so I wanna share in detail what it looks like to get work done on a marketing design project at ConvertKit. If it's a smaller project, like if someone says, hey, I need an image for this social media profile or to give to this conference, put in their booklet or whatever. Sometimes I'll do it, but for the most part now that we have Hollie working part-time for us on a freelance basis, I send that over to her to get done.

We do have like a form that people in the company can fill out when they have a smaller need like that. But honestly it hasn't had much use yet. I haven't done a very good job of instituting that as part of the process. So for the most part, it just comes from someone tagging me in Slack or in Basecamp being like, "Hey, can you do this for me?" And I'll handle it from there. I do think there needs some more structure and some more automation to it, but yeah.

Let's focus on talking about a bigger project though 'cause I feel like that's just the work that I enjoy doing more. So that's one of our focus talking about. A bigger project for me is usually a new one webpage or an update or overhaul of an existing page on our site. Sometimes it might be like a whole micro-site for example, our conference is a separate website, but for the sake of this example, let's talk about a new page on the marketing site.

These usually come about when someone at the company spots like a need or an area of opportunity for an improvement, or sometimes it's something that I just see as well through my research that I'm doing or improvements that I want to make. It might be, for example, we're launching a new feature as part of our product so we need a new feature page for it. Maybe like at the moment I'm working on a redesign of our homepage to fit with the new direction we're going in for brand advertising. Or maybe for example, I would have been doing a bunch of user research and been hearing from people that there's these like hiccups on our pricing page that are stopping them from going further. And so I wanna redesign the pricing page to work on improving that.

There's not like a formal briefing process where it's like, okay, formal brief submitted, Charli this is what you're gonna be working on. I like this way of working. I like that it feels more like the need arises as a company and we will just start moving that direction and start going there rather than me having to be asked what to do and also like having the freedom to choose my own projects or see, I think this needs to be done. And that I have the trust in the leadership at our company to go ahead and do that.

However, the project has arisen once we've decided we're working on it. What usually happens first is a conversation we talk about what needs to happen with this page? Like why are we needing it? What sort of information do we need to express on it?

I actually really love redesigning an existing page. It's one of my favorite things about being an in-house designer, because then I can look back at the data that we have on the existing page and be like, okay, this is how it's working. And these are some like areas of things we can improve. So that's always really fun.

So from a conversation which will happen either asynchronously in Basecamp or over a video call, I'll then sort of synthesize and not really write a brief as such but more make some notes about what I think the page needs to do. And from there, I'll start to think about what content would go on the page. And by content, I do not mean the copy. I don't mean the exact words that will end up on the page. We have a very talented writer on our team who will write the marketing pages, but often I'll kick off a project by thinking about the content that used to go on the page.

So for example, we need to talk about this part of our landing pages feature. And then maybe we should go into talking about this part. These four points really need to express that sort of thing. That's what I mean by content. So I'm not writing the copy, but I'm figuring out in general what we're gonna talk about. Sometimes that comes from other people, but usually I'm the one synthesizing that from a conversation that I've had. And from there I go ahead and create a wire frame based on the content.

Maybe it's because I'm the only marketing designer, maybe it's because we're remote or I don't know just the way that we do things, but I would say the process is collaborative, but we also, like, if you think about approach as two lines of me being one line, the rest of the team being another, they sort of come together and then go apart again throughout a project. So when I'm in the wire framing stage, I'm just on my own doing wire framing, and I'll only really share it with the team when I'm ready for feedback.

When I'm at a stage where I'm like, I need some help or maybe I'm pretty happy with this and I need approval from you. If you think it's the right idea for me to go forward with. I really like to only ask for feedback when I need. So because we don't have regular design reviews or anything like that, like other companies might do, I can really choose when I want to share. And even though we have our design team meetings every two weeks, I might not share something every two weeks for feedback 'cause I only wanna share when I feel like I'm ready to receive that feedback and when I need it, 'cause if there's still things that I could be doing myself, I don't wanna waste people's time by asking for feedback too early.

So after I've wire framed and I'm ready for feedback, I share it with the team. I do this usually by uploading the design to Invision and leaving some tore points and comments about it. We do that instead of getting on a call and me presenting it as such 'cause then everyone can digest in their own time and also like use Invision to leave comments as well with their own thoughts. And at this stage, what I'm asking people for is their thoughts on the structure of the page 'cause like I said, there hasn't been a formal brief or anything like that happen.

So this is the first time that people are really seeing in detail, the content areas that I've put on the page and the amount of space approximately I've left for each point. So this is a time when say our writer or maybe the project manager can say, "Hey, you've left out this point." Or, "I don't think this is gonna be enough room "to talk about everything we need to say "about this particular feature "so that needs some rethinking." Or, "Maybe this is actually more important, "at least we move up the hierarchy." That's the sort of feedback that I'm looking for at this point.

