Marketing Compliance Software for Highly Regulated Industries

Marketing Compliance Software for Highly Regulated Industries

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Marketing compliance involves sticking to regulations, guidelines, and industry standards from product development to communication, data privacy and consumer rights. It’s a lot of work and not a lot of fun. Triple that if you work in a highly regulated industry. We totally understand how onerous it is to stay in line with existing compliance rules, let alone keep on top the constant changes. But there is a solution, and it’s called marketing compliance software.
It may not be the most imaginative term, but marketing compliance software delivers on its name. It was born out of a real need from organizations to formalize yet simplify the processes around compliance. Marketing compliance software is a powerful platform with tools designed to help you navigate all the complexities of regulatory requirements. These tools work together to streamline marketing operations and embed failsafe processes to ensure adherence to legal and industry-specific guidelines.
We know that most organizations want to do the right thing by regulators and their customers. And, we’re all too familiar with the common issues companies face when they don’t have a system to manage compliance. We’re ex marketers and have walked among you and lived the chaos. 

Life without marketing compliance software

We understand that not all marketers face the same marketing compliance challenges. Compliance rules vary depending on industry, location and media. But here are some of the more common issues we see:

Keeping up with complex and evolving regulations

One of the primary challenges is keeping up with the ever-changing menu of regulations and laws related to marketing and advertising. Laws governing data privacy, advertising content, consumer protection, and more are subject to frequent updates and amendments. If you’re a national or global company, the added complexity of cross border variations are yet another consideration. Without marketing compliance software to help manage the process of making global updates to affected materials, things slip through the cracks. And friends, this is when regulators step in to issue notices of compliance breaches. 

Intellectual property and copyright infringements

Unwittingly using talent, voice over, photography, music or any other material out of copyright is frighteningly easy to do. And once you’ve used them, the supplier has you kind of over a barrel in terms of paying up post use. Aside from that, it’s just not kosher to use things you haven’t paid for. Marketing compliance software has features built into creative assets in the form of information and alerts to drastically reduce the risk of this ever happening.  

Remaining accurate

While the vast majority of marketers don’t set out to mislead their customers, sometimes errors or assumptions are made resulting in either an ambiguous headline or the wrong terms and conditions applied to content. The ‘if this then that’ content creation rules in marketing compliance software combined with mandated legal approvals pre launch significantly increases accuracy. Aside from being at risk of gaining the attention of consumer protection regulators, many industries demand self reporting of any breaches. On top of that, the reputational fallout from customers and the media can do damage that is difficult to unravel. It’s a costly nightmare you don’t need and something that can easily be avoided with marketing compliance software. 


Making sure partners are compliant 

The rise of brand collaborations and social media influencer marketing has introduced new challenges. While to some degree this content needs to fall in line with a creator’s style and audience, remaining legally compliant and transparent is a non-negotiable. Mid to large brands are typically jugging anything from 20 to 100 plus partners with varying degrees of professionalism. Keeping track of all of this activity without marketing compliance software to help manage the briefing and approval process is super inefficient and frankly, a rotten job.

Feedback loops with in house legal

After talking to countless organizations, we can say with certainty that legal and marketing are at times a house divided. Lawyers are smart and highly trained. They don’t want to have to ratify the same terms and conditions or fine print on hundreds of pieces of collateral. Sometimes these tasks sit and the bottom of a pile of ‘To Dos’ and bottlenecks occur. Likewise, marketers want to move quickly to get campaigns live. Without marketing compliance software to streamline and automate processes, time is wasted and deadlines can be missed.

No helicopter view of compliance

Marketing compliance software allows you to monitor and flag content risks from a centralized mission control. When marketing material is scattered in share drives or information buried in email chains and presentations, team members become bumbling detectives wasting valuable hours cross-referencing and often missing critical information.
Marketing compliance software screen showing compliance approval status.


Types of marketing compliance software

The last ten years has seen an explosion of vendors so it isn’t easy sifting among the endless martech software currently available. Here’s a summary of the types of solutions currently available, specifically in the marketing compliance software space. Each is designed to address particular compliance needs.

