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Is The Way You’ve Been Doing Marketing Compliance Broken?

By John Zanzarella, VP of Sales
September 27, 2016

Something is changing in the marketing world. Big-name brands are coming under FTC scrutiny for their native advertisements. Online lenders are facing restrictions on the way they can market their products. And the for-profit college world has been shaken up by the closure of one of the largest for-profit college chains in the country for pushy, risky student loans and misleading program information. Marketing techniques that companies have used for decades are now getting them into serious trouble.

What is happening? In light of the 2008 financial crisis, federal regulation has dramatically expanded to target companies’ internal controls and marketing tactics. The creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in 2011 has further increased oversight of consumer finance companies. In our new environment of heightened regulatory scrutiny, marketers must ensure that all their marketing messages and interactions with consumers are compliant with regulatory guidelines.

New Marketing Tactics Present New Risk

While regulatory agencies tighten their reins on marketers, new marketing channels and techniques continue to multiply, making marketing compliance exponentially more complicated. Consumers are no longer limited to print ads, TV ads, and cold calls from telemarketers to learn about products. The internet presents billions of potential places where consumers may come across your product—not just through your brand’s official site, but through thousands of affiliate channels and millions of other sites that may mention your brand.

Together, the current regulatory environment and marketing practices create unprecedented risk for companies with complex marketing campaigns. Despite what marketers, compliance officers, and operations teams have done in the past to mitigate risk, manual QA of marketing campaigns won’t cut it anymore.

Problems with Manual Compliance Monitoring

Companies need to rethink the way they not only do marketing, but also the way they do marketing compliance. Far too many companies still rely on manual checks for compliance, causing the following problems:

  • Manual monitoring processes are labor intensive. According to PerformLine’s proprietary research, a large company would require a whole team of analysts to review a typical number of web pages that would contain brand references or marketing messages each month.
  • Only some rules are implemented while others go unaccounted for, especially when it is almost impossible to manually keep up with the constantly dynamic changes of regulations issued by the FTC, CFPB, FCC, DOJ, and DOE, just to name a few.
  • Manual QA cannot keep up with the broad reach of modern-day marketing. To combat this challenge, employees might be tempted to speed through manual checks, which leads to an increased amount of human error and a higher risk for becoming non-compliant.

Automated Marketing Compliance Is No Longer a Nice-To-Have. It’s a MUST-HAVE.

The CFPB considers it a strike against a company if it lacks effective compliance monitoring oversight. In the CFPB’s consent order against the First National Bank of Omaha for deceptive marketing and illegal billing practices, the federal agency noted that the bank's "compliance monitoring, Service Provider management, and quality assurance resulted in ineffective oversight, which failed to prevent, identify, or correct these unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” In our current risk environment, the adoption of an automated compliance monitoring platform is the only way to ensure comprehensive oversight.

Many compliance teams have begun to seek and adopt RegTech platforms that provide automated compliance monitoring to provide powerful insights for more effective remediation. With this technology, compliance teams are able to effectively scale their efforts without increasing manpower. While their platform scans millions of web pages and phone calls for potential compliance violations, compliance teams can hone in on potential violations and take the steps to remediate them immediately.

Once a technological solution has been implemented, companies need to focus on making sure that compliance teams know how to use the technology to their advantage. In this vein, automated compliance monitoring platforms should never become “set­ it and­ forget it" tools. Rather, technology should be used hand-in-hand with manual optimization to increase the effectiveness and accuracy of compliance findings. A compliance team that is able to fine-tune the rules and terms that a marketing compliance platform searches for in marketing and advertisements will be able to get the best results for their marketing compliance efforts.

Stay Ahead Of Regulatory Action Through An Improved Approach

Companies that have a comprehensive compliance monitoring platform in place are better equipped to monitor marketing messages across a wide range of customer channels—everything from digital communications to chat and contact centers. Effective monitoring plans include audit capabilities, a standard operating procedure for remediation of violations, and technology that identifies possible infringements before they become problematic. Companies that want to effectively focus on their marketing campaigns, while still remaining compliant with the ever changing and evolving government regulations, need to move away from a manual monitoring system and adopt automated compliance monitoring technology that can keep up with their marketing campaigns.

With the help of proven automated marketing compliance software, companies can stay abreast of compliance issues without reducing the productivity levels of their employees. PerformLine’s marketing compliance platform is designed to help large organizations comply with government regulations by monitoring their call centers, chat sessions, emails and websites. It reduces costly human errors and implements a system that monitors for and catches wrong or outdated messages in different marketing channels. Learn more about all the PerformLine platform has to offer.

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Tags: Regulatory Compliance, Thought Leadership

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