So once I've got the feedback from the team on the structure of the page, and we're kind of happy with the direction that it's going in, that is when usually our copywriter, Dani will start to work on the exact copy for the page. And meanwhile, I'll be off like, think about lines splitting apart again. I'll be off doing the design side of things.

I tend to share with Dani and also with Cory the developer much more often during the process, basically showing them things, being like, hey, I think I'm thinking about changing this up so that changes the amount of space you have to write. Is this gonna fit, do you think? So that's kind of a more, more regular in contact and like feedback cycle with those two people during a project, I often share with the other designers as well, along the way, especially in this more visual design phase, that's what I call it. I would love to know if anyone has a better word for this of project 'cause I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, but I don't know if that's the best way to describe it. But yeah, in this phase I am likely to show the other designers a screenshot of like a certain element that I'm working on to get their thoughts, like some quick thoughts along the way.

And when Dani finishes the copy, she'll share it with me and I'll edit into the design obviously. And that's when you usually I'll share with the wider team for like a final feedback-ish stage depending on how complex the project has been. There's no informal like sign off on, okay, this page is ready to go, but I'll always wanna ensure that the person who requested the page is happy with it. So say it's a page about our affiliate program that was requested by our affiliate manager. I wanna make sure that I get her feedback before we call it done and go into the build phase. Also always want the opinion of the director of marketing, my manager, my boss, but usually for the most part, he trusts my opinion on things. And like by this stage, because he's been involved in giving feedback in earlier rounds. I already know he's happy with the direction and that where we're going.

But once everyone's happy though, that's when I'll prepare a page for build, I don't do any red lining or that sort of thing. What preparing a page for build looks like for me is making sure I put just the final file into a separate page and figure out because as I design, if you've watched my videos before and watch some of my design videos, you will have seen the many, many canvases and frames that I end up with for a project with many different iterations. So wanna make sure that it's clear for Cory, which exact design is meant to be building. So I put that into a separate page.

I'll also write up a GitHub issue with any particular notes about the page of functionality that needs to have referencing any, I don't know any other pages on the site, we've done something similar in the past. 'Cause I know our site very well being the one who worked on it and like did the coding for it for three years. So it's, I don't know, it's just helpful if I can point that out. I'll also export any assets that need exporting and share a link to a Dropbox folder with him. But yeah, because I'm sharing the Figma file is the main way he's getting the design. I just do not see the need for me to mark up 20 pixel space between this thing. He can use Figma to very easily, check that for himself. And so I think that just saves everyone's time.

My time is better spent on moving onto the next project than it is on detailing every little thing in the design when it's just as easy for Cory to click on it and see it for himself. Again, there might be a controversial thing. I don't know if that's the same case in other teams, we're gonna find out on this series.

So Cory has all that info. We have a standup meeting as a site squad at the start and the end of every week so we'll talk about it in one of those as well, just to make sure that he doesn't have any questions and is clear on what needs to happen. He'll go ahead and build and he'll share with me for feedback when he gets to a point when he needs it.

How I give them feedback is by taking screenshots of the page, using the Chrome plugin, what is it called? Full page screenshot or something like that. And then I'll add that to Invision and leave my comments in line. So it's clear for him, which parts need some tweaking. Then once he's fixed those and he feels like it's kind of almost ready to go. We'll share it with the wider team, get them to look at it, poke around the site and check for any bugs because as I said before, small team, we don't have a separate QA role on the marketing team to be checking for these. So it's like everyone's job, but especially me and Cory's.

Once a project is shipped too usually I will submit a data request to our data team. So they have like a handy form that I can fill out where I'm like, I wanna know what's happening on the pricing page? I wanna know this, this, this, and this thing, this metric, let's keep an eye on that and they'll put together a dashboard for me to measure that. So that is kind of an overview of the process of getting some work done at ConvertKit. It's very collaborative in the way that like anyone and everyone has the opportunity to get feedback or to have input work on a project. But it's also independent in a way that I'm just trusted and like left to get the work done, unless it's a marketing team wide promotion that I'm building something for, does anything for.

As well usually I'm setting my own deadlines too, and I'll do this all in collaboration with my manager, but yeah, for the most part, there's a lot of independence there, which really suits me. But I know also probably, maybe it wouldn't be right for a lot of other people.

Let's move on now and talk about performance, and both how a project is measured. Like how do we know if a project has been successful? But also my work as the marketing designer, how my performance is evaluated. So as a company, at ConvertKit, we use an OKR system for getting things done for setting goals that stands for objectives and key results. If you haven't used that before in a different company. If you're interested in this, I would highly recommend reading the book, "Measure What Matters." I'll leave a link in the show notes in the description if you're interested in that, but that really goes into the whole OKR setting process and like why it helps the business, so and so.

