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Risk in marketing 'must be considered'

04/07/2013

It is crucial that any risks undertaken as part of a marketing campaign are carefully considered and do not result in any liability for the customer or the client, an expert has warned.

While playing it too safe can result in a dull campaign, it is self-evident that people in digital and online marketing need to avoid stepping over the regulatory line - especially in the current climate, where companies are being closely watched to ensure their ethical behaviour.

Bill Douetil, founder and director of Marketing Risk, noted that possible fall-outs from these mistakes range from offending potential customers to dealing with a breach of industry code.

Writing in The Marketer, he pointed out that these risks can be managed and mitigated as long as decision-makers do not find themselves hiding their heads in the sand and avoiding whatever problems have arisen.

The always-on nature of social and online marketing make it especially important that key figures have the capability and information to respond to any issues that arise with a campaign or advert as quickly as possible.

"Make sure you have sufficient processes to highlight risk to the appropriate senior staff within your organisation. Likewise ensure you have appropriate sign-off controls. This is especially important when you are trying a new marketing technique or technology," argued Mr Douetil.

He declared that codes of compliance and potential regulatory problems should always be discussed by a legal team in advance of a campaign, and suggested that an independent risk audit can also be helpful in smoothing out any rough edges.

"When things go wrong in a marketing campaign it often happens fast, so it is essential you have robust and pre-determined crisis procedures," the risk expert concluded.

John Shewell, founder of CoLab, recently told PR Week that many industry experts are playing it safe at the moment in order to avoid problems.