Although we’ve listed the different types of marketing compliance software individually, many vendors provide all, or most, of these functionalities in the one platform. For simplicity and continuity of service, choosing a solution that has all (if not most) of what you require is the best path.

Compliance tracking and monitoring software

Marketing compliance software tools in this category provide real-time tracking of regulatory changes and alerts businesses of potential compliance risks. These sophisticated tools go beyond merely cataloging existing regulations; they actively scan and analyze the regulatory environment in real-time. By doing so, they empower organizations to swiftly adapt to new legislation, ensuring that they remain in full compliance with the law. This proactive stance allows companies to take preemptive measures, like adjusting policies and procedures or implementing additional controls, to mitigate compliance risks before they escalate and cost money.

Data privacy and protection software

Nobody likes the data sold and receiving spam. This software acts as a shield against data breaches and unauthorized access, helping businesses adhere to stringent data protection laws. It focuses on managing customer data in accordance with data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA, ensuring data security and compliance with consent requirements. In an era where data breaches and privacy concerns make headlines regularly, investing in data privacy and protection software has long been a necessity.

Content review and approval software

Content review and approval software plays a pivotal role in modern marketing workflows. Helpful applications such as Digital Asset Management and Marketing Resource Management software streamlines the process of reviewing marketing content, ensuring it meets industry-specific guidelines and regulatory requirements before going live.

DAM systems act as the central source of truth for all creative assets. So no more share drives, email trails and random links. They facilitate the organization, storage, and retrieval of digital assets, such as images, videos, and documents, ensuring that the right content, (and only the right content), is readily available to marketing teams. This category of marketing compliance software enhances collaboration and helps maintain brand consistency by providing easy access to approved branding materials.

DAMs often form a logical part of MRM software, they connect the dots from the assets to the entire marketing process from brief to approval. This allows teams to coordinate their efforts, allocate resources, and ensure that content aligns with industry-specific guidelines and regulatory requirements. MRM software helps minimize errors, reduce approval bottlenecks, and ultimately accelerates the speed at which content gets to market.

Archiving and auditing software

These tools enable businesses to safely store and retrieve historical marketing materials for compliance verification and auditing purposes. They are a secure and efficient means of preserving their historical marketing materials, ensuring that critical data, documents, and records are readily accessible when needed. Quite often those in highly regulated industries are required to undertake internal audits, so archiving and auditing software serves as a great resource to seamlessly retrieve, review, and track their past marketing efforts. This not only helps in meeting legal requirements but also empowers companies to make informed decisions based on historical data and performance metrics. It’s also a vital tool for preserving corporate memory. 

Reporting and analytics software

Data analytics are a key part of marketing compliance software. They provide insights to optimize marketing strategies for both compliance and effectiveness.
Marketing compliance software in this realm empowers organizations to gain a comprehensive understanding of their marketing efforts. It not only ensures that marketing campaigns adhere to regulatory standards and industry-specific compliance requirements but also delves deep into the data to uncover other valuable insights.

For example, with its ability to generate tailored reports, companies can track key performance indicators (KPIs) and measure the success of one marketing initiative over another. This data-driven approach enables businesses to make informed decisions, allocate resources efficiently, and refine their marketing strategies for optimal effectiveness.

Marketing Compliance Software Campaign Approval with Image Screen.

Features of marketing compliance software

Real-time monitoring and alerts 

Marketing compliance software keeps an eagle eye on regulatory changes and very quickly notifies marketing teams about any updates that could impact their campaigns or content. This feature ensures that organizations stay informed and can adapt their strategies to remain compliant with evolving regulations.

Automated compliance checks

One of the essential features of marketing compliance software is its ability to perform automated compliance checks on marketing content and campaigns. By using advanced algorithms and keyword scanning, the software can identify potential compliance issues before content goes live, reducing the risk of inadvertent violations.

Centralized content review and approval

Marketing compliance software streamlines the content review and approval process by centralizing collaboration between marketing, legal, and compliance teams. The software allows you to proof and markup work and compare versions side by side. This feature ensures that all marketing materials undergo a thorough compliance review, minimizing the chances of non-compliant content being published.

