Scalable design: How to use SketchDeck for growth

Learn how to scale marketing design at high-growth companies.

Scalable design: How to use SketchDeck for growth

Scalable design: How to use SketchDeck for growth

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Learn how to scale marketing design at high-growth companies.

Scalable design: How to use SketchDeck for growth

The importance of design

If we look back a few decades, design wasn’t such a big deal–at least not for B2B companies.

Want proof? 

microsoft's website 1997
Microsoft's 1997 website (source)

But things have changed, and good design is now everywhere. Your audience’s design expectations have grown making graphic design essential for your brand, whether you're B2C or B2B.

Design doesn't just affect aesthetics, either–it has a direct impact on revenue, growth, and scalability.

You might be familiar with the Design Value Index, but here's a refresher: the DMI (Design Management Institute) tracked public companies over a period of 10 years to understand the importance of graphic design. In their study, they found that design-centric companies outperformed their S&P 500 peers by 211%.

design-centric companies

When it comes to huge players like Google, Apple, SAP, IBM, and Intuit, 211% means an extra 9 (or even 10) figures in their bottom lines.

So the question is: what's holding you back from becoming a design-centric company?

What’s holding you back from scaling design?

Before you can find the right solution, you must first understand the problem: the design obstacles your business and marketing efforts face at individual, team and organizational levels.

scalable design levels

Individual level

We first start at the individual level. Here are two design-related struggles marketing professionals encounter on a daily basis:

scalable design speed

Speed: Typically, a growing business moves much faster than the design solutions out there. As a result, it is nearly impossible to keep up the pace without hurting design quality, as countless requests come in fast, without warning or lacking a clear brief.

To compound this, in-house teams, agencies and freelancer designers are optimized for creativity–not for speed. This can leave you unsupported at 4 a.m., creating PPT decks for the quarterly review meeting the next day.

Ease of use: Agencies, in-house teams and freelancers don’t come with a manual. It’s up to you write a creative brief to guide their efforts, and provide feedback throughout the process in order to achieve the desired end result.

Even if you are fluent in design and have experience working with designers, you still have to deal with meetings, emails, phone calls and more. The logistics of the design process can be overwhelming, compromising both speed and resources.

Team level

Next up is the team level, where the equation is simple: the more people involved, the more opportunities for error. Here are just a few obstacles that teams encounter: 

team design issues scalable marketing

Access: Access to design solutions is one of the greatest challenges a marketing team faces. As your company grows, the amount of people needing design grows, along with their quality and speed expectations.

It’s a common reality that only a few stakeholders control the design process within a department. Not everyone will know or have ties to these stakeholders, meaning sometimes people don’t even know they have design resources available.

It’s also difficult to provide access to everyone, especially when resources are limited. However, not enabling access to design leads to many taking matters into their own hands. Even when done with the best of intentions, this can be a recipe for disaster–often leading to off-brand assets and countless hours of precious time spent on work outside of their primary role.

Quality/Consistency: Most companies try to tackle the access issue by creating or providing a myriad of resources internally and externally. While this may solve the problem of access, it also leads to another–little to no oversight or control.

Deliverables vary in quality and are stored in different places, creating what we call “Shadow Design” (similar to shadow IT). Shadow Design encompasses all of the design projects in which you've no control or visibility, and can lead to brand inconsistency or simply bad design.

C-level executives wasting their expensive time creating woefully off-brand decks, collaborators giving incorrect instructions to vendors or hiring low quality services are but a few of possible outcomes.

Capacity/Flexibility: Design is not an exact science, nor is it as predictable as finance or other departments. Demand fluctuates over the course of the year and no matter what kind of business you’re in, you’ll have peaks and valleys.

In some periods, you’ll wish you had twice as many people working in your design department–in others, you’ll feel like half of them is still too much.

Hiring for spikes is a flat cost, and dealing with vendors is also difficult as their capacity could be similarly overwhelmed in peak seasons. In many cases, you may need to hire someone simply to manage the vendor.

No matter which way you look at it, inevitable design fluctuations create a lot of overhead and additional management–and even then, there is no guarantee that things work properly.

Efficiency/Cost: Most design solutions are optimized toward quality and creativity, and that comes with a price. Think about it: how many design resources do you have available that are optimized toward speed and efficiency, while also delivering quality and creativity?

This leads to a lot of unnecessary processes just to make the nitty-gritty design work happen–a costly, inefficient and time-consuming endeavor.

