Marketing today is changing rapidly, it seems like everyday our team is discussing a new way to go to market to win the eyes of a new audience. The process is seemingly endless, and if we’re being honest, we have to constantly strategize to determine which efforts will win out to produce the best results. Add in some regulatory processes, and you’ve got another major element to consider, too. However, marketing in highly regulated spaces like the medical and healthcare industries IS possible, you just have to be aware of what to do (and more importantly, what NOT to do) to market in an effective and secure way.
Here are a few of the common regulations many industries must comply with:
- The Medical Maniacs: All medical and health marketing communications must comply with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), Guidelines from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, as well as government systems like the Affordable Care Act.
- All the Money Makers: Marketing statements and campaigns within the financial services industry must fall within the guidelines of the SEC, (Securities and Exchange Commission), FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and even popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter mandate rules on financial institutions.
- Boozers and Smokers: The alcohol and tobacco industries are pretty intense on their restrictions too. (We all know what smoking can do to your baby if you’re pregnant, right?) State and federal laws as well as advertising companies regulate these products with a pretty tight leash.
- Those Who Put it All Out There: Publicly-traded companies are required to abide by the Sabanes-Oxley Act. This law helps to prevent fraudsters and improve financial disclosures.
Do you fall in one of the above categories? Don’t freak out, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you craft your marketing magic:
Know Your Role
Obviously, some rules are yours to worry about and some are not. Knowing the regulations you must comply with is paramount when crafting your efforts. Also, make sure you keep up with changes and new compliance requirements that arise. Reason being, what you may be able to say today might change tomorrow, so set yourself up with news alerts for your specific regulation(s) so you know right away should something change. And if something does change, don’t forget to go back and revise any information that may already be published that doesn’t meet the regulatory standards anymore.
If you need some help developing an inbound marketing strategy from the ground up, we have a free webinar you can watch right now. Get it here.
Check Once, Check Twice
We marketers admit, sometimes "National Wine Day" sneaks up on us, and we can immediately think of cool ways to leverage it with our brand. Although a selfie contest and brand-specific hashtag for your wine company might seem like an awesome and engaging idea, what does the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have to say about it? Can you publish pictures of people actually drinking your wine? Make sure you are leaving time to review and double check your efforts before hitting that “publish” or “send” button.
Going International? Cover Your Bases There, Too.
You might be a regulation wizard when it comes to what you can do here in the states, but what happens if you start selling in Canada? Europe? Anywhere else? You bet you’ve gotta comply there too. For example, if you are looking to market and sell a medical device to people in Canada, you need to obtain a license to do so through the Canadian Medical Device Bureau.
Don’t Lose All That Marketing Genius
Compliance doesn’t have to mean boring efforts. You can still creating interesting and engaging marketing elements that cater to the needs of your prospects through things like personalization. For example, set up your emails with smart content that adjusts with customized information based on the location you’re sending to. This does a couple of things - gives targeted and locally-focused content for that specific person and keeps you compliant at the same time.
Automate it All
Marketing automation tools like HubSpot provide tools that can help you control your marketing efforts based on regulations through things like target audience list segmentation, separate campaigns, smart content, compliant-specific email templates and so much more. This can protect organizations from things like audits since everything is managed and recorded in one centralized system.
Bring in Backup When Needed
Inbound marketing agencies like ours have the resources and tools to ensure compliance regulations are executed upon. We work with a number of companies who are marketing effectively with regulation in mind, and we’d be happy to help you do the same. Contact us here if you need some help.