March 28, 2017

Confusion about intangible benefits

There’s a lot of confusion about what an intangible benefit is, so let’s back up and define the term.

I like this definition from

Subjective benefits that cannot be measured in monetary terms.

To paraphrase:

“Business outcomes that the client wants, but that can’t easily be assigned a specific dollar value.”


Examples of common intangible benefits:

These are all business outcomes that are typically valued by clients, but are hard to assign a dollar figure to (i.e., intangible benefits).

However, you could easily come up with ways to measure an improvement in any of these, AND the client could place a rough subjective value on the degree of change.

Examples of intangibles that are NOT benefits:

Note that these are intangibles (i.e., hard to assign a dollar value) but they aren’t benefits to the client. They might LEAD to intangible benefits, but that’s not the same thing. Connect the dots for them by extrapolating an actual benefit from your intangible.