Judging by the proliferation of poor-to-mediocre business writing, maybe excellence is passé. Maybe all a company really needs is effective writing.
An organization that wants me to buy its IT services recently emailed me a trial offer. The email was brief but riddled with mistakes in grammar, syntax and spelling. Could such writing possibly be considered effective? Absolutely. If the email won some new accounts, it would have to be deemed effective. After all, effective business writing is simply writing that brings desired results. But this email it certainly couldn’t be considered excellent business writing, typos aside.
Excellent writing not only brings results but it also accomplishes other important objectives (often indirectly) such as positioning a company as an innovator or thought-leader, revealing its dedication to quality, reinforcing its reputation for superior customer service, etc. Thanks to its poorly executed email message, the IT services company that contacted me indicated quite clearly its strengths DON’T include attention to detail or quality. Even so, the email might have achieved the intended results — just not from me.
So the question remains: does any company truly need excellent business writing? Maybe not. But I hope somewhere out there a few still desire it.