The Secret Marketer: are spelling and grammar no longer seen as important business skills?

Secret Marketer

You know you are getting old when you get a text from your son… and you have to read it four or five times, then resort to Google Translate to turn it into something you can understand. And you know you’re even older when you get the same kind of messages from your team.

I have always held that it is the marketing department that should be the most creative part of the business – we should write the best copy, have the best images in our presentations, and walking onto our floor should give you a buzz that you have arrived in the fun part of the company.

Our products should be displayed creatively on the walls, pop-ups should articulate our brand in the way we would want our customer to see, and the environment should be conducive to creative thought.

Intriguingly, this feedback was from younger team members who feel quite at ease LOL-ing to each other

It was therefore slightly worried when I received 360-degree feedback from my team this week (as part of our annual appraisal process) that they dislike the fact I correct their grammar on business cases and that I criticise the layout in some of their internal documents. They argue that as these are (only) for internal consumption, as a senior executive of the company I should be worrying about whether the proposed campaign is on strategy and the return on investment satisfactory – not whether the name of the product is spelt correctly or whether the text justification flows properly.

When I questioned this feedback, I received a fairly consistent response from the team – that spelling and grammar are no longer seen as important business skills.

Intriguingly, much of this push-back was from the younger members of the team – who feel quite at ease LOL-ing to each other.

So, am I alone in this view? Are we really in a society where vowels are superfluous, and layouts and images of no consequence? Shouldn’t we as marketers make a stand and lead by example in showing that communication is an art – no matter who the audience – whether that be customers, our agencies, fellow colleagues or the board? How can we be expected to create killer customer propositions and campaigns if our own thought process is so cluttered? Can we really be Jekyll and Hyde characters – writing our planning process like teenagers one minute, and then turning out perfectly presented customer prose the next?

Makes me want to PMSL…

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