5 Habits of Highly Compliant Marketers: Regulatory Dimensions
There are new habits and tools that make it easy for marketers to be efficient and compliant without sacrificing speed or creativity.
24 June 2015
Compliant marketing habits aren’t just for regulated industries — they’re good business practices for everyone.
The need to share content — securely, collaboratively, immediately — is a critical part of a marketer’s job. Marketers need to work with outside agencies and business partners, sharing documents that contain sensitive data like product designs, ad campaigns and customer data, to name just a few.
According to research from the Ponemon Institute, more than six out of ten people report having accidentally forwarded files to individuals not authorized to see them. It’s high time marketers created some good habits that let them collaborate with internal and external resources and still be 100% compliant with the regulations that govern their specific industries — especially regulated industries such as Financial Services and Life Sciences.
Intralinks recently invited me to share my views in a webinar on 5 Habits of Highly Compliant Marketers — outlining new habits and tools that make it easy for marketers to be efficient and compliant without sacrificing speed or creativity. I was joined by Intralinks’ CMO, Thor Johnson, who shared three client stories that show how Intralinks VIA® provides the tools marketers need to do their job while maintaining compliance and increasing efficiency.
Throughout the discussion, it became clear to our viewers that the habits I described are not just compliant, they’re really just good business practices.
Here are some highlights.
What does it mean to be a compliant marketer, or a compliant employee?
It means dealing with the additional challenge of meeting high standards of compliance and yet still delivering personalized, relevant experiences.
The cost of non-compliance isn’t just bad publicity for your brand. It can also have a huge financial impact. Failure to comply with certain regulations can result in heavy fines and sanctions.
So to avoid the penalties, and to be highly compliant in the way we operate, marketers need to develop some habits.
For many of us, regulations can make us feel as though our hands are tied. But really, regulations are good for us — it gives us guidelines to work toward — marketers operating in highly regulated industries actually gain an advantage. Following the rules makes us better marketers. Because the rules we follow are also just good business practices.
There are several different dimensions of regulations: Industry, Channel, Geography, and Demographics.
- Geography: Regulations vary greatly, depending on geography. Countries, states and even local municipalities can have their own regulations about what is allowable for marketers. For example:
- In Russia, advertising for alcohol was banned in almost all media in 2013.
- In Sweden and Norway, advertising to children under the age of 12 is illegal.
- Canada’s anti-spam legislation is now in effect, and it’s one of the toughest in the world.
- Channel: There are multiple channels that marketers use that also have their own rules to abide by. For instance:
- Channels such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook each have their own sets of rules for different industries.
- Both Google and Microsoft have policies that restrict or outlaw the promotion of alcohol and tobacco products on their advertising networks, as does Facebook.
- Email marketers need to be aware of spam laws.
- Font size specifications based on audience and channel are an example of a marketing regulation that can generate big fines if not observed.
- Television in the U.K. for example, must receive clearance from the body Clearcast.
- Another example is Venezuela where clearance is governed by a body called CNAC. The clearance provides the guarantee to the broadcasters that the content of the advertisement meets legal guidelines. Because of this, special extended clearance is sometimes applied to food & medical products as well as gambling ads.
- Telemarketing is governed by the “Do not call list”
- Industry: As we all know, there are many industries with regulatory controls. Here are a few examples:
- Healthcare, pharmaceuticals, and health insurance companies must make sure their marketing communications conform to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
- Financial services advertising must meet a variety of guidelines from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and non-governmental organizations such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
- The Dodd-Frank Act, which was enacted after the 2008 financial crisis, has hundreds of rules that cover banking and financial services.
- Many more: For example, alcohol and tobacco companies have very strict government regulations on their marketing. And for other organizations such as as funeral providers, jewelry, real estate, appliances — chances are there’s specific regulations in place that relates to your industry too.
- Demographics: Just like geography, specific stipulations apply when marketing to various demographic groups (specifically seniors and children).
- Marketers targeting Medicare or Medicare-eligible populations must remain in compliance with the Medicare Marketing Guidelines set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in addition to HIPPA.
- And any business advertising to children under 13 through online channels must comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
So, now that we have established various dimensions of regulation, in tomorrow’s post, I will share a few recommended habits for highly compliant marketers to follow. And if you want to get a head start, you can watch our webinar for insights. Stay tuned!
Lisa Cannon is a content marketing consultant with over 20 years of experience working with clients in technology, healthcare, manufacturing and professional services. As a creative writer, editor, and marketer, she specializes in using content to drive targeted action. She helps businesses in regulated, IP-centric and non-regulated industries build connections with customers and prospects by creating relevant, personalized communications that form lasting relationships. Above all, Lisa is dedicated to making complex, technical subjects easy to understand.