The Debate: Smart Marketing Investments

Jennifer Giannotti-Genes discusses ROI and investments.

Jennifer Giannotti-Genes
Associate director of Personal Care and Hill’s Pet Nutrition, global design and packaging, at Colgate-Palmolive Company

How can designers work together with marketers to maximize ROI on investments?

As far as maximizing ROI, adaptive design is being talked about a lot through the industry, especially in CPG organizations seeking to optimize design. It’s an important topic at global organizations, such as Colgate-Palmolive, where there are global design teams working on different phases of the same initiaitve.

During my career with Colgate-Palmolive, I have worked in both pet care and personal care—very different categories. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to streamline the adaptation process on Hill’s pet. This enabled the organization to recognize efficiencies in time and eliminate rework, which lowers costs. This is optimized when a central team leading initial strategy and design is also driving the adaptation process.

This process can be so seamless and efficient when lead properly that it often goes unnoticed by the marketing teams. It’s important for design to document and share how the adaptation process is creating benefits for the entire organization.

In your experience, what role do designers have in building marketing budgets and, in your opinion, what role should they have?

Marketing continues to leverage Design as a direct partner to create impactful strategies and bring them to life via design. As a Design leader at CP [Colgate-Palmolive], my marketing partners need and expect me to have the foresight to manage the details of an initiative—including costs, production, timing, etc. They count on Design to bring our business management skills and design skills to bear on all of our work.

Designers think differently and truly add value when we are brought into budget conversations before work begins. We are able to achieve cost savings as well as time efficiencies (which often impact budget) in bringing innovative solutions to the table. We take our responsibility of saving our organizations money and time very seriously.

The bottom line is that designers are hired to leverage our creative skills to help our companies make more money; part of making money is optimizing processes/resources to save money. Designers should be included in building marketing budgets because we can help save money or maximize that spend. Do I think designers should hold the budget for a year for the brand? There’s been a lot of conversation back and forth about the pros and cons. The pros come from designers’ tendency to think about doing things in different or new ways. However, budgets and projects overall are really partnership conversations.

How can package designers prove out the ROI of a company’s investment in design?

That’s been the ongoing question for years in the design community. Rob Wallace has been a huge proponent in this field in terms of our ROI and how brand package designers can zero in on the business uplift of a redesign or new design.

There’s always a mix of things that influence the lift of a design or not, but it starts by looking at the data—what it’s influencing or not influencing whether that is a gain or negative.

Is there anything else that you would like to share with the Brand Experience audience about smart marketing investment or the ROI of design?

Invest in good design teams. Most marketers and marketing organizations, within successful CPG organizations specifically, realize the best return on investment when they invest in great designers and give them a strong seat at the table.

Designers should be included in building marketing budgets because we can help save money or maximize that spend.