Customer-obsessed marketing

Privacy, security & risk

Build Social Compliance Bridges, Not Blockades — For Your Own Sake

Nick Hayes
Senior Analyst
June 28, 2017

Compliance pros, try to recall your last interaction with your marketing peers about social media: How did it go? Was it productive? Who initiated the conversation?

If you’re like many organizations today, your answers went something like this: “Not well,” “no,” and “not me.”

Do you see a pattern? Now to be fair, marketers’ responses end up looking pretty similar. Just check out the questions my colleague Erna Alfred Liousas asked her marketing peers: Even hearing the word “compliance,” marketers shiver, sigh, or break into hives (or all three). This is the problem. Compliance turns into a roadblock, and you become the pariah vetoing valuable, brand-boosting marketing initiatives. Worse yet, the projects don’t go away; they come back and create more work, more reviews, and more wasted time and resources.

You can turn this around, and the benefits go far beyond work reduction. How? By building strong marketing partnerships and compliant initiatives early on. This allows you to:

  • Eliminate burdensome future compliance work. Social marketing initiatives that avoid compliance either result in live scenarios that put the organization at risk of costly fines or they end up on your desk at the last minute. Either way, you end up with more work. Or, you can partner with marketing at the beginning, identify compliance issues and propose suitable alternate strategies that reduce future friction.
  • Improve compliance’s ROI. You can demonstrate the value of compliance in terms other than risk reduction. By improving your own operational efficiency, you also improve marketing’s. You add value to marketing and other business functions, improving their operational efficiency (in addition to yours) and adding valuable strategic insight.
  • Transfer some compliance duties to marketing. Since you interact regularly with marketing, they begin to think more about compliance issues; They adopt a risk mindset, and identify common policy violations themselves. In many cases, marketing managers or other supervisors take over responsibility for review and approval of common compliance issues, and only escalate in more complicated or risky situations.
  • Move from a business inhibitor to a business innovator. More than anything, working proactively with marketing changes the way compliance is viewed internally. Rather than being seen as an obstacle that needs to be overcome, you begin to enable the business. And overtime, marketing and other business stakeholders start coming to you for strategic advice, to launch innovative, compliant initiatives that separate your company from competitors.

No matter what, we need to move past this standoff between marketing and compliance. Some companies already have. In fact, this is why Erna and I partnered on our new report, to jointly cover how leading organizations can Bridge The Divide Between Social Marketing And Compliance. Even when regulations are overbearing – or worse, incomplete and obscure – we found major companies that do achieve sustainable social marketing success. The common threads in these success stories aren’t about creative marketing workarounds or daring innovation, but a focus on meticulous planning, clear alignment, and frequent collaboration.

This is where we need to start. Start silo-busting. Reach out to your marketing peers and start improving social compliance today.

Let’s keep the conversation going. Connect with me on Twitter @nickhayes10.

Related Forrester Content (For clients or purchase)

Bridge The Divide Between Social Marketing And Compliance
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