You might have a great product, rising brand and awesome marketing ideas. To make it successful in practice you need to tackle the potential legal issues as well.
Marketing rules and regulation are relatively complicated and fragmented. Depending on the field of industry, a startup must comply in addition to the general marketing legislation such as Consumer Protection Act and Unfair Business Practices Act with several sectoral regulations. Digital innovations introduce all the time new ways to do marketing and from the legal point of view, sometimes those might cause unexpected issues.
But don’t get discouraged! In most cases regulation does not cause an enormous obstacle to achieve your marketing targets. You just need to figure out and manage relevant requirements and by doing it in advance, you might even save money, time and efforts.
- Identify your target market. Legal framework and most of the requirements differ significantly depending are you planning to carry out B2C or B2B marketing. Second, identify the specific target group and check if there are any specific requirements concerning that group. For instance, marketing efforts towards minors are under stricter requirements than marketing towards adults.
- Find out are there any sector-specific requirements concerning the product category or your field of industry. Law sets some specific requirements for the marketing of e.g. alcohol or food and finance, healthcare services and products. Besides the sector specific requirements set by the law, also the Consumer Ombudsman´s guidelines and various industry related self-regulations might set limitations for the marketing.
- Electronic direct marketing such as sending advertisements by email or otherwise using email address or phone number requires an advance consent from the consumer. Find out is there any other sector-specific rules concerning the marketing channels.
- Planning marketing efforts in social media? In principle, social media based marketing is subject to same obligations as marketing in other channels. Advertisements must be always easily recognizable as such, regardless of the method of marketing or advertising channel. If you use blogger to promote your products make sure that the blogger clearly mentions the cooperation. When it comes to the social media, recognisability of marketing may be even more important comparing other marketing channels.
- That’s all? Besides the applicable marketing related regulation a startup needs to make sure it will comply with other regulations related to the marketing campaign such as data protection and IP law matters. So, before starting the marketing efforts protect your own IP rights (i.a. brand) and make sure you don’t violate other’s when marketing. If you utilize personal data as a part of marketing, make sure you know how to do that safely and legally according applicable data protection regulation, and inform clearly about the use and collection of such data.