In many organisations, regulation is widely regarded as a headache. However, compliance doesn’t have to be dull and regulation doesn’t need to be negative.
Brought in to improve consumer protection, there is a growing tendency from forward-thinking firms to view regulations as a simple list of things that firms can’t do. Whereas, compliance can expand beyond this and be everything firms can do.
These regulations are creating an environment where marketing teams have to know their customers more thoroughly. By being able to show a greater understanding of their clients’ circumstances and the regulatory ramifications around these, marketing campaigns have the potential to carry with them greater resonance and personalisation.
Regulation isn’t going away, so marketers have to adapt by understanding the implications of regulation along with the most effective digital tools available to help them solve these challenges. Only then can they build marketing strategies that can be both creative and ensure compliance requirements are met.
It's time to let your website flourish (compliantly)
This is well and good, but how can proactive compliance be integrated into a website marketing strategy? Thankfully, there are many ways open-minded marketing teams can embrace these regulations and still give their campaigns life and creativity.
Know your customer and tailor experiences
The simplest and best way to ensure regulations are adhered to, and CX is personalised, is to know who the customer is and what they want. This goes beyond simple demographic metrics such as sex, age and income. What do they like? What do they hope to achieve? What are they scared of?
With a spotlight now firmly on data protection, customers have never been more concerned with how their data is being used. With financial services, money is a very emotive subject and closely linked to someone’s dreams and aspirations. For instance, instead of simply marketing a mortgage, it is the dream of home ownership that is being marketed.
Remember that marketing isn’t just about facilitating sales. Instead, think about where can marketing add value for prospective customers? Would a prospective customer want to be educated first? Or entertained?
Just as all customers are different, so are their journeys and how they want to interact with a brand. Paying greater attention to the journey a prospective customer takes, and how much information they are willing to forfeit during this, can not only strengthen a marketing campaign’s personalisation qualities but also further satisfy regulatory suitability concerns.
Understand financial promotions regulation
The FCA defines a Financial Promotion (FP) as an 'invitation or inducement to engage in investment activity'. Essentially anything that promotes your firm's offering or products is considered a financial promotion and this applies to all of your chosen communication channels - website, social media, email, etc.
Marketers need to understand the regulation but if they really want to ensure compliance is at the heart of what they do, they need to take their knowledge a step further. To help, here are a few questions we believe you need to ask yourself:
- What impending changes are due to come in that relate to financial promotions?
- What is the regulator really trying to get at?
- What are the most common mistakes that marketing can make when addressing the compliance requirements?
- How does the FCA conduct assessments of financial promotions?
Core to GDPR is the concept of purpose limitation, meaning a client’s data should only be used for the express purposes they give it over for. High profile scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica / Facebook scandal have many of us paranoid about how our information is being used.
With consumers paying greater attention to how their information is used, how can trust be established early on? By embracing transparency and regulation, brands can show their sincerity by how seriously they take regulations and customer protection.
As a result, it's no surprise that data protection complaints have almost doubled year-on-year from 21,019 to 41,661 and this number is set to rise.
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you'll be aware that The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has for the first time used new powers to punish companies that break laws protecting consumers’ data. British Airways and the Marriott were the first firms to be recently targeted, handing them fines totalling almost £300m.
Our advice? Marketers need to consult their legal and compliance teams and ensure their website does more than just answer the regulation. We believe that firms should focus on building trust by making it a key brand value and then build initiatives around this.
Do more than just pay lip service
At the core of the FCA’s regulatory mission is the focus on encouraging better practice throughout the financial services industry. Essentially by improving conduct, firms can show a deeper respect for regulation and also improve their brand reputation at the same time.
This has sparked a wave of improvement in the world of financial services but more still needs to be done. Marketing and compliance teams must be proactive but so do business leaders, there are wider reputation ramifications at play (hence the fast-approaching SM&CR).
Initiatives should be built around this very foundation so each department can become more accountable. It's only through believing in the power of conduct can firms change their current processes and practices.
Your website is your most key communication channel, so don't stop improving it. Does your website serve your users and customers in the best way possible whilst respecting their data rights? Have you made the necessary steps to be fully compliant with GDPR and ePrivacy? Do you capture and store web archives for compliance? If you own firm had your personal or business data would you feel it was in safe hands and used responsibly?
Once again, this isn't an exhaustive list of questions, but ones to help marketers and firms think about their current practises. If the idea of improving conduct isn't enough to inspire motivation then businesses need only to look at the recent fines from the ICO. No business is exempt and the financial implications for non compliance are huge.
Want to regain some marketing creativity with compliance in mind? Check out our eGuide: The Compliant Marketer's Ultimate Guide to Building Personalised Experiences...