If there is one mistake I see in printed marketing materials more commonly than any other, it must be the misuse of the words affect and effect. If you have not read the other posts on word use and marketing materials, then you will have missed the point I make, that not only can misusing these words annoy and confuse your customers, but in certain instances, there could be legal consequences. In order to avoid all these undesirable outcomes, please take the time to get these two (and other) similar-sounding words right!
Affect has three meanings, and in most cases, whoever is writing your marketing materials can ignore two of them. The two that can almost always be ignored are affect used as a noun (meaning emotion, which is mostly used by people in mental health professions) and affect used as a verb, meaning display (“She pretentiously affected a French accent”).
That leaves you with the one common use of the word affect, which is a word used as a verb, meaning to have an influence on something: “The recession did not affect our third-quarter sales.” “The recall does not affect cars made after 1998.”
And then we have effect, which also has two meanings. First, we have effect used as a noun, which means the result of something. “The effect on our sales was increased growth in the Southeast.” “The recall had a terrible effect on sales.” “The effect of promoting women resulted in increased savings for our division.”
The word effect used as a verb means to make or create. “We will effect these changes immediately.” And if you are using it in a phrase, you want something to take effect. “The changes passed at the January board meeting will take effect on the first of April.”
In your marketing materials, you will most commonly use effective. “The changes announced in last week’s meeting will be effective immediately.” “Our projections show that the modifications will be effective in reducing costs to consumers.”
In the vast majority of marketing materials, you will find that effect is the word you mean when you are using it as a noun. When you are using a verb, you will have to decide between effect (make or create), or affect (influence). Don’t let these two words become confused, because the effect on your customers could affect your sales in a way you don’t like!