Organization level

Keeping up with our fast-paced world is no easy task, especially when it comes to branding for an entire organization. Here are the most pressing design issues at the organizational level:

organizational marketing struggles scalable design

Keeping your brand ahead: Technology is always moving forward, meaning your brand has to keep up with this ever-changing pace. If you don't adapt your design to the times, rest assured your competitors will.

Scaling/Controlling your brand: Design is not limited to the few things most people see–it goes much deeper than that. Sales meeting slides, handouts, and even internal presentations for stakeholders that aren’t consumers are all assets that need design. Even the smallest of details matter when it comes to upholding your brand guidelines and client trust.

Utilizing all channels: As the number of channels grow, your demand for design grows in tandem. You need to have a controlled and scalable process that has room for the more and more change to come.

As you hyper-segment your audiences to improve conversion rates through personalized messages, you must accompany these efforts with custom design. If you don’t, your messages will read personalized but feel generic, sending mixed signals to your audience.

average team design demand scalable marketing

So what's the solution?

Whether one or all of these problems affect you directly or indirectly, one thing is for sure: they’re bigger than you realize.

We ran a study to measure exactly how much design marketing teams need. In it, we found that while case studies, whitepapers, presentations, and ads were taken into account, many tasks ended up unaccounted for.

In fact, many marketing teams were buried under 7 feet of low-value, repetitive tasks such as resizing PNGs, making small tweaks to a PPT, adapting a deliverable, or changing a files color–tasks that ended up taking between 5 and 30 minutes in the moment, but built up to hours by the end of the month.

All in all, a team of 15 marketers proved to need an average of 300 hours of design per month, or 7 full-time designers.

Recognizing the importance of graphic design and solving the challenges at individual, team and organizational levels is paramount if you want your company to be among the design-centric brands that outperform their competitors–a truly scalable business with a spotless brand consistency.

how to become design-centric dmi

SketchDeck: The secret behind scalable businesses

SketchDeck isn't just any graphic design service. Behind our team of world-class designers is a platform where you can order, iterate, visualize and access everything you need. Team members can start projects, provide feedback and collaborate from anywhere, at any time.

Even team members who have never filled out a creative brief or worked with a graphic designer can successfully complete design projects with SketchDeck. Our didactic tool and expert project managers will make sure all the information our design team needs for success is available on the brief.

Our platform will ask the necessary questions regarding deliverable(s) needed, timeline and more and provide a cost estimate upfront, all without a single phone call. If you'd prefer to talk via a call or email before getting started, though, our team is available to do so.

Finally, you can start, collaborate and manage your assets 24/7, all in the same place.

scalable design platform

With no limit to team members in our tool, you can give access to anyone and everyone in your organization that needs design. But don't worry, you will still have full control and visibility into your team–with different permission levels available for budget, payment methods and more.

scalable marketing platform

On top of our comprehensive platform, you'll have a dedicated team that will cater to your every need. From design to quality control, our team has the skills and flexibility to handle simple tasks to flagship projects, with rates proportional to complexity and a workflow adaptable to your demand.

We’ll help you handle any urgent projects timely and consistently, while also giving you freedom to save money on projects with more timeline flexibility. We can even create a new team solely to help you while you’re working on important projects such as events or a website redesign.

And thanks to our global team of designers, there will always be professionals ready to start working on projects as they come in. With initial iterations often back to you within 48 hours and projects typically complete in 1 to 2 weeks, stressful timelines will be a distant memory.

we fill the gap between in-house and agency for growth-driven scalable businesses

SketchDeck covers everything from day-to-day design to core product design and flagship projects, all in the same place–making us the perfect design partner for organizations of any size.

Why should you listen to us?

Over the past 5 years, we’ve delivered over 14,000 design projects for 500+ companies big and small, all while working 100% remote.

Here are just a few of the companies in our portfolio:

scalable businesses using sketchdeck

From startups with only a handful of marketers all the way up to large companies, we give support and help scale marketing processes with:

  • Affordable rates
  • World-class quality
  • 100% budgetary control
  • Dynamic on-the-go feedback tools
  • Differing creative levels and delivery speeds
  • Rates proportional to complexity and urgency
  • Bespoke teams built to efficiently cater for your design needs, whether you have a spike in demand or a silent month

We can help your company scale, whether by unburdening your marketing teams from run-of-the-design-mill projects so they can focus on flagship projects, building teams to tackle projects of any size and complexity, or working along with your in-house talents to bring a wealth of creativity, expertise and fresh ideas to your process–all while increasing your design ROI.

If you’d like to get more info on how SketchDeck can help your company scale design and marketing efforts, schedule a call with us here!

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