Regulated businesses are increasingly looking to automate their marketing processes.
When you look at the potential benefits of automation, this isn’t surprising. Automating your processes can:
- Minimise the time you take to produce collateral
- Cut out unnecessary admin, duplication and rework
- Reduce regulatory risk
- Increase collaboration with your Compliance and Sales teams
- Improve brand consistency
Selecting the best system for your business is essential. With a range of solutions available, we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential things to look for when you are considering automating your processes.
- Is it user-friendly?
Not everyone using your system is going to be a technical whizz. Far from it – as one of the aims is to connect a range of teams with different skills and objectives. How intuitive are the systems you’re looking at? Could you see your firm’s teams adopting them as ‘business as usual’? Automated workflow systems should be easy to pick up. If it’s not, move on.
- Will it make all your processes quicker, easier, more efficient?
A good solution will streamline campaign management – from briefing projects into creative agencies, to document creation, compliance approval, publishing and storage. It will include digital activities as standard, and capture an automatic, FCA-compliant audit trail to save you having to keep manual records.
Does the solution you’re considering do all of this?
- Does it have the potential to connect all areas of your business?
Easy, online collaboration makes for faster, more efficient processes, with regulatory compliance built-in, branding consistent and unnecessary admin minimised. Look for a system that has the ability to include all relevant teams and external agencies. Does it give 24/7 online access, so you can work with suppliers wherever they are?
- Can it be customised to your requirements?
Your business is unique. You need checklists and processes that reflect this, and can be built to mirror the way you work. Make sure any system you’re considering gives you the option to bespoke it to your needs.
- Does it make compliance approval compulsory?
One of the main benefits of automation is its ability to mandate approval – minimising the chance of errors. A good system will build in sign-off to the marketing process, preventing regulatory breaches.
- Is digital activity – such as social media; website approvals – included?
Managing digital marketing can be a particular headache in a regulated world. It’s fast-moving, needs speedy approval, and yet demands the same rigour around sign-off and audit trails as hard-copy financial promotions. Does the solution you’re considering make it easy to review and approve all your digital content, including websites, blogs, emails and social media posts?
- Does it capture version history and a full, FCA-compliant audit trail?
To meet regulatory requirements, you need an audit trail and archive of all your financial promotions. By creating this automatically, you avoid the need for manual record-keeping and minimise the potential for human error.
- How is it priced?
An automated workflow can transform your business – but you may only have a small number of users. You need a system with scalable pricing – allowing you to realise the benefits without a disproportionate price tag. Make sure the fees are transparent, too, so it’s easy to calculate the cost benefits.
- How secure is it?
You need to have 100% faith in the security of whatever solution you select. The best systems will guarantee security via an ultra-secure hosting provider and robust data encryption. Are processes audited, and do they comply with ISO27001? What accreditation does the hosting provider have? Ask how your information is kept, and where, before committing to a purchase.
- What technical support does the provider offer?
Although a good system will be intuitive, initially and from time to time you may need technical support. Does the solution you’re considering have full and ongoing support from a UK-based team? Are there user guides, videos, online support services? Does the helpdesk team speak ‘plain English’? Find out what level of support is available.
The benefits of marketing automation are well-known. But choosing a provider can be challenging – there are a number of options in the market. And not all automation systems are created equal!
We hope these tips will help you to select the provider that’s right for you.
Source: Perivan Solutions