When you’re putting together your marketing plan for your business, it’s easy to get deep into the planning phase without once considering the legality of those plans. Indeed, most business owners aren’t likely to stumble onto some sort of illegal marketing. But that doesn’t mean that the risk doesn’t exist. Here, we’re going to look at some of the legal risks of marketing wrongly, and what you can do to avoid it.
The risks of misleading marketing
Perhaps the clearest example of marketing practices that can get you in trouble is that of misleading marketing. Ads have use metaphors and other imagery to depict effects that can’t be expected from the product or service, but the disconnect from reality needs to be as clear as possible. Being misleading about your products or services, their country of origin, how they’re made, or any sales available can get you in trouble.
Reaching out directly to customers
Some marketing methods involve directly reaching out to customers, such as with emails, mail-in flyers, or by calling them directly. These methods are, broadly speaking, legal, but are heavily regulated. If you rely heavily on these, then you might want the help of a business lawyer like Accuro Maxwell to make sure you’re crossing any lines. If your business is found to be harassing consumers, it could mean a fine or worse.
Mind your intellectual property
You are allowed to talk about your competitors and even to make direct comparisons with them, so long as your claims are truthful and presented accurately. However, you cannot use their intellectual property, which can include their logo, product visuals, and even their name. Furthermore, you should look at sites like Trademarks Online to start protecting your own intellectual property to avoid having it misused by other brands. You need to protect your own rights, aside from making sure you’re not infringing on the rights of others.
Limit your social media risk
Social media may feel like a more informal marketing space than advertising platforms, but the truth is that all of the advertising regulations mentioned above apply to social media, too. As such, to make sure that you’re managing your risk, you should have a set of in-house guidelines to dictate how you do and don’t post on social media, including making no statements that you wouldn’t make in other forms of advertising, as well as monitoring it for any statements that could be misread or misleading and working to curate it.
Keeping customer data private
Some forms of advertising may make use of the personal information that has been collected for customers, including contact details. If that is the case, then you need to make sure that you are complying with whichever data protection and privacy acts are relevant to your business, working with security specialists like Cyber CX to make sure that it is not at risk of a breach.
There is a lot of legal responsibility that goes into running a business. Make sure you know your basics before you embark on whatever your efforts are, including your marketing efforts.