UK firm, Global Lingo, conducted a study in 2013 which found that an astonishing 59% of respondents said they wouldn’t do business with a company whose marketing material had obvious errors; 74% of respondents said they pay close attention to website copy. Said one respondent, ‘If I see a typo, I’ll leave without buying a thing.’
For many consumers, marketing material littered with mistakes or poorly worded website copy is indicative of a business that cuts corners. They reason that, if a company isn’t paying attention to how it projects its image to its customers, what else is it neglecting?
In 2011, the Australian Defence Force came under fire for issuing service personnel in the Middle East with embroidered badges identifying them as belonging to the ‘Royal Australlian Navy’. The story was covered world-wide and undoubtedly caused some red faces, but was it really such a big deal?
The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ because the focus shifted entirely from the real work the Navy was there to do; the bad publicity tarnished both its integrity and image. As Shadow Defence Minister at the time, David Johnston, remarked, “To have a badge on their upper arm that misspells our country…it doesn’t get any worse than that.”
Regardless of how a mistake slips through, the costs to a business to rectify the error can be substantial. Time taken to identify how the error occurred, rewriting, proofing, reprinting and so on, all adds up to employees not utilising their time working on the core business. Add on the costs of consumables such as re-printing, freight and re-distribution and you could be looking at a very high figure indeed.
Clearly, it makes business and financial sense to have well-written and well-edited copy in all written communications. A great many customers own red markers and may not be afraid to use them.
Watch more advice on proofreading in our short video on Tips for Proofreading: https://www.youtube.com/user/ProofCommunications/