Getting more work from existing clients

Getting more work from existing clients is a no-brainer.
It’s good for designers because it’s the antithesis of cold calling – the client knows you and your work.
And it’s good for clients because research shows clients want proactive design suppliers.
Problem is, to do that, you need a constant stream of ‘new’ services to offer clients.

We’ve found an interesting emerging market…

Traditionally, much of our work was helping businesses market to consumers (B2C) — often in a retail environment.

A second market emerged – businesses marketing to other businesses (B2B).

A new and emerging market for designers is business to employee marketing (B2E).

Business-to-employee marketing is businesses marketing to their own employees

The importance of business-to-employee marketing is emerging as the flow-on effect of a transient workforce becomes clear.

The cost of losing employees

Keeping good talent is important, and arguably more so now. If a client loses a good employee replacing them is a costly exercise, both in time and money. Infact, one document I read (US based but similar figures probably relate to Australia) stated a business spends 50-60% of the employee’s annual salary to replace them if/when they choose to leave.

So what?

That cost is huge … think about it … for every employee earning an annual salary of $100K who chooses to leave, the cost of replacement may be up to $60K. It means spending money to keep current employees engaged makes good business sense.

And it’s not just us that thinks that way … Delloite Australia recently released the next edition of their publication Make. Grant Show (HR Transformation Australia) in his article titled The rise of employee experience said this:

When employees spend less time trying to work out how to do their job and more time doing, organisations are twice as innovative and can double customer satisfaction.

Show went on to say, the organisation’s profits are also 2.5 times more likely to be higher than their competitors.

So, the question is, how can design help people understand how to do their job better?
How can design help clarify roles and responsibilities and how can design help manage expectations?

Technology is not the answer

Tech may not the answer because much technology comes as one-size-fits-all packaged solutions and outcomes can be under-whelming.

Better to ask the employees what they need to excel. Design with intent — collaborate to develop a bespoke solution.


The research we did in 2019 around design maturity proved organisations who integrated design throughout the organisation are more profitable than those who do not.

The Delloite article adds to that – employees able to do their job well are innovative and add value to a business.

This is valuable information for designers and can be used in a proactive strategy to clients about staff retention. The market may be the human resources department rather than comms – a completely new avenue of work.

The added value is has a proven return on investment because we know the cost of replacing an employee is a far greater spend than the cost to retain.

It’s important not to offer turn key solutions. It’s the opportunity to collaborate with the employees at all levels of the organisation so they own the solution. It’s a perfect opportunity to introduce human centred design tools – our design maturity report found HCD tools and workshops were most often a key part of the solution.


What do you think? Got any problems/questions? As always, happy to discuss further, just email.

Carol Mackay

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About Carol Mackay

After 30+ years running a graphic design firm, I pivoted from client-focused projects to consult to the design industry. Now with the Design Business Council I use my experience, and research, as a design mentor and coach. I help designers build robust, sustainable businesses, and help businesses integrate, and profit from, design.

The core of the DBC is the building a design community – over 85% of designers work in businesses with less than 5 employees, many less than 3. That means designers don’t have the same support network of other professionals. The DBC’s solution is supplement paid gigs with research, mentoring breakfast meet-ups, informative UNseminars and practical workshops in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

An archive of my previous career is at
My current work can be viewed at and

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