Part 2: Implementing Solutions that Remove and Resolve Pain Points

In Part 1 of this series, Identifying the Sources of Friction, we explained:

  • what motivates your Marketing and Legal teams;
  • common causes of friction between the teams; and
  • how to identify these sources of friction.

In this article we move to solution mode. Here are some methods our clients have successfully adopted to transform the relationship between Marketing and Legal, resolving common friction points. They are all methods you could consider adopting for your organisation.

1. Build a Database of Approved Collateral Which Marketing Can Reference

To save everyone time, Marketing should incorporate the lessons they have learnt from previous legal advice into new marketing campaigns and collateral.

One way to support them in achieving this is by storing all previously approved legal collateral in a central database, accessible to all Marketing team members. This has a number of benefits, including that it:

  • ensures the business’ marketing collateral is stored in one location, rather than in multiple individual’s folders, making resources hard to find if someone is away or leaves the business;
  • helps provides an auditable trail of both the collateral and approvals; and
  • creates a precedent bank that can be drawn on and replicated, helping to provide consistency in messaging and brand. This, in turn, saves both the Legal and Marketing teams time and reduces cost.

2. Educate Each Other on What Works

Consider having Legal run a workshop for the Marketing team, educating them on such things as:

  • key industry or marketing-related regulation that impacts their decisions;
  • examples of words and images that can’t be used and why;
  • the process Legal undertakes when reviewing marketing collateral and the information they need Marketing to provide (such as source disclaimers) in order to complete the review.

Likewise, Marketing could use the opportunity to educate Legal on such things as the business’ target market, and why certain phrases and images might appeal to that demographic.

Both the database and the workshops are about knowledge sharing and transfer. The more that each team educates the other on their objectives, the easier it will be to work together.

3. Create a Checklist to Save Legal From Chasing Key Information

Every time Marketing sends collateral through to Legal to review, it invariably results in emails back-and-forth, with Legal seeking key information before it can move forward. Save both teams time and speed up approval by having Legal create a checklist of key information that Marketing must provide every time it wants collateral reviewed. For example, this checklist could include the campaign’s:

  • purpose;
  • duration;
  • target market;
  • channels to market; and
  • approvals for source data.

Try to limit the checklist to one page, and only include the essential and most commonly required items.

In our experience, if the checklist is too long (we’ve seen some Legal departments supply lists that are over three pages!) it won’t be completed by Marketing, or won’t be completed properly, defeating the point of the exercise and becoming an additional source of friction.

4. Implement Systems That Let Both Teams Know What’s Coming

With both teams juggling multiple priorities, it’s important to provide visibility on what’s in the pipeline so they can manage resources and expectations.

One of our clients finds that inviting a member of the in-house legal team to come to a weekly Marketing team meeting is very helpful. Benefits include:

  • Legal is kept in the loop as to what the Marketing team is working on and is available to answer questions on the spot;
  • it is valuable for relationship-building, as the teams usually don’t interact much; and
  • involving Legal early in the campaign development process reduces the chance of errors being embedded early, saving both teams time, cost and reducing the business’ risk.

These meetings also help resolve another potential friction point: that in-house legal often doesn’t offer to get involved early in a campaign’s development (or is not invited to do so); this leads to changes needing to be made late in the marketing process, once a lot of work has already gone into the collateral. This can be particularly challenging for the likes of television commercials or videos, where rework is expensive.

Create a Marketing Priorities Spreadsheet or Dashboard

To provide both Legal and Marketing with visibility on what marketing campaigns are underway, and where they are in the development and approval process, create a dashboard that both teams can access.

This could be a simple spreadsheet kept in a central location, off-the-shelf software like Trello, or a purpose-built marketing review system like Prism, developed by LegalVision to communicate with our ad review clients.

Whatever form it takes, the dashboard could include such information as:

  • campaigns that Legal and Marketing are working on together;
  • each campaign’s status (i.e. stage of development); and
  • order of priority. This should be set by the Marketing team’s manager.

The Legal team can view the dashboard to see what campaigns are coming, where they’re at and which campaigns they will need to prioritise. This communication tool helps them to manage their workload and meet the Marketing team’s needs.

Similarly, by having the Marketing team’s manager set the priorities, they are also setting expectations within the Marketing team regarding each campaign’s importance to the business. This also means individual team members won’t chase Legal for input unnecessarily.

5. Legal Should Provide Alternative Solutions

It irks the Marketing team if they receive collateral back from Legal, marked up with red lines and no alternative solutions. A more constructive – and collaborative – approach is to instead provide them with options.

Here is an example: “We would advise against claiming ‘We will find a home loan right for you.’ This is potentially misleading because it could suggest to the consumer that they are guaranteed to get a home loan, regardless of their situation or requirements. Instead, we suggest you amend this to ‘We will help you see if there is a home loan right for you’.”

Likewise, if the Marketing team has used the database of previously approved collateral and realise that a word or image they are proposing might be risky, they too should consider providing alternatives. This gives Legal:

  • something to work with; and
  • reduces the likelihood of the collateral needing a second round of legal approval.

It is also a more collaborative approach and demonstrates that marketing has turned its mind to the potential issues.

Key Takeaways

It’s important to have Marketing collateral reviewed by Legal to reduce risk to the business. However, it’s also important that this is done in a timely and constructive manner. The relationship between both teams works best when they collaborate to identify and remove potential friction points.

Start by understanding each team’s objectives and what motivates them. Then take the time to map the journey of a standard marketing campaign, to identify at which stages both teams need to interact. This will help you to identify potential pain points for both teams. Having done this, it is time to implement solutions. There is a range of great options, including:

  • creating a database of previously approved marketing collateral on which Marketing can draw;
  • having a checklist of information Marketing must provide Legal to reduce wasted time;
  • inviting a Legal team member to join regular Marketing team meetings so they are in the loop early and can answer questions;
  • running knowledge transfer workshops to educate each other on key requirements;
  • maintaining dashboards to track priorities and status, providing each team with visibility and setting expectations; and
  • providing alternative collateral options to smooth and speed up the approval process.