There’s a significant divide perceived between marketing and compliance, and we believe it is important to clarify exactly why this is. In collaboration with Arlington Research we commissioned a global study of marketing, legal and compliance professionals in financial services, covering some of the most important challenges faced by each team — and surprisingly we found several uncommunicated parallels. These cohorts often have similar struggles, but because their goals are different, they rarely have the time or space to understand the other’s perspective.

Here’s a look at what marketing wants compliance to know, and why it matters.


#1: Marketers gain knowledge through experience

82% of marketers believe that compliance reviews become superfluous if they have enough of their own experience and expertise. This number increases to 85% among marketers who have a tenure of longer than six years. The general belief is that, over time, marketing professionals come to absorb knowledge of what is compliant through a combination of practical experience and repetition, although this is felt to be unappreciated, with 1 in 5 respondents saying that compliance lacks empathy and doesn’t fully grasp marketing roles and challenges.


However, 83% of marketing respondents note that they’d still prefer to have their work scrutinized by the other team to ensure no risks are overlooked. The problem rests with timing. Part of a marketer’s valuable expertise is knowing how to get work done quickly and flexibly, but 80% worry that late-stage, reactive compliance reviews can lead to multiple rounds of revisions and jeopardize campaign timelines.


The takeaway is simple: Most marketers feel their experience is valuable and can play a role in aiding the compliance review process. However, despite this, marketing professionals often feel that their expertise is sometimes perceived to be dismissed or diminished by legal/compliance teams through lack of understanding.


#2: Compliance reviews seem unnecessarily complicated

Based on the percentage of marketers (83%) who want thorough compliance scrutiny of their work, it’s clear that the teams are aligned on the underlying importance of marketing compliance reviews. However, the process that guides these reviews can often be a source of frustration.


22% of marketers feel their company needs a better-defined review workflow, and 79% say the existing method is lengthy, convoluted, and often confusing. When a process does exist, 79% add that the work is still made complex through timing issues, unnecessary stages, inconsistent feedback, all leading to the potential for approval delays.


When the workflow is too complicated, the ruling takeaway is frustration, and marketers don’t get the chance to see or appreciate the underlying value, possibly contributing to the reason 30% of legal and compliance professionals feel that marketing underestimates the intricacies of the review process. 


Due to teams’ limited perspectives, effective communication of shared sentiments—like 25% of legal and compliance respondents stating their company lacks a well-defined review process, and 85% noting excessive basic, repetitive rechecking—can be challenging. This is compounded by each team’s tendency to blame the other, despite both fundamentally agreeing on the need for improved processes.


#3: There are always shared values

It’s no secret that these relationships can be difficult. Nearly a third of marketers (28%) say their relationship with compliance is a primary challenge in their role. Additionally, 80% say they have a distinct “us vs. them” feeling when dealing with legal and compliance colleagues. 


However, this friction is balanced by many shared values — such as the desire for faster review processes. 79% of marketing and 81% of compliance professionals agree that increased speed and efficiency would make their work easier. Faster content submission and risk flagging are crucial, particularly among respondents from both teams who had been in their roles for longer tenures. Similarly, 81% of marketers and 89% of legal/compliance experts want less subjectivity in review processes. 


Marketing and compliance teams also concur that improved efficiency could be enhanced by artificial intelligence. A majority from each team — 95% of marketers and 93% of compliance and legal professionals — see AI as having strong potential to relieve many of the inefficient aspects of the marketing compliance review process. 32% of each team also says they’d like to automate checks for standardized content, including disclosures and disclaimers. 


Interestingly, marketing, legal and compliance agree that perfection doesn’t have to be the goal. Instead, 81% of marketers and 90% of compliance professionals say it’s smarter — and far more efficient — to focus on maintaining acceptable risk levels. This means that, while there may be friction elsewhere in the review process, ultimately those involved all have similar underlying values.


Takeaways for legal and compliance teams

In summary, marketing wants compliance to know three things:

  • “We have valuable experience creating and revising content, and while we may not be legal experts, we would like you to respect our knowledge.”

  • “We don’t underestimate the value of managing risk, but lengthy, convoluted processes distract from the real goal.”

  • “We share many of the same priorities — including increasing objectivity, streamlining workflows, exploring AI solutions, and avoiding the pitfalls of perfectionism.”

This leaves legal/compliance teams with important considerations for better collaboration and a stronger relationship. For example, working closely with marketing to determine if there are any aspects that could require a lighter touch approach, for example reviewing standardized or boilerplate content. This doesn’t just give marketers some much-appreciated respect and autonomy — it also helps streamline and simplify work for compliance experts.


It’s also valuable to remember that both teams struggle with inefficient review processes. Avoiding the temptation to rest the blame on one another, and agreeing that this is a problem with underlying workflows — not with teams themselves is a step towards a more collaborative relationship. This helps shift the focus to solutions and smarter approaches instead of “finger-pointing” and frustration.


Finally, it often helps to focus on shared priorities. This strengthens the team’s ability to find common ground with marketing experts and work toward mutually beneficial solutions — particularly through the use of innovative technology.


Uniting Compliance and Marketing with Red Marker

Marketing, legal and compliance can trace many of their biggest issues with the marketing compliance review process back to the inefficiency of the workflow.

Fortunately, Red Marker is here to help. Our solution helps streamline, simplify, and improve the marketing compliance review process for both teams. Red Marker automates risk detection in marketing assets, providing consistent, clear feedback and remedial actions to help ensure a high level of advertising and communications compliance. Leveraging technology can also enable better collaboration across teams, as well as freeing resources, giving back the time to spend on other initiatives. 

Red Marker provides a solution where creativity and compliance can coexist, highlighting the importance of both marketing and compliance for risk management in brand storytelling, communications, and advertising.

Want to take a deeper dive into the perceived divide between these teams and how AI can help?  Download our whitepaper to see additional stats and insights from our study.

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