A reader’s letter to my local newspaper caught my eye this week. It came from a 10-year old girl complaining about the incorrect use of an apostrophe in a headline.

Is this just a precocious schoolgirl pointing out a minor error, or does it highlight a deeper lesson for many grown-ups? I ask because just days earlier a senior engineer in a large company was telling me that with the prevalence of so-called text-speak, it doesn’t matter if a company’s communications contains the odd spelling or grammatical error – people will understand the meaning anyway.

But even if that is true, it misses the point. What kind of a professional image does a company convey if it has no eye for detail in its communications? Customers will (rightly) think the same attitude permeates all its operations. Such a lack of rigour can damage a business.

Great B2B marketing content is well-written and well-targeted. It addresses the customer’s needs. It educates and informs. It focuses laser-like on the customer, not on the company doing the marketing. And its meaning must be crystal clear, without errors.

Sometimes the young can teach valuable lessons to the more mature. Well spotted schoolgirl!

Oh and for some insight into how not to use apostrophes, there’s even a website devoted to the topic with hundreds of examples.