Why would we buy ice cubes? If we own a refrigerator with a freezer, making ice is practically free.
Making ice is a function of energy and time. Unless we own an industrial subzero freezer or a supply of liquid nitrogen, we can’t make ice in an instant. We have to wait for the freezer to leach heat out of the water. That means we also need to plan ahead for when we need ice.
Let’s say we’re having a party and we need 10 pounds of ice. We need to plan far enough ahead to make ice in our ice cube trays. If we don’t plan ahead and the party is in a few hours, we have to buy ice. There’s no way for us to hurry up the ice-making process. By buying ice, we are buying time and planning from someone else who made the ice – and we pay far more than it costs us to make ice at home.
Time is the ultimate premium product.
Now, consider our marketing. If we have ample time and plan ahead well, we can launch a marketing campaign on limited funds using our email list, SEO, word of mouth, and social media. We may need months to build our audience, but we can do it reasonably well on a shoestring budget.
If we have to launch quickly, or our organization failed to plan ahead, we must pay. Like buying ice cubes, we’re buying someone else’s time and planning. We’re buying the time it took for publishers and ad networks to build their audience. Like buying ice cubes, we will also pay a large premium for someone else’s time.
If you want to save money, you need to spend time.
If you want to save time, you need to spend money.
The question of which you do depends on which you have more of.
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Also published on Medium.