11th June 2014 | Ben

Professional Services

Keeping your powder dry: Marketing within compliance

Working with a number of professional services clients, there are some conversations that are fairly familiar to us; one being what marketing is and the other being how to manage it within compliance…

Some financial services and legal firms consider marketing an unnecessary cost so, to reiterate the value of marketing: although much of it is common sense, it’s only experience and knowledge that ensures it finds the people you need at the right time, with the right message. Marketing is also about having the experience to know the consequences of your actions and this is where compliance comes in.

FCA guidelines apply to all of us

FCA guidelines apply to all of us

Marketing is about managing risk…

Risk averse industries – those which are often highly regulated need to consider marketing from a different perspective in order to really benefit from it. It’s about managing risk and working around compliance; not just within the confines of it. And here is where we should look at the similarities between sectors and industries; not the differences.

In Telecoms, finance and legal sectors, the main tenet of all communications is that  all information needs to be clear and readily available. This is no different for any other business or charity trading. Both the Financial Conduct Authority and The Law Society provide rough guidelines for marketing and social media – which we can all use.

Law Society Guidelines

Law Society Guidelines

With risk management in mind, none of us should ignore the legal, reputational and operational risks associated with – and without – engaging in social media. The decision not to engage with it should be an active decision; not a passive omission.

What many don’t realise is that social media is not about selling… and this is where the professional services firms can actually relax a little!  It’s about providing interesting and relevant content for social media users and signposting and directing people to what you want them to know, hear and read.  Only when they choose to engage and contact you, do you have to turn on the sales techniques. So you see, if you’re not selling, your bindings are looser…

Marketing V sales

Your website doesn’t even necessarily need to go through compliance checks – if you’re using it correctly… Again, as a legal or financial firm, it’s not a sales tool. It’s a reference point; a credibility checker and an introducer. Once you’ve got them interested, only then do you sell to them.

Always know what you want to achieve & how you're going to achieve it

Always know what you want to achieve & how you’re going to achieve it

So, with strategy in mind, if you plan your marketing activity properly, with the right messages at the right time, via the right channels, compliance shouldn’t be a problem!  It’s the basic principle of engagement and social media doesn’t change the rules of honesty – again, something we should all bear in mind.

Managing output

Bringing staff along with you needs a few guidelines, too, which is not as arduous nor daunting a task as many realise.  Often it is as simple as providing context and asking, not why should we do this, but how we should do it. And very often, too, the staff have the answers!  You’d be surprised!

Have a look at our blog post on do you have a social media policy.

If you need help with developing a social media strategy or are struggling with developing a social media policy, give us a call.

Digital Media Day, 20 June – Exclusive £20 ticket discount

Louise will be speaking about building and managing reputation online at the Digital Marketing Day in Brighton on 20 June. A day full of tips and guidance on optimising your social media and online marketing.

We’re delighted to offer a ‘secret squirrel’ discount for everyone linking through from this site, so please enter code: Louise20 at the checkout and recalculate your total when you book! See you there!

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