To quote the immortal Wham!

If you’re going to do it, do it right.

I was recently given a copy of a fairly extensive marketing strategy that was prepared by an  outside consultant for a client I am doing some work for. It is 180-some-odd pages long and contains a tonne of research, analysis, matrices, paradigms… you name it, it is in there.

And that includes typos. Dozens and dozens of typos.  The footer is an error message generated by Microsoft Word (and for that matter, who sends a digital copy of a report in Word format?).  The date on the front of the report is wrong. There is a typo (capitalization error) in the client’s name on the front, for jimminy’s sake.

It was bad enough when this report was first presented to my client in draft form. When I do work for a client I try to make my draft for consultation as clean as possible. I present it in a way that says “this is as complete as I can make it, please provide some input on the direction so I can incorporate your thoughts.” The draft was riddled with mistakes – mistakes that were pointed out during a roundtable with the client and the consultant – but the consultant essentially told the client to relax, this was a draft.

Not the attitude I would take but whatever. But if you are going to take that approach, make damn sure you at least fix the mistakes the client pointed out. The aforementioned  wrong date on the cover of the final version?  Yea, it was the date the draft version was submitted.

Maybe I am overly critical but mistakes like this make me skeptical about the entire report. If the consultant can’t be bothered to check his spelling, how can I trust he has done due process on his conclusions? To me, blatant spelling and grammar mistakes just scream you are not an important enough client for me to bother doing due diligence.

Nobody is perfect and I assume this guy wasn’t hired because he was a good speller. One can probably scan through this blog and find half a dozen typos. But I am not being paid a tonne of money to create this content. He is. If you can’t trust your own writing (and very few people are good at copy editing their own work), hire someone to do it.

You owe your client that.

1 comment

  1. Your won to talk — tonnes? Just joking… I am Canadian but now based in San Diego with an office in Vancouver as well. I agree that typos indicate carelessness–at the very least–and incompetence, at worst. If you’re being paid as a communicator, accuracy in all respects must be the basic assumption–the very starting point. If you cannot be counted on for fundamental spelling and grammar accuracy, then how can you be counted on to convey the message accurately? Are you going to do harm, possibly, to the client’s image?

    P.S. Just proofed this comment and found one typo besides the joke typo at top. It’s one thing to make a typo or mistake but another to be unaware that you made one at all.

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