Your Parents Were Right... (Why You Need Great Design)
The design skeptic sits in his chair and says, "Well sure Justin, great graphic design is pretty to look at, but it costs money, and my customers don't really care about that.
For the most part, this is correct. Once a customer has experienced your services, assuming you are doing a great job, it's likely they will continue to use your services. This is because they understand what you offer, and they are confident in what you do. What about the prospect who isn't aware of how great your company is? (Design CAN improve internal customer experience as well, more on that later)
Your prospect will make buying decisions based on the degree of risk involved. Specifically, will you give them service after the sale, and will your products / services do what they say. They don't know the answer to this question, and naturally they assume you will tell them what they want to hear. So, what can you do? The answer is actually very obvious, and we have already been taught this general concept by our parents. (No way, are you serious?)
Remember when you interviewed for your first job? In this experience, the hiring manager or the boss played the role your customer does now. He or she had a degree of risk to gauge, therefore determining if you would be a great asset to the company. You didn't want to dress up like your parents said, but by doing so, brushing your teeth, doing your hair and highlighting your skills you appeared professional and dedicated. This minimized risk by letting this boss know you were serious enough about working for her to make a great first impression. (Any light bulbs flick on yet?)
Today, your prospects are looking at how you dressed for the "interview" but they aren't going to give you a chance to talk. The question is, what message are your designed materials sending? Are your prospects perceiving you as a risky investment? Is your competition the less risky choice? What price would you be willing to put on making that great first impression?