Monday, April 6

Measuring Communication, Cost Part 2

One of the most overlooked cost considerations in communication measurement is the "time to produce" or "speed to market." While the cost less is tangible than direct expenses, it's no less important because it can have a dramatic impact on communication.

As Laurence Haughton once titled his book "It's Not the Big That Eat the Small... It's the Fast That Eat the Slow." In the book, he and Jason Jennings contend that only the swiftest of corporations will thrive in today's marketplace. And while I've disagreed with Haughton before, this is one point where he is half right.

How Time To Produce Impacts Public Relations.

A few months ago, a public relations firm had an opportunity to deeply expose one of its clients to a new audience by tying in local results on a national study. In terms of news value, the story had impact, proximity, timeliness, human interest, and sensitivity — five of the ten elements that make news.

Unfortunately, the release that could have made headlines and would have resulted in speaking engagements took three weeks, leaving less than a one week window to retain any news value at all. The result was a single story in one online publication that didn't reach the intended audience.

While the late release didn't create any negative impressions, the costs associated with the release produced a negative return on communication. And, had it been a crisis communication situation, three weeks would have been just enough time to kill the organization.

How Time To Produce Impacts Advertising.

The same intangible cost has an impact on advertising as well. For example, most Web sites take two to three times longer to produce than a blog, most print advertisements take two to three times longer to produce and place than online advertisements (even longer when compared to non-ad communication vehicles), and most television commercials take four times longer to produce than an online video.

This isn't meant to disparage traditional advertising. It's needed. However, in prioritizing production, quicker and more efficient methods of communication might be worth considering. Every day there is no communication is another day that potential customers are making different purchasing decisions or increasing brand loyalty or promoting the competition.

So Why Was Haughton Only Half Right?

Sometimes companies race ahead too fast. In 2007, for example, we took note of several companies attempting to leap frog to the next level as fast as possible. One of the applications, BlogRush, has long since crashed.

There were several reasons for the "crash," but part of the underlying problem was that its customers could not keep up with the changes taking place and neither did their communication. The lesson to be learned remained the same. Planned product rollouts plus expedited and efficient communication usually wins the day.

Download The Abstract: Measure: I | O = ROC

The ROC is an abstract method of measuring the value of business communication by recognizing that the return on communication — advertising, marketing, public relations, internal communication, and social media — is related to the intent of the communication and the outcome it produces. Every Monday, the ROC series explores portions of the abstract.


Alan on 4/7/09, 4:01 AM said...

yikes. (remembering blog rush) While I don't lament its passing, I don't seem to be reaching nearly as many people as I used to, so I will always be on the lookout for the next 'big thing'.

John on 4/7/09, 9:26 AM said...

Very interesting blog.

Claire on 4/7/09, 9:27 AM said...

I agree time to get to print is time lost with getting your product to market.

Rich on 4/7/09, 2:29 PM said...


Blogrush was certainly something. :) Never worry about the numbers of people. Stay in tune with those who do reach. I think the single the biggest strength of social media is engagement.

After all, it's why you and I know each other at all ... for almost two years, I think. Amazing.

@John and Claire,

Well, thank you for not being overt. (Otherwise, I would have had to refer you to April 3 post.) So instead, I'll just say thanks.

All my best,


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