7 Principles to Help Marketing and Compliance Work Together Without Compromising

| September 10 2020

The marketing and compliance departments don’t always hit it off from the start. The conflict is natural enough: each brings different qualities and mindsets to the job. Marketing is all about grabbing attention via creativity, uniqueness, and flair. Compliance, on the other hand, is focused on avoiding risks through caution, tried-and-true approaches, and strict adherence to rules. Marketing chafes at those rules, while compliance reflexively shuts down outside-the-box thinking. Neither can afford to compromise when it comes to their core aims—which often puts them in opposition with each other. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you can get marketing and compliance on the same page, they can realize their shared aim: advertising that is appealing and honest, and that keeps the company out of trouble with regulators and the media. They’re like chicken and waffles: pretty much opposites that can—if brought together in the right way—go perfectly together. 

These seven guiding principles can get your marketing and compliance teams working together without either one compromising their inherent values.

1) Communicate early and often

The first key is to get marketing and compliance teams communicating openly with each other. These don’t have to be formal in-office communications—there’s a tremendous value to be found through sharing ideas casually over coffee or lunch.  

Open and frequent conversations can avoid the discouragement that results when marketing devises a catchy campaign, only to have compliance shoot it down immediately before it goes live. With open lines of communication, marketing teams can bounce ideas off their colleagues in compliance early in the process and avoid wasting time on non-starters. Likewise, compliance can update marketing anytime there’s new guidance about how a rule or regulation should be interpreted. 

By working together throughout the design and launch of every campaign, marketing can ensure that its content is clear, understandable, honest, and fair, and compliance can appreciate how marketing’s output will be effective at reaching customers. 

2) Implement two-way training

More formal training makes it easier for teams to establish the baseline understanding they need to communicate effectively. Most training efforts around marketing compliance focus on what marketers need to know about compliance. What can—or can’t—they do? What should they know about the advertising rules of the Investment Advisers Act

But there’s room for training to go both ways. Marketing can teach compliance about which types of content work where or why a certain message—truthful and forthright though it may be—will dissuade potential customers. 

Of course, training does not shift responsibility: compliance still has the final word on whether a statement or campaign is permissible. Still, by understanding each other’s work more, compliance can appreciate how marketing wants to “sell” the positives, while marketing can see why compliance is compelled to warn about the negatives. 

3) Recognize common goals

For all their differences, marketing and compliance actually have common goals. They’re both invested in the success of the business. They both want to reach customers and effectively communicate the company’s value proposition. They both know that marketing campaigns need to work or else the business will fail. And they both know that compliance failures can ruin the business, through tremendous fines, reputational damage, or both. Neither department can afford to compromise, because both of their aims are business critical.

Bringing shared goals to the forefront is a terrific way to keep the lines of communication and understanding open. 


4) Keep the customer first

In addition to sharing goals, marketing and compliance also share an audience: the business’s customers and prospective customers. Keeping the customer front and center at all times will help both teams stay in alignment. That means that everything your business says in an advertisement should be clear, understandable, and true. You should never make misleading statements or omit critical facts. If there’s ever any question about what a claim or statement means, that’s probably a good place to tone your language down, clarify, or add a disclaimer or warning. When the focus stays on the customer’s understanding, marketing and compliance are naturally united.

5) Figure out where there’s room for flexibility

There’s probably space for both the marketing team and the compliance team to bend a little without compromising their core values or mission. Can marketing come up with ideas that address risks and promissory statements from the start instead of leaving them for compliance to clean up? Can compliance embrace a little creativity around disclaimers, perhaps as visual elements on a page instead of tacked-on afterthoughts? Identifying where your teams can be flexible gives everyone room to find a middle ground that represents a win-win rather than a compromise.

6) Respect approval workflows

One place there isn’t room for flexibility is in final approval workflows. There’s no maybe about it: marketing is never going to distribute a campaign without first getting approval from compliance. There’s no sense balking at this or complaining about it. It’s just a fact. Plan ahead to allow sufficient time for approval processes, keep compliance in the loop so a campaign never catches them by surprise, and keep marketing informed about issues so they’re not disappointed by a last-minute rejection.


7) Conduct periodic post-mortem reviews

The end of a campaign is a great time to revisit both your teams’ processes and your results. What did you do to keep marketing and compliance working in harmony—and how well did that work? Did the campaign meet marketing’s goals? Did it result in any actual or potential compliance issues? Both teams should provide feedback about what worked, what didn’t, and what they could both do better next time. 

This post-campaign audit highlights the value of archiving your website with a system that creates fully functional website replicas. Instead of relying on memory or staring at static screenshots, you can revisit the site as it looked during the campaign. That lets you navigate as a customer might have, spotting problems and identifying successful elements. 


Is your archiving system doing enough?


If your website archiving system only preserves PDFs or pictures of your website’s appearance, rather than a functional website that you can explore, check out Hanzo Dynamic Capture. Our archiving solution crawls the entirety of a source website, locating and capturing all of its content to create a replica website that can be navigated as if it were live. With a Hanzo website archive, you can replay videos, click through links, complete fillable forms, and manipulate interactive charts and maps. 

If there’s an aspect of your advertising or compliance that you’re curious about, Hanzo’s archives will help you investigate it. To learn more, contact us to schedule a demonstration.





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