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Marketing and regulatory compliance: Three strategies for FIs to make powerful and compliant marketing content

The challenge: As banks and financial institutions become increasingly digital, maintaining an accurate, fair, and compliant presence online is growing more challenging for marketing teams. Bank and FI CMOs not only must think strategically about how to attract customers and build credibility by marketing personalized products and services—they also must ensure their messaging meets regulatory standards.

Marketing and compliance trends: An entry in The American Bankers Association’s (ABA) Banking Journal highlights two trends unfolding in the banking and financial industry that are shaping the way these institutions approach marketing.

  • Financial regulators are adjusting their regulation style and updating guidance to adapt to modern methods of communication. This is apparent in the fines US regulators recently levied on banks for employees’ improper use of the messaging platform WhatsApp.
  • Regulation by enforcement is becoming a common approach, with crackdowns and penalties on the rise. According to the ABA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) assessed 60% more fines in 2021 than 2020, despite handling fewer cases.

What can banks and FIs do? Here are some tactics that firms can use to ensure their marketing content is both meaningful and compliant.

Facilitate clear communication between compliance and marketing teams.

  • Compliance teams must review the firm’s adoption of new marketing channels and create an action plan for how a new channel will be used, and how the financial institution’s image should be reflected on that channel.
  • Digital channels change quickly. Compliance and marketing teams should discuss consumer needs, regulations, and the channel early and regularly.
  • Firms should offer ongoing compliance training about the regulatory landscape around the various channels used for marketing.

Invest in tech tools to manage and monitor compliance-related matters and keep track of changes.

  • Manual reviews are slow, laborious, and not always error-proof. There are software solutions that streamline compliance checks and that are scalable to handle different types of content for different channels.
  • All marketing materials must be reviewed for compliance. They should be versatile enough to be compliant on any channel that they may end up on.
  • Marketing content should be reviewed, no matter who creates it.

Educate employees and promote knowledge sharing.

  • Make sure all employees know how to handle any scenario that might come up on any media platform, such as receiving a direct message or a public response.
  • Non-compliant marketing material should be properly disposed of so it’s not accidentally shared.

The bottom line: CMOs are now charged with not only bringing new customers through the door, but keeping them engaged with and loyal to the company’s brand. This gives added importance to compliance, as a content compliance breach could potentially ruin a firm’s reputation and destroy customer trust.

Continue reading: To learn more about how the bank CMO role is changing and what CMOs are doing to deal with economic uncertainty, check out our report, Bank CMOs and Personalization.