Has anyone in your business ever ‘gone rogue’ and created an unapproved new piece of collateral?
Possibly, worse, has anyone recreated an unapproved version of something that already exists because they can’t find the document they’re looking for?
This can be an unfortunate consequence of poor marketing asset management. If people don’t know where to look for approved and existing assets – or how to access the compliant content to create them – you run the risk of losing control of your financial promotions.
For regulated firms, it’s not just an inconvenience. Issuing financial promotions that don’t comply with FCA requirements can get you into serious trouble with the regulator.
Produce promotions that fall short of FCA expectations and the regulator has the power to fine you, force you to take adverts down until issues are ironed out, or even ban them altogether.
How can you prevent this happening? First – look at the reasons people in your organisation might be tempted to create their own versions of materials.
Why does unapproved marketing collateral get created?
- People can’t find what they’re looking for.
Someone in your business wants to use a flyer about one of your products. They are pretty sure they’ve seen one around, but they don’t know where to look.
This can be a bigger problem these days than it was in the past, when more materials were in hard copy. ‘Out of sight out of mind’, as the saying goes – it was probably easier to find a stack of brochures in a cupboard than it is to track down a soft copy online.
How many of us, hand on heart, can say that everyone in the business knows how to access all your marketing collateral? Think about ways you can store your assets virtually so they are easily accessed and used.
- Someone wants to create something that doesn’t already exist.
Ok, so in an ideal world, in this scenario, the first port of call would be the Marketing team. But in the real world…sometimes people just go off and do things themselves.
The temptation to re-use old sales presentations, newsletter and email templates, PowerPoints and other collateral is hard to resist, particularly when people are short on time.
Here, creating a searchable online library of pre-Compliance-approved wording, data and other content can help.
If people are going to produce their own materials, whatever you say, you can at least make sure they can access the content they need to ensure materials are compliant.
- They think that it will take too long to go ‘the official route’.
If your creative review process isn’t as efficient as it could be, colleagues may try and shortcut it.
This can be particularly true where Compliance approvals add an extra layer of bureaucracy – but this is a non-negotiable part of FP production for any regulated firm. You need to ensure your approvals meet FCA standards.
Even if you’re not a regulated business, you still need to make sure your adverts, whether off- or online, meet standards set by CAP and enforced by the ASA. And if you’re sending out promotions, they need to comply with data rules. All of which can increase the time it takes to get materials published.
So if these are the reasons for off-piste materials – how can you respond to them?
Countering the reasons that people create their own marketing materials
It’s widely agreed that successful marketing content is everyone’s responsibility. But this brings with it a high risk that documents go out with outdated AUM, incorrect disclaimers, off-brand imagery…the list goes on.
We’ve looked at the reasons people are tempted to create their own marketing assets. Now we can identify ways to tackle them.
- Make existing materials easy to find
Make sure you keep your assets – online or hard copy – somewhere that everyone in the business can access them.
Automated marketing workflows can help here, creating automatic audit trails and easily-accessed libraries of collateral. Read our tips on best practice digital asset management for more advice on how to make your materials easy for your colleagues to find.
- Ensure everyone can get hold of approved, accurate content
When people can’t find the data, brand assets or wording they want to use, they invent their own, or copy and paste from old materials.
But this can negatively impact your regulatory compliance. Look into whether a slide library can help. Online slide libraries can enable you to store pre-compliance approved content, and can prevent unapproved materials going out by watermarking slides that haven’t had the right sign off.
- Get materials to market more quickly
The time taken to get the necessary approvals is often cited as a source of frustration, and a reason for colleagues going off-piste when it comes to marketing collateral. How can you speed your production process?
Templates are often frowned upon in marketing as uncreative and lacking in imagination. But in fact they can be a great shortcut to on-brand materials – find out how templates might be the solution to your creative challenges.
Then there’s the approvals aspect. Whether this is creative review by the Marketing team and the business, or Compliance team review, you need to ensure that the process is as slick and efficient as possible.
Avoid recreating marketing materials unnecessarily
If you can prevent people from re-creating marketing materials, you reduce the risk of regulatory breaches, protect your brand and save everyone’s time.
Regulated firms are increasingly turning to marketing automation to manage their marketing content in an efficient and compliant way.
To find out why, and how you can make use of automation to prevent off-brand and non-compliant materials, you can download a copy of our free whitepaper, The benefits of automated workflow systems. You can read a free copy here.
Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.