5 Compliance Guidelines Every Marketer Needs to Know

Many marketers apply marketing compliance in their work every day, to varying degrees, but don’t even fully understand the concept. Or how essential it is.

With so many eyes and ears out there increasingly taking note of a company’s digital content and online presence, businesses have to tread more carefully than ever. It does mean a lot of extra admin work to ensure that all outgoing digital content is compliant with internal and external regulations. But the result is digital safety and consumer trust: two things that have untold value.

So, let’s take a look at marketing compliance, as well as the top compliance guidelines every marketer needs to adhere to.

What is Marketing Compliance?

At its heart, marketing compliance protects customers. It also protects the company from being liable for any leaked or incorrect information.

So, marketing compliance ensures that the company’s marketing content, customer relations, and data handling comply with rules and regulations. It can be small-scale, like how the company’s privacy policy is set up, and much bigger, like making sure its website complies with the EU’s GDPR laws.

Not being compliant with these regulations can result in many negative consequences – and not just by losing the respect of customers. Between 2020 and 2021, penalty fees for those who didn’t comply with the GDPR have totaled $191.5 million so far.

Marketing teams who stay up to date with compliance principles ensure they hold up the company’s reputation and pocket!

5 Essential Marketing Compliance Guidelines For Every Marketer

1. Ask for Consent

Privacy has taken center stage in everyone’s minds these days as data scandals and abuse by large corporations like Google and Facebook come to light. News agencies and watchdogs have also become more scrutinizing, and don’t hesitate to call out any perceived privacy infringements.

Consent has to be given at every stage of data collection. When a person visits the company’s website, when they provide personal information, and when they give any contact details like an email address. 

Even if the customer is willingly providing an email address for the company’s newsletter, implying that they are fine with receiving emails, for instance. The landing page or website still has to include a checkmark box asking if the person consents to receive the company’s emails.

A big part of ensuring compliance is just covering all of these types of bases.

2. Only Gather Necessary Data and Be Transparent About How It’s Used

People don’t want marketing agencies or companies to farm them for their data. The worth of personal privacy is very apparent these days, and most people are much more hesitant to give out any information. 

Online content that asks for a lot of personal details tends to be viewed in a negative light. Such as when people log into a website or take part in a competition, especially if these details are required and seem unnecessary.

On top of only requiring necessary personal information, be upfront about how that information will be stored, used and whether it will be shared. This can help reassure anyone reluctant to hand over personal details.

3. Be Honest About Sponsored Content / Influencer Partnerships

Influencer partnerships and sponsored articles on authority websites and other sources can be incredibly rewarding relationships for both parties. But lying about that relationship creates a recipe for mistrust and boycotting by customers. Getting caught trying to pass off an ad as a genuine recommendation or review is a bad look.

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking it won’t come to light. Maybe people never find out, but can the company’s reputation survive the hit if they do? Reputable influencers and websites will also likely refuse a partnership with a company that has a reputation for hiding its marketing relationships.

4. Give Credit Where It’s Due

Marketers often use content created by someone else, such as memes, photos, or videos. It’s not always wrong to use content that wasn’t created for the business. But the original creators must be given credits.  

Where possible, try to ask the creator for permission as well. Copyright battles between companies and creators are very common. One of the latest incidents involves a photographer suing Volvo for sharing their photo on Instagram.

5. Ensure the Rest of the Team is Updated

When working as part of a team,everyone must be on the same page. This includes IT specialists and graphic designers. Anyone who works with customer-facing content or customer data has to be updated on the rules and how the company will approach them. 

Be sure to keep everyone up to date on any new developments as well. The rules don’t change all that often, but it’s important to be on top of them when they do.

The Bottom Line

There is little room for error these days, and being compliant should not be a gamble. Audiences, especially millennials, care about transparency and have confirmed that they would rather support businesses that are transparent and stick to the rules. Compliance risks should be clear to everyone in the creative team, and marketers need to review all content for compliance.