For the marketing communicator, especially one working in an agency environment, “never overestimate” is a very open-textured expression. This lesson from one of my first marketing VPs has proven to be very helpful to me in a number of ways, including the following:
1. Don’t overestimate the ability of your audience to follow what you’re talking about. Whether your audience is an executive board or working moms who are pressed for time, it’s always worthwhile to slow down a second and consider – “If I were coming into this cold, would I know what is being expressed here?” The result is usually plain-spoken, clear messaging that is neither simplistic nor ornate.
2. Don’t be greedy. Many service providers – in many different industries – may be inclined to get the “gist” of a project and then bid high when estimating costs to allow for the complications that may arise when the details about the projects emerge at a later point. My guiding principle is to define the scope of work at the outset of the project and then offer a bid that maps to that defined scope. It may take longer at the outset, but it saves time (and headaches) in the end. It takes time because it saves time.