Integration with existing marketing tools

When software talks to each other, it’s almost the same as when marketing, sales, legal and IT departments all get along. Integration dials up efficiency and avoids forcing people to work in silos. Marketing compliance software seamlessly integrates with most existing marketing tools and systems which avoids double handling. It ensures smooth data exchange between platforms and optimizes compliance workflows.

Collaboration and communication tools

Everyone in marketing knows the importance of communication. Marketing compliance software facilitates collaboration and communication among many functions such as  marketing teams, legal departments, and compliance officers. It provides a centralized platform for feedback, approvals, and communication which ultimately fosters a cohesive approach to compliance management.

Audit trails and tracking

The creation of comprehensive audit trails, documenting all compliance-related activities and changes made to marketing content saves a lot of post mortem  investigative work. It enhances transparency and accountability, enabling organizations to trace compliance efforts back to their origin.

Compliance training and education resources

Some marketing compliance software includes training modules and educational resources to equip employees with the knowledge and skills to navigate compliance requirements effectively.

Marketing compliance software tracks time taken to approve content.

Benefits of marketing compliance software

Here’s your TL;DR summary:
  • Streamlines marketing processes
  • Reduces compliance risks and potential fines
  • Ensures brand consistency and message accuracy
  • Enhances collaboration among marketing teams
  • Leverages data insights for better decision making

Choosing the right solution

Selecting the right suite of marketing compliance software is a critical decision that can significantly impact your organization’s ability to maintain regulatory compliance and streamline marketing operations. Here are key factors to consider when evaluating software options:

Evaluate compatibility with existing tools

Ensure seamless integration with your current marketing tools and systems for efficient data synchronization.

Prioritize customization and scalability

Look for software that can be tailored to meet your specific compliance needs and can grow with your organization.

Assess user-friendliness and ease of adoption 

Opt for an intuitive interface that aligns with your team’s workflow and is easy to learn.

Prioritize security and data protection measures

Choose software with robust data security features to protect sensitive customer information.

Examine compliance tracking and monitoring capabilities 

Select software that provides real-time monitoring of regulatory changes and alerts for prompt compliance adjustments.

Assess reporting and analytics features

Ensure the software offers customizable compliance reports and data insights for better decision-making.

Research reputation and customer support

Look for a reputable provider with positive reviews, longevity, a solid client base and responsive customer support.

Conduct a cost benefit analysis

Evaluate the overall value the software provides in terms of time saved and improved compliance and marketing effectiveness.

Marketing compliance software best practices

Implementing marketing compliance software is a significant step towards ensuring regulatory adherence and streamlining marketing operations. To make the most of this powerful tool, you should consider these best practices:

  • Establish a compliance culture within your organization:
    Prioritize compliance, communicate its importance, and conduct regular training to create a culture of compliance among employees.

  • Train employees how to use it:
    Provide comprehensive training to empower employees with the skills to maximize the software’s benefits and streamline compliance workflows.

  • Regularly update to stay compliant with change:
    Stay informed about regulatory updates and promptly apply software updates to maintain ongoing compliance.

  • Monitor and audit compliance efforts:
    Conduct regular audits using the software to identify non-compliance areas and measure compliance performance.

  • Collaborate across teams:
    Encourage seamless collaboration between marketing, legal, compliance, and relevant teams for efficient content review and approvals.

  • Integrate compliance into the creative process:
    Embed compliance checkpoints throughout the marketing creative process to ensure compliance is considered from the outset.

  • Document compliance efforts:
    Maintain comprehensive records using the software’s capabilities to document compliance measures, approvals, and audit results.

Owning it

Embracing marketing compliance is the only way forward – after all, it’s mandated so you have no choice. But look at it this way, remaining compliant is one of the single greatest acts you can perform as a marketer. It can protect the company’s bottom line and reputation in ways that dwarf a big budget brand campaign. So instead of looking at it as a box to be ticked, a culture of compliance can put you on the front foot, improve business processes, elevate reputation and help gain a competitive advantage.

Implementing marketing compliance software will help safeguard your organization’s reputation and integrity. By streamlining processes, reducing compliance risks, ensuring brand consistency, and leveraging data insights, marketing compliance software helps teams in heavily regulated environments do more than just cope, it ensures they excel.

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