It’s no secret that marketing and compliance teams, particularly in highly regulated industries, are often at odds. However, the potential benefits of resolving this divide through understanding and collaboration are significant. This not only ensures regulatory compliance but also enhances the quality and effectiveness of marketing efforts. Resolving this “divide” takes more than good intentions; each team must understand what the other struggles with — and, more importantly, where they align.

A Red Marker study, conducted in collaboration with Arlington Research, covers these questions and more. This comprehensive study involved more than 500 marketing, compliance, and legal professionals from financial services and insurance organizations in the U.K., U.S., and Australia, providing a robust understanding of the challenges faced by marketing and compliance teams. Here’s what each team considers their ‘top challenges’ and how understanding one another and finding common ground can help resolve the divide.


Top 3 Challenges for Marketing

In our survey, marketers responded to questions about their responsibilities, interdepartmental relationships, daily processes, and more. The results of these highlighted several areas requiring attention:

#1: Appreciating experience and knowledge

82% of marketers believe that, with enough expertise in their field, they no longer need compliance reviews. They say that practice and experience give them the confidence to memorize, apply, and double-check their content for legal risk.


Why it matters

This highlights a significant disconnect between marketers’ perceptions and the realities of compliance requirements. While 82% of marketers may feel confident in their ability to handle compliance due to their expertise, this overconfidence can lead to unintentional oversights and increased legal risks. Furthermore, regulations are complex and frequently updated, making it challenging for individuals to keep up without dedicated support or regular training.

Relying solely on personal expertise without formal compliance reviews can present risks including non-compliance, legal repercussions, and damage to the company’s reputation. Implementing structured compliance reviews ensures thorough, up-to-date adherence to regulations, protecting the company and its stakeholders.


#2: Inefficient workflows

22% of marketers say their company lacks a well-defined review process. 79% add that even if a cohesive workflow exists, it may be slowed by issues such as inconsistent feedback, approval delays, and unnecessary steps. 79% also say the review process is too long and convoluted. 


Why it matters

Inefficient review processes can hinder marketing productivity and effectiveness. When 22% of marketers say their company lacks a well-defined review process, it indicates there may be gaps that can lead to inconsistent reviews, increased errors, and compliance risks potentially slipping through.

Additionally, with 79% highlighting issues in existing workflows such as conflicting feedback, approval delays, and unnecessary steps, it becomes clear that even current processes could benefit from optimization. This inefficiency frustrates employees and delays time-to-market for campaigns, reducing competitive edge. Moreover, when the review process is too convoluted, it can stifle creativity, lower morale, and ultimately impact the bottom line.

Enabling efficiency in these processes is crucial for maintaining high standards, ensuring compliance, and effective marketing execution.


#3: Barriers to progress

As the velocity of marketing content submitted for review increases, a concerning majority of marketers—81%—identify compliance as a barrier. In addition to the length of the process being a challenge, marketing believes that legal and compliance lack understanding of their functions’ objectives, making it difficult for the review process to fulfil its role and the department’s needs efficiently. 


Why it matters

Increasing volumes of marketing content further highlight inefficiencies in the compliance process, illustrating a process constantly under strain. When the review process is perceived as slow and misaligned with marketing objectives, it creates friction. If legal and compliance teams lack an understanding of marketing goals, their feedback may be considered irrelevant or not helpful, further delaying approvals. This disconnect can lead to missed opportunities, slower time-to-market, and frustration in marketing. Streamlining compliance processes and improving cross-departmental communication is crucial for ensuring that reviews are thorough and efficient, enabling the company to launch content on time while maintaining compliance.



Top 4 challenges for legal and compliance teams

While compliance and legal teams may face different challenges, our research revealed a significant overlap in the core issues with their marketing colleagues. This alignment can serve as a foundation for better understanding and collaboration. Here are the key areas of concern, as indicated by our survey:


#1: Communicating the importance of compliance reviews 

31% of compliance respondents believe the marketing team doesn’t understand the intricacies of a compliance review, which involves identifying regulatory and brand risk in marketing and advertising copy. Even more — 82% — say marketers don’t understand why abiding by the rules is so crucial.


Why it matters

This highlights a critical disconnect between compliance and marketing teams, which can lead to ineffective collaboration and increased risk of non-compliance.

If the intricacies of the compliance review process are not understood, it suggests that marketing may overlook critical errors, resulting in submissions requiring more revisions. Furthermore, with 82% believing that marketers don’t understand the importance of abiding by the rules, there could be a significant risk of producing non-compliant content, potentially leading to legal repercussions and reputational damage.