So every year as a company, we have OKR sets, which is set by the director's team, our leadership team. Then every quarter, each individual team will set team-wide OKR. So we have marketing team Q2, OKRs, these are set by our director, but we also have an opportunity to give input to them to get feedback. So that's really great that it's collaborative in that way. And then as an individual, we then set out own OKRs based on what we can do to contribute to the team ones. If you're following me So I will look at our marketing team objectives and think about how my design work and like what I can do on our marketing site especially to help towards that. And that from there is kind of sets what projects I'll be working on from the quarter.

We like to aim high with these. And we like to say that achieving a 100% of an objective or key result is meant to be the stretch goal, but if you'd only achieved 80% of it, then that's okay too. So for example, if I said I wanted to interview 10 creators and get their thoughts on the marketing site, but I only got to eight, that will be okay because 10 was a stretch goal.

Performance reviews are more of a discussion about where you're at in your career and your role and what you're doing to progress and be moved to the next level. More of like a long-term growth conversation as well, of course, as any like issues that have arisen in your work being brought up as well. But honestly I feel like performance reviewing at ConvertKit isn't a big scary thing, like it perhaps has been for me at other companies because every two weeks I have a one-on-one with my manager and that's always a chance to discuss performance. Like I trust that if there is an issue, he will bring it up with me in one of those meetings. And so a performance review is never really a surprise. It's more of like just formalizing the discussion and the performance reviewing process.

We have standardized salaries at ConvertKit. I don't know if perhaps you might've seen my video that I did about that. I shared all of the salaries for the five levels of the web design role at the company. Right now I'm at a level four web designer, I was moved up last year from a level three. So around that time, my performance reviews were all focused on talking about how I can move up to this next level, what skills I need to be demonstrating that sort of thing in order to get that promotion. So yeah, that's what the purpose of performance reviews, I suppose, at the company.

As for projects themselves. We like to set goals before we launch them. We don't always do this though. Like if it's a promotion, we might be wanting a certain number of signups. And a new page on a marketing site should be helping towards the overall conversion rate, objective, that sort of thing. And so we have the data team, like you said, who will produce charts and dashboards to measure all that stuff.

We like to do pre-mortems and postmortems sometimes when it's like a bigger project, especially. So pre-mortem is us talking about how we think this is gonna go? Any problems we anticipate, any reaction we might anticipate? I don't know. And then a postmortem is reviewing how the thing went kind of a morbid name for it, yes. And so we have those discussions, they get saved into Basecamp, and that's always handy for us to be able to refer to later on when we come around till perhaps doing another version of that promotion of that project.

Now I wanna talk about challenges. What are some of the main obstacles that I face in my role in getting my work done?

I would say the main challenge that I face especially being the only designer at a company where we're wanting to stay a small team, but we also have super huge goals and like big things that we want to get done is balancing speed, efficiency, getting work done in a timely manner to be able to move forward and move on to the next project, balancing that with quality. I have very high standards for my designs. And I've had to learn to like, I wanna say pick my battles, but that's not the right word. More like pick my favorites with projects.

So there'll be some projects that I do where I'm like, I'm just gonna quickly get this done. I'm not gonna go through a big, long iteration process. You just need an image, okay, boom, here's an image. It'll fill your needs. You can promote that post or whatever the image is for. Getting that stuff done quickly to free up my time more to be spent on the higher impact projects like pages for our marketing site, for example.

It sucks to not do your absolute very best, like intense, perfect work every time, but it's just the realities of the job. And honestly, like, even though I think it felt like more of a challenge to start with. Now I appreciate it because it gives me the freedom to just do something quickly so that I can free up time for the stuff that perhaps I'm more interested in, 'cause I'm sure you've gotten a sense from this episode so far that I just love designing websites. It's one of my favorite things.

Another challenge is getting people what they need or maybe what they don't even know they need. Those are two kinds of different things, let me explain. Early on, there was obviously way more work than I could handle as the only marketing designer. And so when people would ask me for something, I would often end up having to say, no, I'm sorry. Like I can't prioritize that right now. There's just these other things in the business that require my attention more. And so let's hold off on doing this thing for you, which like sucks to have to say no to someone. But because of that, I feel like they became a view in the company that I'm super busy. I don't have capacity, and so design stuff, it's hard to get it done.

Now that we do have capacity. We've got this whole like graphic designer working part-time on things. We have loads more capacity to get stuff done design wise, but I worry that people have stopped asking because I was saying no early on, if that makes sense. So yeah, that's something that I'm working through now is trying to encourage people to ask me for things and say, we do have capacity. We wanna help, let us know how design could make things better for whatever thing you're doing. So, yeah, that's something that I'm working on to build that trust back up, I suppose.

