Errors On Marketing Materials Are Shameful

As children, we are taught in school to check and then double-check, all of our work before turning it in.  As we get older, the same message is pressed upon us, even as high as the collegiate level.  You would think that, with this singular message being repeated over and over again by so many different people for such a long time, it would be an important lesson we should be learning.  This important lesson doesn’t end with our schooling, however.  It can be applied to all aspects of life, but particularly in business and more specifically when it comes to the marketing and promotional materials we put out as business owners.


If you run a small business, odds are you take on many responsibilities.  In fact, many small business owners wrongly try to handle all business tasks themselves.  When a person has to juggle too many tasks, especially when they aren’t even very knowledgeable or proficient in many of them, the risk of errors occurring increase greatly.  One of the most common things that I have seen happen in these situations is a failure to verify information.  The information can be anything, such as appointment times and locations, deadline dates, and information contained in emails and marketing & promotional materials.  


All of these slip-ups are important, but many of these errors are recoverable, except for the last one.  Once business cards, letterhead, websites, or flyers are seen by people, particularly by potential customers for whom this would be their first impression of your business, the initial image of your business is implanted in their minds.  And, if that impression is negative, it is very difficult to overcome it. Why do you think that someone came up with the phrase “you only get one chance to make a first impression”?  It is because a first impression is of vital importance regardless of what the situation is.  In business, if you make a great first impression, you may just have a customer for life, but if you make a bad one, you may never see or hear from them again.  What’s possibly more important is the fact that people talk, so that puts even more pressure on you to make your first impression for your business a great one.


Here is where the lesson of double-checking your work comes into play.  The other day, I received this flyer from a local Italian restaurant at my office:



I was floored that such poor attention was paid to the design of this flyer.  I mean, how can someone in their right mind look at this and think it was professionally done?  The errors that are circled may not seem like a big deal to some, but to me, my first thought was a horrific one.  When I saw this, I thought “If these people don’t pay attention to this, I wonder if they pay attention to how long the food has been in their place, and if they look at expiration dates or have any quality control procedures for handling the food.”  If you think about it, the mistakes made here aren’t even something I would expect from a middle-schooler.  To me, these appear to be very careless in nature.


Who do you blame in such an occurrence?  Is it the fault of the printing company who should have caught the errors if they had stopped to examine the final product before releasing it the business that ordered the flyers?  Do you blame the business for not reviewing, or even making sure to get a proof before approving the final design, or even for failing to review the product once it was delivered before sending them out to the people they are trying to attract to their restaurant?  I say yes.  They are both to blame for these blaring and egregious errors.  This was a failure all around, and someone should have spotted them at one of many points along way.


You need to review all of your marketing materials before letting them get into the hands of your customers!  Seriously, this isn’t an optional step in the marketing process. It is one of the most important steps you should be taking.  


As a consumer, what would be your reaction upon receiving something like this from a business trying to catch your attention?  As a business, either the one making the flyers or the one using them in your marketing plan, what possible excuse could there be for these errors?  Or, am I making a mountain out of a molehill in this situation? 

  • Jeffrey Trull

    Honestly, I do get annoyed by these mistakes, especially when they’re so obviously wrong. It just looks sloppy, and it makes me wonder if they’re just as sloppy in conducting their actual business.

    I will say that I might not care so much about it for a place “Rosas Pizza” (let’s face it, they probably sell crappy, greasy pizza anyway), but if we’re talking professional services, I could see mistakes like these being a total deal-breaker!

    I’m always surprised that there’s no copy editing from whoever printed this flyer, either. You would think that printers or sign makers would be great at grammar and proofreading, but maybe they don’t offer that or they just don’t care? I’d hope they at least read this over before printing thousands of copies for me!

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I never even considered eating there either, and I knew about them before I saw this.  For some reason, I look at marketing items I receive from others for errors and/or design flaws.  Don’t ask me why, it’s just something I do lol. 

      I totally agree that if it were a company I had been considering doing business with, I would really have to think long and hard about that decision.  To me it’s just a major failure all the way around!

  • John @MarriedWithDebt

    This place might actually be authentic Italian, because using the comma instead of decimal is something you see in some European countries on menus. The phone numbers are a different story.

    “Angel hair meat sauce” concerns me and makes my appetite go away.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      That funny, John, as I was concentrating on the numeric representations and cutting them slack for the English errors and you’re doing the opposite.  Actually, now that you mention it, if they know enough to put the $ in there, then they should know enough to format the figure correctly.  Besides, they are in a business and generally American area so it’s not like they’re in Little Italy or anything.  Extra bonus, the printer if they used on (which I would assume they did) should really have known better.

  • JT

    Maybe not an error, but an annoyance for me is pricing.  On occasion I’ll find that a half-something is $4.99 but the full-something is $9.99.  In other words, two half-somethings are $9.98 and one full-something is $9.99, or $.01 more. 

    Depending on how much sleep I got the night before, and how cranky I am, I’ll usually order two halves to save the penny.

  • JT

    Maybe not an error, but an annoyance for me is pricing.  On occasion I’ll find that a half-something is $4.99 but the full-something is $9.99.  In other words, two half-somethings are $9.98 and one full-something is $9.99, or $.01 more. 

    Depending on how much sleep I got the night before, and how cranky I am, I’ll usually order two halves to save the penny.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I swear I’ve been trying to remember a situation that was very similar, but for the life of me it’s been escaping my grasp.  Suck to be getting old!

      You never know, though, depending on how many times people choose the whole over the half and the volume sold, that can make a difference on the bottom line!

  • Rachel

    I work for a printing company, and I know the owner would be appalled if something like this was actually shipped to a customer. Of course, we offer proofing in house. Perhaps it was an online printing company that just prints the file you send. Regardless, the menu freaks me out. Just what does “Ask me for all week” mean?

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I wondered what that line meant too Rachel!  In that particular case, I simply chalked it up to a language issue.  I really should stop by there and ask who did the printing.  It’s only 2 blocks from my office, and it would be interesting to know.

  • Thad Puckett

    I am with you Eric.  If you want to do business, you have to know your market.  And making those kinds of errors doesn’t improve your marketability. 

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I wonder how the market is reacting to this.  I never really see many cars in the parking lot to begin with, and I’ve never been in there myself.  Hmm, haven had pizza in a while, maybe a little visit is in order…

  • Evan @ Smartwealth

    Wow that is pretty bad.  Jay Leno normally goes over something similar to this, fans send in local ads/newspaper clipings with misspelled words.  It really is amazing, I mean the market is so competitive no matter what your business is, even a pizzeria, and you are spending hard earned money on advertising, how can you not have someone look it over?  It is too bad if they actually have a good product but kept a potential customer away because of their ad.

    • Eric J. Nisall – DollarVersity

      I’ve seen clips of those Leno headlines.  I actually like some of the ones with the double meanings and how no one considered how they could be interpreted.

      With so many places tightening the budgets, I have a difficult time understanding how something like this could have occurred.  But, it could be a good lesson to others of what not to do!

  • Barbara Friedberg

    Wow, that is deplorable. someone needs to do some proofing. It makes the business appear second rate.