How to Market Effectively and Efficiently in a Heavily Compliance-Regulated Industry
What is compliance?
Simply put, compliance regulations and enforcement of those rules in professional industries exist to manage and mitigate risk. The directive of compliance governing bodies is to protect the health, safety, and finances of the consumer. Reducing consumer risk also helps you to avoid costly legal issues and reputational damages.
Highly Regulated Industries
Any business that offers products and services to the general public needs to be mindful of risk management, but there are some industries that are more heavily regulated than others. Here are a few examples:
Regulations are in place to ensure the general public is safe from foodborne illness and potential allergens. This industry is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.
The general public and investors are protected from fraud, the risk is appropriately managed, and fee structures are kept at a minimum. Compliance is maintained in this industry with regulations through the SEC and FINRA.
In addition to protecting the public from physical harm, compliance regulations are in place to protect patient information. HIPAA protects patient privacy, and organizational bodies such as the DEA, FDA, and the Department of Health and Human Services protect the health and safety of patients.
In retail, is important to regulate the management of data, supply chains, and health and safety risks of having a brick and mortar store that is open to the public.
Protecting the safety of consumers is critical in the automotive industry. Vehicle manufacturing is heavily regulated by the NHSTA. There are also supply chain ethics and laws to be considered.
This is not an exhaustive list of compliance-regulated industries, but it gives you an idea of the depth, breadth, and importance of risk management.
“Without [Compliance], many organizations wouldn’t have security controls in place, and there would be no consistency of standards among the protocols being used. In that regard, compliance has created a level playing field that all organizations are expected to meet when it comes to protecting sensitive data.”
—Paul Koziarz, Computer Services Inc.
How Compliance Affects Marketing
So how do compliance regulations affect how you can market to potential clients? Email campaigns and social media posts don’t put the consumer at risk, right? In marketing you need to be mindful of maintaining brand image and consistency, truth in advertising, protect against potential fraud, and avoid making unrealistic promises/guarantees, or promising future gains.
Follow the Rules to Win the Game!
It’s important to fully understand the rules of the game when it comes to compliance. Simple missteps can put clients at undue risk, ignorantly create a situation of potential fraud, cost you steep fines, and ultimately you could be putting yourself in a position to possibly lose your career. Most regulated industries require compliance training and certifications that must be kept up to date in order to maintain licensure and the ability to continue practicing business. The states are quite high and you need to set yourself up for success.
Once you understand the importance of compliance and all the regulations you must follow, you can create a marketing strategy, or playbook, that will work with the rules rather than running into issues of falling out of compliance.
A Few Tips to Remain in Compliance:
- Have clear terms of service, and the terms need to be fair.
- Product risks should be clearly conveyed to the consumer.
- Clear messaging. Language should be clear, and not miscommunicated in a negative or risky way.
- Be consistent and clear. All of your communication should be consistent with your brand and voice and convey truthful and fair information without making unrealistic promises.
- Define your target market. Do you specialize in a particular area or field? Are your services local-only, nationwide, or global? It's important to understand exactly who you are communicating with.
- Revise all written content, and have approved if necessary.
Revise, Revise, and Revise Again!
Words and their interpretation really matter. If you aren’t required to have messaging approved by your company’s compliance department, be sure to have several different people review the material not only for grammatical and syntactical errors, but for the informational content. The way you understand the content could be understood very differently from someone else's perspective.
To protect yourself and your business, every email, social media post, blog post, direct message, and any other written asset that will exist in a print or digital format must be reviewed by several people before publishing. It’s impossible to have too much feedback when it comes to managing your own copywriting.
Revision and Approval of Original Written Content
You may have compliance regulations that control how many prospecting emails you can send out in any given 30-day period, very strict regulations in regard to language used (requiring you to have any copy for digital or print marketing material to be approved prior to use), and rules that must be carefully followed in regard to the use of social media whether you are publishing personal posts from your professional account, or using direct messaging to communicate with existing and prospective clients.
Tip: The process of having original content approved can take a bit of time and have fees associated with each submission. When creating original content for compliance approval, try to make the content "evergreen." Meaning it will be material that you can use for a long time across multiple platforms. If you have several pieces of content that need approval, if it's possible to submit them all at once rather than one at a time, sometimes the fees are lower than if you were to submit them individually.
Every organization's compliance regulations that apply to original content used for marketing purposes are slightly different, it's important to understand how you can most efficiently work through the process.
Cold-Click® and Compliance
Our founder is a veteran of the financial services industry and is well-aware of the importance of following compliance guidelines. We help you maintain your good standing with your necessary regulations. All of our plans are fully customizable to work with your individual needs. If having us fully in the driver's seat doesn't work for your situation, not a problem! We offer coaching services, allowing you to remain in compliance, and help you reach your goals for growth. Check out our services, attend one of our webinars, or schedule a call to learn more!
Always Make Compliance a Priority
Remember, compliance regulations are not only there to protect the consumer, but also to protect you from potential risks that could be very costly, ruin your professional reputation, or even cause you to lose your business. The stakes are simply too high not to make compliance a priority. It's absolutely possible to follow the marketing plan you want to achieve the growth you're after while remaining in compliance to protect yourself and your clients.
Here's a tip on our secret sauce...
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