Regulate the Distribution of Your Marketing Materials......or it Could Hurt You

November 23, 2011 Jared Shusterman

For those of us in marketing, we all know it's a struggle to get the field to carry the proper marketing literature and message. Wrong versions, outdated material, misinformation, regulatory changes - these issues all threaten the field's ability to carry the message through intact. For those in distributed marketing organizations, this challenge exponentially increases - especially when your sales channels are independent businesses representing your brand.

Recently, Wells Investment Securities was fined a good chunk of change for using misleading marketing materials in the sale of Wells Timberland REIT. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) levied this fine - saying that from May 2007 through September 2009, Wells reviewed, approved and distributed 116 advertising and sales materials containing misleading, unwarranted or exaggerated statements. Whether or not Wells Investment Securities purposefully mislead investors is not the heart of the question - the fact is that managing the marketing chain can be daunting.

Many of us are not in as heavily regulated industries as Finance, but this recent example called up other examples of how damaging not regulating material distribution can be - beyond literal financial repercussions. And in this day and age - material distribution can also refer to marketing in the digital form. Here are some other examples of where this can hurt:

  • Speed to Market Issues - If your marketing materials and messaging is not moving through your respective execution channels fast enough, your offer expiration can render the work and expense of distributing the message wasteful.
  • Lack of Access - Lack of easy access to the proper materials can lead to misinformation. Old product information, pricing and messaging can linger for months, even years, after the materials expire if there isn't an easy and methodical way to update what previously existed.
  • Legal Updates - Legal updates can be a pain - particularly on footnotes and disclaimers attached to our marketing that 99.9% never read anyway.
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About the Author

Jared Shusterman

Jared is the Chief Executive Officer of SproutLoud. Since 2006, he has been primarily responsible for strategic direction of the Company, as well as the oversight of SproutLoud's Partner ecosystem. Prior to SproutLoud, Jared worked in Thomas Weisel Partner’s internet and online advertising investment banking practice in San Francisco. He served as the lead analyst on a number of Corporate Finance and M&A deals including Newscorps’ buyout of Intermix Media ( Jared graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Jared has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO). Jared has been honored as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs by South Florida Business Journal and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Jared lives in South Florida with his wife and two sons.

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