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Save time and money, really? Some Musings both Business and Personal…

by | Jul 6, 2011

You frequently see the phrase ‘save time and money’ or some version thereof in marketing prose. My boss has threatened to shoot the entire marketing team if we ever use this phrase in our collateral. In fact, it has become something of a joke in meetings as we try to expound upon some aspect of our products or services – trying to clearly and concisely get across to clients and prospects why they should bring their business to us.

I understand saving money – if you need something, and one place sells it for ten bucks and the other for five – you obviously buy from the less expensive vendor – and thereby ‘save money’. But saving time? Even if the acquisition of some product or service makes a process go faster than before, you haven’t really saved time; you’ve just used less of it.

I was asked in a job interview once, “what is the most important thing in life?” I answered “time, and using it wisely.” It gave the interviewer pause as I think he was expecting an answer along the lines of wife, children, family and friends, which are of course very important. But that’s what my answer means – make sure you take the time for what’s important in your life – whatever that may be…

So getting back to our all-purpose marketing catch phrase, ‘save time and money’, this can really be applied to advertising and selling almost anything. It’s a pretty hollow line, along the lines of the infamous novel beginning; “It was a dark and stormy night.” So why did these words become such a cliché?

If you conduct a Google search on the phrase, the results cover topics from dog grooming to bill paying to reducing food waste and almost everything in between. So my boss may not like the phrase, and frankly I agree with him, but apparently the rest of the world does. I even found a Reader’s Digest article titled ‘5 Ways to Save Time and Money’, one of which was spending $98.99 for a car diagnostic device that estimate’s repair costs. Don’t most automobile service centers give you estimates for FREE?

Life actually comes down to time versus money in my experience. For example, if I have to do something around the house that’s not really my specialty, I have the quick mental analysis of whether I should do it myself or hire someone. Some quick calculations of what my time is worth versus what a vendor will cost – plus the aggravation of potential multiple trips to Home Depot, Lowe’s or wherever to get the stuff to do the project – usually makes the decision pretty easy.

And speaking of time versus money, let’s not even discuss the nightly decision of whether to cook dinner versus ordering in or dining out as my wife and I both hate to cook…