Bridging this knowledge gap is crucial for ensuring that marketing efforts are creative and compliant, fostering a more efficient and cooperative working relationship between the two teams.


#2: Streamlining review processes

Legal and compliance teams acknowledge that the underlying processes are inefficient. 25% of respondents feel their company lacks a well-defined review workflow, and 85% believe reviews would be significantly more efficient if they didn’t constantly have to recheck content for adherence to basic rules. 


Why it matters

Inefficient legal and compliance processes can lead to wasted time, increased operational costs, and a higher risk of errors. With 25% of respondents indicating their company lacks a well-defined review workflow, it suggests that many organizations struggle with inconsistent, unclear procedures, hindering productivity and delaying marketing campaigns.

Additionally, 85% believe that constantly rechecking content for adherence to elementary rules reduces efficiency. This repetitive task consumes valuable time and diverts attention from more complex, strategic work. Streamlining and automating these basic compliance checks can lead to faster, more reliable reviews, allowing teams to focus on more complex or revenue-generating activities and improving overall organizational efficiency.


#3: Managing accountability 

Accountability is a cornerstone of any relationship, especially one with such high stakes. 15% of compliance experts feel marketing lacks accountability, and 80% believe the marketing team often deflects blame when content is challenged externally. 


Why it matters

Accountability and effective collaboration between compliance and marketing teams are crucial for maintaining high standards and avoiding legal risks. When 15% of compliance experts feel that marketing lacks accountability and 80% believe that marketing often deflects blame, it indicates a significant trust and communication gap.

Lack of accountability can lead to unresolved issues, ultimately harming the organization’s efficiency and reputation. Building mutual respect and clear accountability can improve cooperation, streamline processes, and ensure that both teams work together effectively to meet the organization’s objectives and protect its interests.


#4: Working with marketing 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the final challenge for legal and compliance teams is working with marketing. In fact, 25% of the former view this relationship as a daily hurdle, indicating that conflict can arise during small interactions as well as more serious issues.


Why it matters

The relationship between compliance and marketing is essential for ensuring that all content meets regulatory standards while effectively promoting the business.

When 25% of compliance teams view working with marketing as a daily hurdle, it highlights frequent conflicts that can disrupt workflow and productivity, leading to delays, frustration, and a lack of cohesion.

Improving this relationship is crucial for creating a smoother, more efficient process that allows both teams to collaborate effectively, ensuring that marketing efforts are compliant and timely, thereby protecting the company’s reputation and operational efficiency.


Key takeaways for both teams

While marketing and compliance have unique challenges, breaking these problems into their core elements shows significant patterns. A clear illustration: 80% of both sides agree that their relationship feels like an “us vs. them” scenario, indicating misunderstanding and miscommunication. 

However, 84% of Marketers believe good governance is crucial to business success. This indicates that while the process of compliance reviews may be divisive, the underlying values of integrity and the importance of the process are shared between teams. This shared commitment to business success can serve as a unifying force, helping both teams to work towards a common goal. 

In addition, 81% of marketers and 89% of compliance professionals agree that compliance reviews should be less subjective. Most respondents from both teams also noted that they’d appreciate (and are open to) productive conversations about possible improvements—another indication of willingness to refine the process. This openness to change should be seen as an opportunity for growth and motivate both teams to engage in these conversations.

There’s also a clear consensus on the way forward: artificial intelligence (AI). 95% of marketers and 93% of legal/compliance professionals indicate that they believe an AI-based tool could support more effective reviews by automatically identifying and addressing risks in marketing content. The consensus of implementing an intelligent solution offers a promising path forward where marketing can gain autonomy over creating more compliant content and legal and compliance can replace repetitive, manual reviews and benefit from a reliable, scalable workflow.

At Red Marker we help heavily regulated businesses scale internal legal reviews of digital advertising and marketing content, ensuring compliance with regulatory obligations and protecting their customers and reputation. Our technology leverages a combination of custom logic and powerful automation to detect legal and compliance risks in marketing assets, and provides consistent, actionable feedback 6x faster* than manual review methods, saving legal teams around 8 hours* of review time, per marketing campaign.

Want to learn more? Download our whitepaper to see more of our study and learn how to resolve the divide.

* This number is based on client feedback, experience, and assumptions around campaign sizing for an average Red Marker client and only indicates potential speed and process improvements. Please contact us directly for a more accurate measure for your business.

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