And then I also touched on getting people what they don't know they need. So we're a very like independent, talented team at ConvertKit. And sometimes people will make things for themselves. I'm often having to step in when I see something happening, see that someone's made this thing and be like, "Hey, let me help you with that." So sort of saying, hey, you need me rather than them saying, I need you.

So yeah, just keeping an eye on what's out there, what people are doing within the company. And I'm stepping in when I need to, to make sure that all of the visuals and assets that we're putting out are on brand and matching our quality standards. Inevitably, there are things I miss and that is just effective life. And guess what? It's not the end of the world, but it happens. Doesn't really matter that much. It's just something that I wanna stay on top of as much as possible, because obviously your brand impression and the level of quality of design impacts the quality people see in your product and the opinion that they have of the brand. So I do care about it a lot and I wanna make sure I'm doing my best, but inevitably some stuff does get missed that people try and do themselves. But I think we'll find in the series that maybe that's a common trait amongst many other in-house marketing designers. M

ore personally a challenge that I've been facing, especially lately, having been at the company for three years, being the only marketing designer on the team has been really craving, being pushed more in my designs. Because my manager isn't a design manager. I can't really get the feedback from him, the level of detail that I need to really push my design skills. I know that everything I'm doing is meeting the business goals and it's good enough for that, but I have higher hopes for myself I suppose, and I just wanna do even better and I wanna make sure that I'm constantly improving. So that's been a bit of a struggle for me lately being the only one who has all the context of the marketing site, et cetera, and being the only one really thinking about that all time, like 24/7 almost. Yeah, getting feedback from other people to really push me design-wise has been hard in these episodes. I also really wanna be askin

g all of the marketing designers, they talk to what areas of growth they see for themselves. I wanna know what areas people are trying to push into and where are they wanting to improve, their plans for that growth. And for me personally, an area that I'm really looking to grow in and continue to work on is my user research and testing. I've absolutely loved learning how to conduct a user interview and what someone use our site? What questions to ask? What prompts to give, to get the right information that really helps me to improve it? And also running tests like coming up with ideas for tests and hypotheses for different design elements to test against each other. And the process of running all that, just getting smarter with that, making our website work a little harder for us and focusing our efforts. So I'm really enjoying learning that and wanting to grow in that even more.

Something else I wanna touch on is the impact that marketing design has at each company that I talk to. Because I think that marketing is, I wouldn't say overlooked, but it definitely wouldn't be viewed as the most important part of a business, especially a tech company where product is usually the most important thing, right? You got to get the product in order to sell, but I wanna touch on the level of respect making designers feel and what opportunities they have for being involved in the rest of the company.

At ConvertKit, we are a very transparent company so I always have pretty good idea of what the teams are working on, how the businesses are doing that sort of thing. And we're also like everyone on the team, not just me as a marketing designer, but literally every single person is encouraged to share their opinion on that bunch of different business topics and the way that we're running the company.

In our company meetings that we have each week, they're not really like a state of the union update meeting. We have a little bit of that for five minutes at the start, but the majority of the meeting is focused on a discussion topic. So for example, we had last year a meeting about how we think we'd fair an economic downturn, what do we think the company needs to do to prepare et cetera? It was really great meeting. I learned a lot in it because I don't know much about the economy and that sort of thing. And I was really glad we had that discussion before the coronavirus hit and we did see a bit of an economic downturn. So it's cool to be asked to be involved in discussions like that, and just feel like I play a bigger role in the business than just the pixels that I create for our marketing website.

In general, though, I do feel like marketing design is very highly respected in the company. People are usually very enthusiastic about the work that I'm doing and so, yeah, I feel good about that.

Lastly, I always wanna end each episode by talking to a marketing designer about their favorite parts of their job. Nice to end on a positive note and also just nice to hear like what other people love in the role. And so for me, like I said, when I talked about my areas for growth, I'm loving testing, like being more involved with data and learning things that way. That's one of my favorite parts of my job. Being able to have an idea for a test and having the independence and the freedom to go ahead and work with wherever I need to work with to make that happen. Absolutely love doing that. And I love learning things through seeing how people interact with the different design ideas that I have.

And then another thing I love about being an in-house marketing designer, I think you also touched on it before is being able to iterate and improve on work I've done in the past. I love being able to ship something, get it out there, see how it's doing, and then get a chance to improve on it later on when perhaps my skills have increased as a designer, I have new information, new ideas, whatever. It's just really fun to be able to go back over your work in that way and think of ways you can do things better.

So that my friends is a look inside marketing design at ConvertKit

Expand full transcript
Collapse transcript

Enjoy the episode?

Rate it on Apple podcasts or tell your friends to listen!

More episodes