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4 Steps to Compliant Marketing Assets and Friendly Relations with Legal

By Jody Scheldt, 6/23/2015

Friendly relations between marketing and legal“Did legal approve it?” It’s a simple question that can strike dread in many a marketing manager’s heart.

The legal team is as backed up as marketing and you already confirmed with sales that the asset would be ready in time for their customer visit later this week. Now you’re faced with trying to get your asset in front of legal ASAP, as well as dealing with potential creative changes after your meeting. Does legal really need to review this asset for one specific sales event?

Yes.

In today’s digital and information saturated world, it’s increasingly difficult to come up with brand new material. What may slip your mind during the creative process, but not usually your legal teams’ during review, are the many trademarks, copyrights, regulations and advertising statements that you could be encroaching upon without even realizing it.

See: Craft brewers are running low on beer names and a product claim lands Sony® in a settlement case.

Working as a team to produce results for the business- that’s the goal right? With that in mind, here are four steps you can take towards ensuring your marketing assets are approved by legal and ready for distribution.

1. Train Your Team

With many people overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox and new projects that pop up daily, training new employees (and updating current employees) can move to the bottom of the priority list for many resource-stretched marketing departments. However, by taking the time initially to properly train each member of your marketing department on the company’s current disclaimer, trademarks, copyrights, advertising and social media policies, you can build a strong team of brand compliant marketers. Collaborate with legal to create these policies and you’ll both feel more confident about the marketing materials being released.

2. Designate a Legal Liaison

Appoint someone on your team to meet with legal at a regular cadence- monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly- in order to see if anything has changed that would affect marketing assets. If it has, the legal liaison will provide a suggested strategy and timeline for implementing these changes, update a working document in a shared folder and make an announcement to all of marketing in a way that they will hopefully remember (company sponsored donuts may do the trick).

3. Be Inclusive

We’ve heard about the benefits of breaking down internal silos within organizations to improve efficiency and this step speaks to that concept. Invite legal to sit in during the creative review. Their opinion is valuable and it’s better to be aware of any potential policy issues in the early to middle stages of asset development than at the end. Increasing legal’s visibility into your marketing programs will improve the chances of a swift and successful review. As an added bonus, the creative department will thank you when they’ve been spared re-working a complex asset at the last minute.

4. Let Technology Do Some of the Legwork

Once you’ve gone through all the effort to train your team, develop policies, secure approved messaging and creative, the assets that are produced will need to be shared with your clients, as well as maintained for future policy updates. In conjunction with your marketing automation and CRM tools, an asset management system (shameless plug here) like MarcomCentral, can help centralize, control and distribute assets quickly and with minimal resources required. If a minor update is made to the disclaimer, it could affect hundreds of assets. An asset management tool can update all effected content automatically vs your creative department manually editing each piece. This can be a huge time saver and also increase the likelihood that marketing materials used in the field are in compliance.

Knowing that your marketing assets have legal’s stamp of approval before being shared with the public is a step towards a full night’s sleep for you and an efficient marketing machine for your company.

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