Five ways marketing can work better with compliance
May 22, 2020 • 5 min read
Right now, marketing teams are facing an uphill struggle. As well as attempting to engage with target audiences that are now a lot savvier to marketing, there are more regulations to meet and a 'new normal' to adapt to.
Therefore, it seems quite obvious to say that marketing and compliance teams have to work better together - especially in an industry like financial services which contains a huge amount of regulations aimed at consumer protection.
The challenge here (beyond what we're currently experiencing) is that marketing and compliance inherently come from different perspectives. To quote Jeremy Usborne from Channel 4’s Peep Show when discussing the difference between creativity and management: _"Here be beauty, there be… pie charts."
While your marketing team will want to reach out, create digital content and make noise, the compliance department – already tasked with ensuring numerous other regulatory requirements are met – will want to keep any risks to an absolute minimum.
Unfortunately, this can lead to clashes.
Imagine a brilliant and witty marketing campaign aimed at getting students to invest. It has all the promise of becoming a noteworthy campaign, generating decent leads and potentially attracting national attention!
However, at the 11th hour it’s realised that this campaign has unclear risk warnings and the language has arguably biased elements. Not only are marketing frustrated (with hours' more work required on an already time-consuming project), but compliance has to dedicate further resources to what is essentially a non-vital part of the business – but no less critical in the eyes of the regulator.
We’ve got a lot of experience in this field, so to help you work better with compliance here are five key steps:
1. Inform compliance ahead of schedule
In the example we gave earlier, an obvious mistake had been made. In their rush to create a great campaign, this marketing team hadn’t consulted with the compliance department until it was too late in the day. Approval systems are required for all financial promotions, but doing this sooner allows more time to catch potential issues and both departments will be generally better informed.
Action point: Look at your content calendar and make time for approval processes at least a week before the date of publication.
2. Involve compliance in the content creation process
Engaging with compliance sooner than necessary may seem obvious, but you can go further. How do you and your team usually create content? At what point are ideas made and then planned out before implementation? Here you could save everyone a lot of strife by engaging with compliance and running ideas past them to see what has more of a chance of being published with little trouble (obviously, formal approval processes still apply).
Key takeaway: After your weekly or monthly marketing strategy meeting, invite someone from compliance over to give them a quick update and let them know your plans.
3. Ensure compliance and marketing understand one another
In a nutshell you both know what each other's department does, but it goes a lot further than that. Do you know how many regulations compliance has to continually monitor and the systems these require? And do compliance appreciate the pressures marketing are under and how much work goes into a campaign? Not only can this help you understand schedule constraints but the effort to learn about colleagues' burdens will not go unnoticed...
Action point: Without discussing your marketing campaigns, grab a quick coffee with someone from compliance and find out a little bit more about them and their workload.
4. Carry out (semi) regular audits together
No one likes content audits and you can easily go down a rabbit hole with them. But, it’s important to do them and carrying these out alongside compliance can be an invaluable learning experience. As well as finding pieces of content that could be recycled and republished, you might come across mistakes that shouldn’t be repeated.
Action point: Schedule some quick and semi-regular audits with compliance. Instead of going for anything too big, make it manageable and strive to only audit a particular section or campaign.
5. Revisit old archives together
To go one step further than an audit, make use of website archives and how interactive they are. By sitting down with compliance to go back through these together, you can learn a lot about your old website and the compliance challenges that remain.
This is why website archiving is so important, creating fully interactive archives of your website - a snapshot of your website and content in time. Unlike a static screenshot, you can engage with such archives and they could form the basis of extremely useful training exercises between compliance and marketing.
Action Point: When you and your compliance team revisit old archives together, do so through the eyes of specific buyer personas. Consider what information they’d want to see, the options they’d click and generally get an idea of the journeys your website offers. As well as potentially identifying room for improvement from a compliance perspective, the exercise could benefit UX too.