How to get legal to say yes to your marketing idea

We take a look at effective ways marketers can work with their legal, regulatory and corporate affairs teams to minimise risk and maximise marketing outcomes.

10 Helpful hints to better align marketing with legal

  1. Marketing’s review submissions should be as comprehensive as possible before they are sent to legal. 
  2. Never present half-baked ideas or incomplete work. If the marketing team can’t take the time to fill out and properly document the work they need reviewed, then it’s not worth legal’s time to attempt to review it.
  3. Marketing should develop a standard calendar of review priorities and share with the legal team.
  4. Priorities should be stack-ranked and signed off by marketing leadership, so that legal understands these are leadership priorities. All priorities should include business context to help legal more efficiently process them.
  5. Avoid last-minute requests. If you must make a last-minute request, make sure legal knows the context and reason for the rush.
  6. Don’t send dozens of different marketers of all levels to work with legal — this will understandably annoy the legal team. 
  7. Establish one or two marketing liaisons to work with legal on the prioritised backlog of requests. These liaisons should be relatively senior and able to represent different kinds of marketing requests.
  8. Establish an escalation path for disagreements between legal reviewers and marketers. Marketing and legal need a clear process to escalate disagreements that come up on a specific issue.
  9. Marketing and legal leadership should agree to an approval model that includes a final tie-breaker at the top if the working teams cannot agree.
  10. Establish one or two internal marketing reviewers to review work before it goes to legal. These reviewers should be trained to review with a legal eye and should ensure that all required information, including documentation and citations, are included before the work is sent to legal. 

-          Source: Zendesk’s senior VP of marketing, Jeff Titterton


Key areas of law Australian marketers should be familiar with:

  • AANA Code of Ethics
  • Trade Mark Law (controls use of people’s brands, slogans and logos)
  • Copyright law (controls use of ‘copyright’ such as photographs, images, poems, music and videos and also performer’s rights)
  • Australian Consumer Law (particularly section 18 which deals with misleading and deceptive conduct and section 29 which deals with false representations)
  • Trade Promotion Lottery Laws (places conditions on how competitions are run)
  • Defamation Law (protects reputation of individuals)
  • Injurious Falsehood (protects reputation of businesses)
  • Privacy Laws (controls use of personal information)
  • SPAM Act (restricts certain advertising practices)

-          Source: Studio Legal principal and legal director, Jennifer Tutty

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