Just for the Health of It

Would You Like Fries with That? Is Your Graphic Designer Just an Order Taker

Business owners waste thousands of dollars every year on web sites, brochures, sales flyers, etc. that don’t work. Sadly, these are often projects that shouldn’t have been started in the first place, but no one on their team (or their outsourced graphic designer) advised them it was a bad move. As a result, business owners waste money and eventually become discouraged with taking a proactive approach to attracting new customers – “marketing”. This article focuses on helping you make wiser choices and not wasting time and money when it comes to hiring the right designer for you.


Here’s the inside scoop on hired graphic designers that aren’t experts in marketing (and most of them aren’t): they’re not involved or concerned in whether the design project makes sense for you, if it will be financially worth it, or what kind of positive results you should expect from the design project. The majority of graphic designers are order takers: you tell them what you want created, and they design it. Now your project may be a success or failure, but regrettably, the artist isn’t as much concerned with this – you paid for a design and that’s what you received.

As a business owner spending hard earned money, you can see this poses a serious problem. If you’re like 95% of business owners out there, you don’t know if the marketing design project is going to work for you or not – it’s a gamble, a crapshoot. Wouldn’t it make sense to have someone on your team that can help you select design and marketing projects that will give you the greatest return on your investment rather than an order taker?

Case Study – A Real Life Example:
A client and a good friend of mine was solicited by a Paper Bags in Vietnam  “marketing expert/design firm” a few months before we met. My now client was sold a costly marketing plan package that read more like a bad book report than anything of value. Within this report the “expert” highly recommended the client invest a boat load of money on full color brochures, promotional flyers and coupons, “the brochure is marketing collateral that is essential…the brochure acts as a piece of marketing material that can be left behind to potential customers…

As I read these “would you like fries with that” recommendations, I almost fell out of my chair, “Wait a minute! Before we start spending all of this money on design and printing, shouldn’t we first analyze how these projects will affect the client?

Before breaking open the piggy bank I suggested that the client take a step back and look at what result these investments will really bring in. Here’s what we came up with: these marketing materials are not effective for the business the client’s in, the client is a high-end vendor so coupons will not support the high-end image, and the client gets business from personal interaction with prospects (within the 30 seconds a personal connection is made with a prospect). Bottom line here is this: the recommendations would have certainly helped out the marketing/design firm, the grateful client avoided over $5,000 in costs that would have done nothing to grow the business.

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