The Official Blog of Acuity Knowledge Partners

Marketing Compliance – Look out before you roll out

Published on January 23, 2019 by Suresh Chavali

Marketers focus on creating marketing materials, such as online content or a brochure, demonstrating the benefits of their products/services in a visually appealing manner. The marketing materials, targeted at consumers, help marketers derive traction and strengthen the sales and branding strategy of their product/service. Often, marketers get so glued to the design aspect of the material that they forget to maintain a right balance between the content and the practicalities and legalities of marketing compliance.

These marketing compliance standards protect the interest of consumers so that they are not misguided or deceived by the marketing material and take any decisions solely based on the information provided in such materials. Hence, marketing compliance makes sure that the information is always in line with the rules and regulations prevailing at that particular time irrespective of the kind of medium used to promote the material.

Why is it important in the first place?

In today's digitalized world, marketing content of a company is scattered across various places in different formats, such as brochures, fact sheets, and videos. The first impression a consumer gets about a brand is crucial since messing around with anything as important as marketing can send a negative message to the public, stating that the business is deceitful and not trustworthy. Recovering from such a reputational damage is usually a costly affair.

There are laws in place that prohibit the use of certain language for the purpose of marketing, and violating such laws can be devastating. From a financial standpoint, the business can lose revenue due to consumer's losing trust and the investments required to win that trust back. More than anything, investments made on the failed campaign itself can hurt revenue.

How to Comply with marketing compliance standards?

The rules and regulations governing the marketing compliance standards change from time to time. However, there are certain guidelines that the marketing and sales teams can follow to avoid falling prey to regulators.

    1. Step into the consumer's shoes: The end goal of the compliance is to protect the interests of the consumer. Step into their shoes and see if the message in the marketing material is clear, would they be able to understand, and come to an informed decision. If not, then there is some ambiguity that needs to be worked upon.

    2. Potential red flags: Look out for potential red flags that might look a bit tricky and there is a higher probability that these might be non-compliant. Few of them are listed below:

  • Misleading remarks/descriptions

  • Claims without any evidence

  • Claims that are aggressive

  • Claims that are false/unfair

  • Special offers

    3. Prioritize compliance: Business should work towards incorporating compliance at the heart of their marketing process. Marketers should be watchful of what they put in front of the consumer, have compliance go through the materials in detail, and then follow the compliance’s instructions for changes if any.

Do you need an external compliance support?

Yes. It doesn't matter if a business is large or small, but the fact is that the marketing material compliance applies to each and every organization equally. Hence, many businesses opt to outsource their marketing material compliance practice to reputed third parties who are experts in existing and evolving regulations.

And that is exactly what Acuity Knowledge Partners (MA Knowledge Services) does for their clients. They have specialist resources who understand the compliance requirements on a global scale and help their client’s sales and marketing teams to focus on their core responsibilities, while Acuity Knowledge Partners looks out for all the red flags and avoid compliance violations.

The Acuity Knowledge Partners Advantage:

    1. Availability of scalable and dedicated workforce to meet strict timelines

    2. Track record of meeting stringent SLAs

    3. A trained pool of marketing material review resources

    4. Exemplary experience - conducted over 1000+ marketing material reviews

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About the Author

Suresh Chavali has over 11 years of experience in compliance, having worked for various firms including Barclays and Deutsche Bank. His expertise spans across the risk and compliance sector, focusing on know your customer (KYC) and risk management. At Acuity Knowledge Partners he is responsible for Pre-sales and Product Management support to Compliance Services. Suresh has done his engineering from JNTU Hyderabad.

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