Marketing compliance refers to the adherence of your marketing team to the industry and governmental regulations that apply to their activities. Regulations are put in place to ensure that all participants in the domain abide by the standards of proper and legal practice, so marketing compliance also means that you value your customers and want to uphold the reputation of your field.
- Ensure honesty in marketing claims (e.g., “100% guaranteed to” should mean just that)
- Discourage bad-faith marketing practices (e.g., hidden fees or abusing legal loopholes)
- Limit predatory marketing practices and improve accountability
- Provide consumers with pathways for redress
- Guarantee security of consumer information (e.g., GDPR)
The Advantages of Compliance
While marketing compliance is primarily intended to protect consumers, it also has very important implications and advantages for marketers themselves. As such, in many instances, marketing compliance can mean adhering to a set of voluntary industry standards that aim to raise the level of trust and value of the field as a whole. The advantages of compliance can be varied, including:
- It can become a badge which adds value to a brand (e.g., Fairtrade products)
- Avoiding having to compete with bad-faith actors, such as competitors grossly overstating their products capabilities
- Discovery of non-compliance can lead to losses in trust and, subsequently, sales
- Giving consumers a quick and easy understanding of the standards you work to
- Failing to comply can lead to large fines or being excluded from markets
How to Improve Compliance
- Set “baked-in” standards
Compliance might seem like a complicated undertaking, but it is actually a lot easier than it might seem. Good marketing compliance starts with putting standards and best practices in place that are written into all activities and overseen by appropriate managers and team leaders. Making sure that compliance is always a priority means that every task is performed with that in mind and thus avoiding having a plethora of compliance “loose-ends” that have to be tied up at regular intervals.
- Inform your team
Your team follows the example that’s set for them if a manager’s response to a compliance query is “I’m sure it’ll be fine” rather than, “we should check that out” they either have an incredible level of regulatory knowledge or they’re not taking it seriously enough. For onboarding or updating employees, make sure that they know the risks involved for the organization caused by non-compliance and, if possible, distribute easy checklists to ensure their tasks are complying with the standards expected.
- Ensure security through monitoring
Managers end up monitoring most people’s work in one way or another, so adding compliance to that list of things to check for shouldn’t be too complicated a request. To hone compliance oversight skills, devise simple tests and guidelines that are quick and simple to check against.
- Create a specified role
For medium-sized or large companies, creating a specific position, i.e., a compliance officer or even a dedicated department, can be a necessity. These staff should be able to undertake monitoring and setting of guidelines, as well as being on hand to answer the queries of other teams.