How to Improve Your Marketing Compliance Review
Compliance reviews are rarely at the top of a marketer's list of favorite things to do. However, as the rules and regulations surrounding data security and customer privacy grow increasingly stringent, it represents a vital step in the creative process.
Wondering how to conduct a marketing compliance review in an efficient and timely way? We've put together a helpful guide to making the process as easy and painless as possible.
What exactly is a marketing compliance review?
A compliance review assesses the efficacy of your company's efforts to comply with laws that protect consumers. As well as helping you avoid legal issues and reputational damage, a review will ensure your customers are never deceived or disappointed by dodgy marketing tactics.
An effective marketing compliance program typically includes the following core aspects:
- Clear policies surrounding how to create compliant marketing assets: Factors to consider include how to make disclaimers and disclosures, where and how to include legal texts in marketing collateral, and what sorts of claims to avoid.
- Methods for approving marketing assets: They must verify that the assets in question abide by industry standards and regulations.
- A process for tracking changes made in response to compliance reviews: This will speed up the approval process and ensure all relevant parties are accountable for their actions.
- A documented history of approvals: This history should include decisions about how to manage brand assets and compliance across your business.
Many marketers believe compliance reviews represent the final step in the process of asset creation. However, companies hoping to optimize the efficiency of their creative processes must hold regular compliance reviews. Doing so will ensure compliance problems are caught early, thus helping developers and marketing professionals avoid having to make significant revisions to their finished assets.
What challenges are involved in marketing compliance reviews?
Marketing compliance reviews can be complex, particularly if you operate in an industry subject to rigorous regulation such as food or cosmetics. Marketing leaders preparing to embark on a compliance review must consider the following common challenges:
1. The review process is difficult to document
Your employees may use a confusing combination of email addresses, paper communications, and Excel spreadsheets to complete tasks related to compliance. What's more, your marketers may use outdated technologies to complete compliance reviews. If they continue to send assets to your legal team via email, for example, they will create long paper trails that are difficult to trace.
2. Your teams store marketing assets in illogical ways
Poor storage practices make it is difficult to locate the latest approved versions of your marketing collateral. As such, your marketing team may waste time manually sifting through content changes and approvals.
3. Laws and regulations are constantly changing
The rules surrounding product branding, disclaimers, social media campaigners, and the use of influencers are subject to change. As such, your marketers struggle to keep up with what kinds of assets they can and cannot create. To make matters worse, rules may differ across platforms. You may face more restrictions when posting a product on social media, for example, than when listing one on your website.
4. Tracing marketing activities is difficult thanks to the sheer number of systems, employees and stakeholders involved
Regardless of which industry you operate within, your marketing assets are likely to pass through the hands of many collaborators from a variety of teams. As such, you may have trouble ascertaining when and if compliance analyses have taken place. Your legal team may also direct compliance feedback toward the wrong parties.
Tips for streamlining your marketing compliance review
While compliance reviews have traditionally been considered tricky, time-consuming, and a little laborious, there are plenty of simple ways to streamline the process. The key to enforcing an effective compliance program is to invest in technologies that reduce the amount of manual labor involved.
Here are just a few hints and tips for maintaining compliance and protecting your brand image:
1. Introduce workflow schedules for your marketing team
A workflow template represents a standardized approach to asset production that instructs creatives when to complete specific tools. Formalize your review stages by adding them to your employees' workflow schedules, ensuring that you are able to trace every compliance review that takes place.
Setting strict deadlines in the workflow template will prevent delays in asset production, while status tracking will enhance visibility and transparency across your business. In other words, your compliance team will be able to view every compliance approval and revision request, helping them understand decision-making processes and optimize your company's compliance program.
2. Invest in digital proofing tools
There are plenty of innovative digital proofing tools out there designed to help graphic designers and developers with marketing compliance. Measurement tools, for example, can help designers ensure disclaimers are legible and compliant with sizing laws.
3. Keep an updated record of your regulatory obligations
Create a guide to compliance laws and update it regularly. If you store it in a centralized and accessible location, marketers won't have to spend hours Googling the latest relevant rules and restrictions.
4. Aid collaboration with storage technologies
Are your compliance reviews complicated by the fact that marketers and developers store multiple versions of the same asset across several locations? Avoid this by investing in a collaboration tool that uses cloud storage.
Most productivity platforms come with authorization features, allowing you to restrict asset access and reduce the number of files necessary for a single project. You can also control which employees are permitted to add comments or modify a project, thus reducing confusion surrounding the authorization process. During the final stage of a project, for example, only your legal team will be able to modify the asset and make recommendations.
5. Document everything
Remember to store a detailed trail of all compliance processes, preferably using a secure cloud network. This will come in useful if a regulator ever approaches you for evidence of your compliance processes.