Creative Cadence
Design for lone marketers
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Views from the studio

Views from the studio

How do you demonstrate the value of good design?

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For many clients who don’t move in the world of marketing, it’s often difficult to understand the true value that good design might bring to their business.

Unless you’re running a direct mail or advertising campaign linked to a specific sales code or call-to-action, it’s difficult to measure.

An interesting process, building this new website, has been having customer interviews done with some of my key clients. A wholly positive experience; I wanted to share some of the key thoughts that came out about what value design has added to their businesses:

1. A helping hand or partner

Rather than viewing a designer for the ‘pencil to paper’ or ‘mouse to screen’ pure design, many people use the words ‘trusted advisor’ and ‘partner’. Many clients I work with are in a sole marketing role – they alone have responsibility for the marketing of the business. This might be their own business, or they are the sole marketer in a larger business. Working in isolation in these instances can be stressful. A designer can help take the stress out of such a role by advising on marketing ideas, or helping come up with concepts for a communication problem a marketer might have. Think about talking to a designer long before you have the ‘we need an A4 brochure’ brief. What you think you need, may not be the best solution for the audience you're trying to reach. 

… like an extension of your own department really. And an extra – if you are the only person working in marketing in your organisation, that’s a nice thing to have.
— Amy Grenham | Desynit

2. Helping you to help yourself

With start-ups, sole traders and SME’s, lack of marketing budget can be an issue. A good designer can help improve the day-to-day communication tools that you use – rather than just designing a one-off exhibition stand or company brochure – each of which will only have a certain shelf-life. Think about the tools you use to present to your clients and prospects. How do you create a proposal document, leave-behind or training manual? A well-designed brand can add value with a suite of templates, including a library of logos, icons, illustrations and typography. Your everyday client-facing communications can then look consistent and professional. Money well spent on the brand saves spending money on design each time you need one of these basic documents creating.

What companies sometimes fail to realise is that what a good designer can do is make something mundane look superb.
— Rob Pendleton | MERJ Marketing

3. Public-facing professionalism

Design can make the difference between a business looking professional to the outside world, or looking clumsy and amateurish. A good strong brand will set you apart in the marketplace against your competitors and bring your business to life. Giving you and your business more confidence when talking to prospects (knowing that you look good!) Think about it. How do you feel when you hand your business card to someone? Proud? Confident? How do you feel telling a prospect to visit your website? Similarly so? If you lack professionalism in the way you look, but your competitors are killing it, then that’s a problem. 

… we stood apart from everyone else in terms of how we looked, the visual feel of it, the sense of it.
— Julie Laming | Planning Ventures

4. Internal motivational factor

A surprising bit of client feedback that I hadn’t considered was that consistent, well-designed marketing materials have a positive motivational factor in-house, in a business. With larger budgets, there are dedicated pieces of internal employee communications which can directly influence employees. However, if a sales or marketing department are confident in the materials they are presenting to their clients and prospects and know that the website and downloads on there are top-notch, it all adds to a positive feeling within a business.

… not only does it look good on the company, the company comes across much better to its clients and public audience, but it also has a great motivational factor in-house.
— Lance Hiley | Freelance Marketing Director

How do you value design in your business? What experiences have you had?
I’d be interested to know.