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"First things first" for marketers

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Every year we repost and share this article to remind every marketer and advertiser that there are things more important than higher CTR, lower CPC and any other numbers that hide the reason why we do what we do…

Relying on blind split test data sometimes we forget about style, culture, ethics and more importantly we forget that good marketing is the art.

Did Apple try to run multiple split test when they were running their “1984” or “Think different” campaigns? Did they think of a conversions and immediate response? Obviously they don’t.

54 years ago Ken Garland along with 20 other designers published a manifesto called First things first. After 35 years, in 1999 it was rewritten by 33 designers. With the growth of web-advertising and social networks, with infinite number of advertising agencies and freelancers working in digital marketing and advertising space this manifesto has only became more important. Not just for graphic designers but for everyone involved in the marketing and advertising industry.

Unfortunately rise of web and social advertising technologies made even easier to manipulate with facts, share fake news and use non-ethical

As marketers we should bring the value to the end customers - educate them, provide valuable information, give them honest and transparent information about the products, respect their rights and put moral aspects of our marketing efforts higher than results (even if it might sound wrong for some of our customers).

Here’s a piece of First things first manifesto 2000, published in Eye magazine almost 20 years ago.

"...Encouraged in this direction, designers then apply their skill and imagination to sell dog biscuits, designer coffee, diamonds, detergents, hair gel, cigarettes, credit cards, sneakers, butt toners, light beer and heavy-duty recreational vehicles. Commercial work has always paid the bills, but many graphic designers have now let it become, in large measure, what graphic designers do. This, in turn, is how the world perceives design. The profession’s time and energy is used up manufacturing demand for things that are inessential at best.

Many of us have grown increasingly uncomfortable with this view of design. Designers who devote their efforts primarily to advertising, marketing and brand development are supporting, and implicitly endorsing, a mental environment so saturated with commercial messages that it is changing the very way citizen-consumers speak, think, feel, respond and interact. To some extent we are all helping draft a reductive and immeasurably harmful code of public discourse.”

Read full manifesto here

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