With the ever-changing landscape of today’s marketplace, regulatory bodies are constantly reviewing and updating advertising guidelines to protect consumers. Just this year, the ACCC announced it would be ramping up its efforts to penalise businesses that were found guilty of misleading conduct or data breaches.
According to an ABC report: “Under new laws before Parliament, the penalty for consumer breaches by a company will rise from $1.1 million to $10 million, or 10 per cent of turnover.”
The change in laws will affect all brands that are non-compliant. Nonetheless, businesses in highly regulated industries will need to go the extra mile to ensure their marketing efforts are in line with industry standards. After all, if a breach is discovered, your brand not only faces larger fines, it will also take a hit to its reputation.
With this, here’s our best practices for maintaining your marketing compliance in a tightly regulated industry.
1. Get Legal or Compliance involved at the early stages of planning your marketing calendar.
Hindsight is a great thing. Imagine if you’d known that running a particular type of competition across multiple states and territories could be so fraught with legal issues. It could save you many sleepless nights if you met with Legal or Compliance when brainstorming your marketing ideas. With preliminary feedback, you’d get a clear picture of how complex or time consuming certain campaigns are so that you can build this into your approval workflow. You’d also know earlier rather than later which projects are never going to get the green light.
2. Document your approval workflow to eliminate guesswork or skipping steps that lead to compliance issues.
Processes provide an organised framework that help marketing teams reduce risk and errors. By documenting your approval process, you’re strategically mapping out each touchpoint in the workflow to avoid inefficiencies and errors that may lead to non-compliance. Be sure to provide your stakeholders, especially Legal and Compliance, with enough time to review marketing content so that mistakes don’t get overlooked. If you’re not convinced your approval workflow is quite up to scratch, it might be time to plan a review.
Suggested Reading: Tips on refining your marketing approval workflow
3. Keep communications within your marketing team clear and transparent.
It’s important that you and your marketing team are all on the same page when it comes to managing your marketing projects. Organise a weekly update meeting to discuss any issues that arise including compliance risks. Be sure that everyone is across marketing protocols and changing compliance regulations. Any new staff members should be brought up to speed on the importance of following marketing guidelines and where the most current ones are located.
4. Automate your approval workflow to avoid non-compliance issues.
Project management or approval workflow software not only enables marketers to turn work around faster, it reduces work that has traditionally been error-prone (think spreadsheets and email approvals). The ability to build your own approval tiers and pathways guarantees you don’t miss critical stakeholders in your approval process. The software also saves a clear audit trail of marketing work which is critical in your kind of industry. Some of these tools also have an integrated DAM feature which eliminates the risk of someone using the wrong branding assets. You can also control the licensing of images more carefully with automated reminders that alert you to expiry dates.
5. Stay up to date with marketing regulations in your industry.
Last but certainly not least, it’s paramount that you and your marketing team are always up to date with current compliance standards and regulations. Meet monthly or quarterly with your Legal or Compliance team to they can provide you with news on regulation changes that affect your industry. Sign up for regular updates from regulatory bodies in your industry. If you work for an international brand, be sure you know about the changing guidelines and regulations in each country that you operate in. Read more about Australia’s current advertising and marketing regulations.
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