Digital Marketing in a Regulated Industry


Putting together digital marketing pieces in a way that fully meets regulatory requirements can grow your business exponentially.

There is a misconception that companies within a regulated industry are denied the benefit of digital marketing. These businesses often hide behind their regulations, simply because it is easier than working with them to create new avenues into the digital realm of marketing and company branding.

Is your marketing antiquated and stuck in the past? Could you be using regulations as an excuse to avoid change and stepping into the digital age? Are you really restricted from having an effective social media presence?

The facts say that you are not.

Regulated industries, such as those in the financial management realm, can be creating a very personal connection and presence with their customers, and therefore developing a competitive advantage. But, they must be willing to take the initiative to change how things are accomplished, to re-organize, and to create a cooperative strategy within their organization. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tackle content marketing in a manner that fully upholds your regulatory standards.

It not only can be done, but the companies who successfully adjust can grow their businesses exponentially. In fact, other companies within your industry are probably already proving this to be true. A recent study indicated that that 77% of respondents from companies across industries planned to increase their digital marketing budgets in the coming year.

So, how does a business in a regulated industry — with restrictions on things like publishing, advertising, and even how interviews can be conducted — overcome these challenges and become a content marketing machine? How do you deal with the fact that every piece of content must be reviewed by an attorney or an outside compliance agency? How do you promote your business when there are even restrictions on customer testimonials?

First, marketing in today’s digital environment will require an overhaul of your strategic planning (aka, how you do things, and perhaps how you have always done things) and the release of any fear you have of digital marketing.

Creating an environment conducive to digital marketing

Here are a few tips to support this change:

  • You must create a management environment where the swift development of rich content can thrive. In regulated industries, this probably means you need fast and effective access to an attorney, who can read and approve new content for public consumption within a couple of hours.
  • You need to create a smooth, reciprocal interaction across these departments, with a focus on a more efficient operation and mutual support of the approval process.
  • You need to invest financially in a solid strategic plan for your digital marketing. It takes money to make money, so to speak. Consider teaming up with a firm of talented individuals from outside your industry, who specialize in how to create digital content customized to your target demographic. This team should have the capability to analyze content performance metrics and to guide your digital presence to achieve optimal results. Their services should provide you a customized content plan, increase your customer engagement level, and develop a digital presence for your company that meets regulation standards for your industry.
  • Your content writers and management team needs to be well-versed on the latest data and statistics, as well as your overall marketing initiatives, so they can produce content based on the latest facts and figures that will attract new customers. Essentially, they need to know what your new customers want and have the data available that will garner their attention.

Once you have paved the way, your company can begin to benefit from the creation of a blog, eBooks, and other digital presentations.

So how do you make it happen? How do you begin to access these modern marketing techniques in a regulated industry?

  • First, your leadership team must be on board, ready to embrace change and to learn to communicate in new ways. If this is not something you can see happening because mindsets are stuck in the 1990s (pre-social media age), then you should educate stakeholders on how social media can impact a business’s growth and success.
  • Redevelop the marketing department and provide the resources necessary to stay compliant and obtain necessary legal approvals quickly and efficiently.
  • Befriend the legal department. They should be part of your support team, not a challenge you must overcome. Remove old paradigms and replace them with creative solutions, like an interactive spreadsheet shared between marketing and compliance to speed up the social posting process. Make marketing and compliance part of the same team, one that works together to seek solutions, alternatives, and compromises.
  • Give it time. This is a big step in the right direction to align long-term strategies to better reach a new set of consumers. But it does not happen overnight. Plant the digital marketing seeds today and reap a crop of new customers tomorrow.

If you are in a regulated industry, the time to embrace change and step into the realm of digital marketing is now. Those who learn to evolve, to think creatively to find solutions, and to face new demands as a team are the ones that will rise to the top of their industry and experience a competitive advantage that supports future success.

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