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?