The ROI of good design

Design Resources Shapes Image

One of the main reasons most companies struggle to keep up with their design demand is the quagmire of calculating the ROI of design.

Knowing the ROI from a few hundred bucks spent on designing a single pitch deck presentation to a 9-figure company is both meaningless and unsustainable, giving the false idea that some projects do not deserve the same design standards as big flagship projects.

Nevertheless, knowing how design can impact the overall picture and bring value to a company is paramount if you want to see design riding shotgun in your brand growth strategy.

To that end, the DMI (Design Management Institute) did an amazing job comparing the performance of design-centric companies to their S&P peers.

Just to get everyone on the same page: design-centric companies are those who consider design to be an integral part of their business strategy, and effectively implement design on a consistent and effective manner.

The numbers speak for themselves, as design-led companies outperformed companies who take design for granted by a whopping 211%.

design-centric companies

And since we’re biased to talk about the benefits of great design, we ran a research to fact-check our assumptions that led us to some good insights. Let’s start with a polemic subject:

How common is bad design today?

If you’ve been in the B2B marketing world long enough, we don’t need to tell you that design is often disregarded as a secondary asset.

You’ve probably felt that pain, as our research shows that bad design is still way too common:

  • 65% of marketers report that customer-facing materials went out without getting any professional design.
  • 48% said that design DIY was their primary design resource.
  • 100% of marketers interviewed reported they did some design themselves… even if that wasn’t their primary resource.

Either if your brand relies on internal resources or external agencies, the reality is the same. At some point, brand coherence will be jeopardized by the lack of professional design resources to consistently tackle each and every project. As the good old saying goes, the devil is in the details…

This potential DIY design leaks into all parts of the funnel, and across every channels—digital or not.

Why does this happen?

First, there is the design you know you need:

design you know you need

These kinds of projects are received with great excitement both by the in-house team or the external agency, they usually require a lot of creative work, which is way more fun than repetitive, boring tasks like putting together a 500 slides pitch deck from a template. The abundant resources to make flagship projects happen doesn’t hurt, either.

And second, there is the design you don’t know you need until it comes up (and no one wants to do it):

design you don't know

Even though these projects will be published in official channels, they are deemed as “low priority” and end up directly in the marketer’s plate. That, ladies and gentleman, is what we call shadow design.

Shadow design makes up for most of the design-related problems you’ll face:

  • brand inconsistency
  • mixed messages
  • missing deadlines
  • bad conversion rates
  • lack of a strong institutional voice

The missmatch of design resources combined with a wide array of small, less visible projects leads to the shadow design problems that affects 65% of marketers.

If those issues alone aren’t enough to make you take action, maybe considerable financial losses can change your mind. As all marketers end up spending time doing design, even if it is internal, bad design hurts productivity and wastes time that should spent on more important projects. Having a C-Level executive do pitch deck design is a huge money drain.

Let’s crunch the numbers. In our survey, we’ve found that the companies interviewed lost 931 hours of work or something around $50k of wages in a single year due to DIY design.

bad productivity

That’s a conservative estimate, as the numbers can easily go up if you add the impacts of bad design on conversion and closing rates, the hours wasted due to mixed messages and the overall lack of consistency that ultimately undermines your brand’s credibility. Now, we don’t know about how much money your company can waste on bad design but even a fraction of that is unacceptable to us.

By now, you must be curious about how to solve this problem. The good news is, it isn’t as hard as you think! Fill in the form in your right, and watch the webinar to learn how to develop a high-ROI design program.

ps. if you’re in a hurry, start from the 15 minutes mark.



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Related reading

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Why Agencies Can’t Compete With On-Demand Design
Why hiring in-house designers breaks your business
The design landscape
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Sales collateral design

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