It is no secret that Chief Marketing Officers have a lot of responsibilities on their plates. From creating, communicating, organizing and delivering valuable offerings to clients and business partners, CMOs must wear multiple hats in an effort to help their companies grow and succeed. With all of these daily tasks, it's easy to understand why CMOs let marketing compliance issues lapse.
The following list showcases marketing and regulatory compliance trends that CMOs need to know if their companies want to avoid hefty fines and tarnished reputations.
- Disclosures must be spelled out. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is paying close attention to advertising, which means that companies must effectively communicate and be transparent with consumers. Simple and unequivocal language must be used to spell out disclosures. For example, companies must clearly state when the writer has been compensated for an endorsement or advertisement. In addition, the FTC has stated that “disclosures must also be made in the same language as the predominant language in which ads are communicated.”
- Ensure that your disclosures actually appear with ads viewed on different screen sizes. In addition to spelling out the disclosures, you must also ensure that they remain on or by the advertisements, even when the ads are viewed on different screens. Just as you check your mobile sites to ensure that they display properly on various screen sizes, you must also thoroughly check your ads to ensure that their disclosures aren’t lost when the viewer switches from a desktop to tablet to mobile device.
- Blog style copywriting may misrepresent facts. Spending on native ads continues to increase. This popular form of advertising needs to be carefully monitored to ensure that it doesn't misrepresent facts. Copywriting efforts must not skew data to the advantage of your company. When publishing your native ad, the paid nature of the article must be made clear to consumers.
- Real-time content offers possibilities -- and challenges. Real-time content is a new marketing technique allowing companies to publish content to live feeds and share their content faster than ever. However, just as companies ensure that their call centers adhere to compliance regulations, they need to make sure that their real-time publishing efforts are compliant. If you want to publish real-time content, then you need to deploy monitoring programs and other programs to effectively mitigate risk.
- Federal regulators and State AGs are still enforcing consumer protection. In today's world of consumer protection and consumer rights, the reputational risks and monetary stakes are high. Government agencies are turning to technology to root our potential problems, and companies should do the same. Companies need to proactively take the steps needed to meet compliance regulations and avoid consumer complaints, while simultaneously meeting established compliance regulations. Automated technologies can make this process seamless and efficient.
- Your industry is not immune. From startups to healthcare, big banks to tech companies, federal regulators are no longer limiting their reach. Any business within any industry can be targeted. PerformLine’s proprietary data showed that finance, education, credit card and credit monitoring companies had the highest number of potential URL violations. CMOs can no longer assume that compliance will be limited to one corner of a market. It is far better to be prepared than to be left floundering when a violation does occur.
- Respond to consumer complaints in a timely manner. PerformLine recently analyzed consumer complaint trends in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and discovered that the average number of consumer complaints has increased by 26 percent year-to-year since 2012. As the number of complaints rise, so does the probability of getting hit with a hefty fine. In addition, when companies do not respond to complaints in a timely manner, their risk for a CFPB enforcement action increases. Companies need to be prepared to respond effectively to consumer complaints so that the number of complaints does not trigger a fine.
- Always be informed of top marketing compliance issues and regulatory trends. Staying informed is one of the easiest ways that CMOs can avoid violations and hefty fines. Check the CFPB newsroom, FTC press releases, and PerformLine blog to stay up to date on the possible risks that are associated with changes to compliance policy and law. Finally, keep in mind that the majority of marketing compliance issues occur from native advertising, lack of disclosures, and Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts and Practices (UDAAP).
Culture of Compliance
- The excuse that you "did not know" is no longer applicable. Federal regulators are no longer accepting the all too common excuse that companies simply "did not know." To combat the less forgiving attitude, CMOs need to stay informed about the possible risks and changes in marketing compliance policy and law. Companies need to constantly monitor their marketing and advertising channels to ensure that they adhering to regulations.
- Foster a culture of compliance. In light of recent scandals over the last 18 months, it's more important than ever to focus on cultivating a compliant culture in your company. At COMPLY2, LaSalle Vaughn shared with us how he transformed the culture at his company with over 31,000 employees world-wide. There's one major theory LaSalle discussed during his presentation and that was in order to significantly impact employee morale and satisfaction, he needed to lead with the company's core values, and in order to do that he needed to ensure the company's core values were strong and in line with the goals of the company...something everyone can check into.
- You’re responsible for your affiliates’ marketing compliance. Companies that rely on third-party call centers to help sell their products and services must ensure accuracy in their descriptions and disclaimers. Once you’ve included clear disclosures in ads, you have to make sure that your affiliates are doing the same. Informing your affiliates of these best practices and following up with them to check for cooperation is key to closing the compliance loop. We always recommend companies to adopt use of a comprehensive compliance platform to stay on top of this 24/7.
- You must consider the consumer. Take proactive steps to avoid making the same mistakes as your competitors by reviewing complaints about your company in the CFPB Consumer Complaint Database. Based on consumer protection efforts by regulatory agencies, you must remember that you live in a customer-centric world, which means that you need to cater to the needs of your customers by providing transparent and clear communication.
- Solutions are needed for compliance-induced slowdown. Marketers often complain that the compliance approval process causes a slowdown in the time needed to publish content. To avoid a slowdown, you can create an editorial calendar with built-in marketing, legal, and regulatory approval timelines. You can also develop a "brand governance checklist" that allows marketers to self-monitor their content creation efforts from start to finish. Finally, you can use an automated Compliance Monitoring Platform to expedite the process of identifying and checking for potential compliance issues.
- Companies with a comprehensive compliance monitoring platform in place are better equipped to monitor marketing messages across a wide range of customer channels. Any CMO can attest to the fact that marketing messages spread far and wide across a growing number of channels. From digital to contact centers, an effective compliance monitoring platform is imperative if companies want to avoid violations and subsequent fines. An effective platform should include monitoring plans, audit capabilities, standard operating procedures to resolve violations, and effective technologies that can identify possible infringements.
- RegTech platforms open up possibilities for scaling compliance efforts. Short for regulatory technology, RegTech is a new set of technology that increases automation of compliance services, including communications monitoring. Marketers should look into a RegTech platform like PerformLine's that can provide powerful insights for more effective remediation.
When the future of your business is at stake, shouldn't you use the best available tools to ensure that you remain compliant in all marketing and communication efforts? To learn more about how you can leverage the services of an effective compliance tool, contact PerformLine for a free demo of the industry’s leading RegTech platform today.