Time and money. Ultimately, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Time and money. Time has a single purpose: saving it. Money, on the other hand, has a dual purpose: saving it and, of course, making it. Just about everything we do can be motivated by saving time and money, by making money (too bad you can’t make time, now that would change things, wouldn’t it?), or a combination of any of these three. In the end, though, it’s all about making money: saving time makes money; saving money makes money; and, well, the last is obvious.
Some events make it simple to realize that you have achieved a positive gain on time and money. In these cases, the gain has been immediate, clearly recognized, and sometimes even documented for you. Go to a supermarket, buy something on sale, and there is your money savings recorded for you on your receipt. Easy. Take a shortcut on a journey; a simple glance at your watch tells you how much time you have saved. Easy. Post that unused item in the want ads; someone gives you cash for it. Easy.
Comprehending your time and money gain on communication, however, is not so obvious. This is true for a number of reasons. The actual loss of time and money might never have been documented or considered, so there is no basis for evaluation. The time from initiation to implementation for a communication project can be months, sometimes years, and unless time and money are carefully tracked, there can be an enormous disconnection between the before and after.
I like to think about measuring your time and money gain in communication as a journey. Whenever you take a trip—whether it’s a simple jaunt to the supermarket or an extended vacation—you always know where you are starting from and where you are going. It’s the same way with communication: you must know where you are starting from and where you are going.
Before beginning any communication initiative, first take the time to pound a stick into the ground. Where are you now? Identify and quantify that as clearly as possible. Then, identify where you want to go, your destination, your objectives. Use the markers from your starting point. These objectives should also contain your time and money savings, and your making money quantities. In other words, your return on investment.
Now, go on your journey; launch your communication initiative: your marketing campaign, your employee survey, your newly updated web site, your supporting campaign for a new product or service launch. Whatever it is. Then, periodically, throughout the campaign, assess where you are. You can also use these assessments to consider changes in direction that might help you better get you where you want to go. When you finally reach your destination , you’ll know it.
And you’ll know how much time you have saved, how much money you have saved, and, ultimately, how much money you have made. That’s the value of simple, clear communication: it makes you money.