Keep your marketing legal

An often overlooked aspect of marketing is the need to stay within the law. Many enthusiastic marketers are unaware of the laws that relate to marketing activity and risk unintentional illegality.
Listed below are 5 areas where legal considerations can easily impact on your marketing plans.
Sales Promotions
Did you know that free prize draw competitions can’t demand a product or service purchase to enter? If your competition doesn’t require “skill or judgement” from entrants, you are obliged to offer a mechanism for non-purchasers to enter completely free and give them an equal chance of winning. We recommend creating a set of rules (or terms and conditions) for promotions which can be published on your website and/or promotional materials.
We have probably all heard of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), but do you realise that every piece of advertising, even a small ad in a local newspaper can be reported to them if a reader feels it breaks their code. The ASA website has lots of great information, but as a simple guide, their purpose is to ensure advertisements are legal, decent, honest and truthful. Do your ads meet these criteria?
Database Marketing
When you collect data from customers or prospects, do you ensure you have the necessary permissions to market to them? If not, you could be breaking the data protection act. There is a good page in the Information Commissioner’s Office website all about how the act relates to marketing.
Intellectual Property
Are your brands, trademarks, designs and inventions properly protected? What would / could you do if a competitor tried to confuse your customers by offering a very similar looking product or copied your documents. How long would it take to resolve and what would it cost? Some fairly simple and inexpensive steps can add significant protection and add value to your business.
Copyright ownership
When you use a photographer or designer to create marketing materials, who owns the copyright? Ownership and future use should be specified in the paperwork between you and the supplier, but we have seen instances where it either wasn’t specified or the business owner hadn’t understood it properly and some difficult conversations resulted!
While we certainly aren’t qualified to offer legal advice, we are happy to discuss any concerns you may have about the legality of your marketing activity and help you find the right specialist adviser should you need one.