A Look at Why Compliance Tools Are Crucial for Financial Institutions Launching Affiliate Programs
- Last Updated: February 8, 2024
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Affiliate marketing is becoming an increasingly popular channel for marketers in financial institutions. More and more, we’re seeing partnerships between financial institutions and third-party publishers or influencers that are helping them better reach their target audiences.
As financial brands engage in this newer marketing model, it’s important to remember that these partnerships are subject to the same regulatory requirements as their in-house marketing efforts. Compliance tools are thus an integral part of a successful affiliate channel — one that needs to be incorporated from the get-go.
In this article, we address the need for compliance tools as part of your affiliate marketing efforts, and share best practices for choosing the right solutions.
The Regulatory Landscape for Marketers in Finance
When it comes to marketing compliance, financial institutions have a lot to stay on top of. There are a number of rules, regulations, and guidelines from various regulatory bodies that exist to safeguard the interests of consumers and maintain integrity in the industry. These regulations, such as those imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), outline the dos and don’ts of marketing practices in the industry.
Not complying with these rules can not only result in financial fines, they can also compromise your brand’s reputation and negatively impact its ability to build trust and generate deposits. As such, there’s a significant need for financial institutions to keep their marketing efforts within the confines of existing regulations.
Affiliate Marketing in Financial Institutions
Affiliate marketing has become an appealing channel for financial institutions for numerous reasons. Based on third-party relationships with publishers, influencers, or other brands in the same sphere of influence, affiliate marketing allows banks and other financial institutions to access an existing audience of target customers. Other benefits of affiliate marketing include:
- Increased diversification within the marketing strategy
- A cost-effective approach to customer acquisition
- Enhanced online presence
- Improved brand awareness
- More refined target marketing efforts
While the benefits are plentiful, affiliate marketing can also open the door to potential compliance risks. At the end of the day, if your third-party partner is producing and publishing the content for an affiliate campaign, your marketing team will inherently have less control over what is published. Your affiliates might not know about the various regulations your brand needs to adhere to, and they may post something that ultimately puts you in a position of non-compliance.
This is where a marketing compliance tool — one that automatically checks any mention of your brand for compliance — is key. It can make or break the success of your affiliate marketing program.
Compliance Tools: What They Are and Why You Need Them
Marketing compliance tools are software solutions that have been crafted to help marketing teams keep their activities aligned with legal and regulatory standards and policies. These tools typically include automated or AI-driven compliance checks, real-time monitoring across specific web pages, and reporting functionalities that provide a central viewpoint into the regulatory health of a specific brand or family of brands.
Without these marketing compliance tools, teams are left to manually check and review whether their messaging is compliant across the board, and that opens the door to frequent and costly human error. Instead, using a marketing compliance tool can help teams stay focused on their strategic initiatives while also having peace of mind that their brand is not at risk of non-compliance.
As financial brands operate in such a complex regulatory environment, compliance tools are particularly useful in this context. They vastly reduce the risk of human error and can catch content discrepancies before regulators do so that teams can act quickly to address them. Not only does this help build trust with regulators, it also ensures that your brand is communicating with customers in the most effective, ethical, and appropriate way.
How to Choose the Right Compliance Tool
If you’re in the search for a marketing compliance tool for your financial institution, consider the following questions:
- Was the tool designed exclusively for financial institutions? As we discussed above, financial institutions have very specific marketing regulations that go beyond what other industries might have to navigate. Choosing a tool that was designed for the industry will ensure that you have broader and more specific coverage.
- Does it have a robust technology behind it? What type of software supports the solution? And are you able to set the frequency for your scans? Ideally, you’ll be looking for a rules-based engine that allows you to flexibly set your own rules for monitoring content (e.g., inclusion of disclosures).
- Does it monitor links outside your website? The best platforms automate the process of finding and reviewing your content, comprehensively scanning it to ensure it aligns with your brand guidelines and desired placements.
- Does it include reporting capabilities? Are you able to pull a report of all your live campaigns to understand whether they are compliant?
Other important factors to keep in mind as you make your decision will be the cost, scalability, ease of use, and the quality of the customer support. Once you’ve landed on the compliance tool that makes the most sense for your business and marketing efforts, you will be well-positioned to expand your affiliate partnerships and scale your program knowing you’ve got your content compliance covered.
Financial institutions use Fintel Check to amplify their compliance team’s capacity and set their marketing programs up for long-term success. Reach out to our team to learn more.