From July 2018

It should only take 5 minutes

Having spent a career in design and marketing, there’s a myth that because we use computers, everything should be a quick fix. That includes retouching photos, designing a logo, updating a website or changing content in a brochure. The simpler the end design and communication, the perception of how long it takes decreases.

Ask anyone tasked with making such changes and you’ll get the all too knowing eye roll. When you don’t understand what really is involved, you just don’t know how long that simple little change or project should take. And many when they hear that it will take longer than what they think is reasonable, will complain and accuse designers and marketing types that they are putting up road blocks to their success.

Sure, if you want a quick change and don’t care about the integrity and quality of the end result – or whether it will elicit the desired response, it may not take so long. Simple, effortless design and communication is hard. Finding the ‘right’ picture to communicate your message takes time. Especially if you don’t want to pay for it. Finding a photo out of millions of available images is time consuming. Designing a logo that works at many sizes and on many different materials, communicates a brand and will stand the test of time is hard. Or you can pay for a quickie and run with it. Behind a good logo is the entire identity and communication package. Color schemes and messages. Points of visual differentiation from your competition.

How about writing a marketing email? One that sells? One that stands out from the hundreds flooding everyone’s inboxes uninvited? That is hard, too. You have to think about where the recipient is in your funnel. Whether they’ve heard of you (and if you are emailing them, they should have and should have given you permission), and what you want them to do next. The shorter the email, the harder it is to write. And the longer it takes.

Retouching that free photo to make it yours and make it just right can take longer and cost more than producing a custom photo from scratch.

There’s balance to all of this. Yes, you can over pay. And you can get what you pay for. Marketing isn’t cookie cutter and something you quickly run into a store and pickup on aisle 7.

Overcoming clutter by being relevant and inspiring takes work. And time. You can’t imagine just how much until you actually do it. Hiring professionals – not prima donnas or hacks – increases your odds of success. But you have to respect what they bring to the project. You have to listen to and respect their counsel. Make sure to ask questions, to be clear on what you want the marketing to accomplish. But don’t question why it takes more than 5 minutes.