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Features of marketing compliance software to keep your creative team compliant

10 min read
Aaron Marquis

False advertising, spam practices, ignoring privacy regulations — these are all marketing compliance issues. In short, marketing compliance ensures your marketing follows the laws, regulations, and standards that apply to your industry and location. It also includes sticking to your own internal guidelines surrounding things like your brand voice and messaging.

Many creative teams struggle with compliance, especially those in heavily regulated industries like finance, healthcare, and consumer packaged goods. SEC, FTC, EASA... there's a nearly limitless number of alphabet agencies ready to catch your company. Non-compliance can be expensive — from regulatory fines to reputational damage — but following compliance is also expensive in time and effort.

You can take the pressure off your team by setting up compliance workflows and tools. Compliance software can streamline the content review process, helping you spot errors, automate routine tasks, and meet legal requirements, enabling your team to focus on what they do best.

Here's how marketing compliance software works — and what you should look for in the compliance tools you use.

What we'll cover

The importance of marketing compliance software for creative teams

Creative team drawing and writing ideas with pens

When you mention compliance, most people think of the legal standards in sectors like financial services, healthcare, or data privacy (for some it’s fast-talking narrators at the end of car commercials). However, every industry has its own compliance standards and compliance risks.

Compliance impacts everything from brand reputation to marketing reach, legal standing, and profits. Because it's so all-encompassing — and complicated to navigate — it often takes up a lot of creative teams' time. At the end of the day, your team will have less time for genuine creativity and innovation.

But here’s an odd phenomenon with compliance: it can help raise standards across your team, improving your effectiveness and creativity. Let's see how. 

Maintaining brand compliance

Brand compliance is the ongoing process of making sure that your work matches the brand guidelines, identity, and values.

Using compliance management software means that you can build in brand compliance from the start, instead of frantically editing work in the final stages once the brand manager has seen it (and raised a dozen red flags). You can also avoid the nightmare scenario of creative being thrown out completely for missing brand guidelines.

Software can also help streamline the marketing compliance process. You can pinpoint issues and assign tasks on a living document, with no more confusion about file versions or who owns a task. 

Navigating regulatory compliance 

Almost every industry has its own compliance rules — but not all companies have their own dedicated compliance team. It’s usually a hot potato that gets tossed to the creative team, leaving them responsible for meeting regulatory requirements.

That's no small task. Gaps in compliance can raise legal, financial, reputational, and cybersecurity problems. Take a look at what happened to Anthem, who had to pay $16 million to DHHS following a cybersecurity breach that resulted in a major HIPAA violation that affected nearly 79 million people.

As marketing gets smarter, more data-driven, and more AI-influenced, the risks have only increased. Marketing teams have to handle ever-growing concerns about customer data collection, GDPR, and privacy laws.

Your creative workflows must include compliance checks. If they're not designed for the compliance environment that your brand faces, then your content risks serious consequences.

Fortunately, marketing compliance software can make the process a lot easier. You can spot risks, loop in legal where necessary, and update compliance requirements in real time. 

Enhances creativity within boundaries

Orson Welles said, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitation,” and it seems psychologists agree. Boundaries challenge people to think differently. Understanding relevant laws can help your team work with confidence, accuracy, and integrity within a safe framework, instead of worrying about whether they're breaching regulatory standards.

Compliance management software takes the guesswork out of your compliance efforts, freeing up time and energy to focus on creative work. It can even give you new insights to improve your decision-making as a campaign moves forward. 

Brand consistency across assets and campaigns

Consistency is an essential part of brand and regulatory compliance. Marketing compliance software means that you can track the same compliance challenges across every creative asset you work on. All marketing materials will be held to the same standards, assessed in the same way, and shared with the right stakeholders for final checks.

It also removes the problem of multiple file versions. Instead of sharing links to files with ever-more complicated names, everyone works, comments, and shares tasks in the same living document. No more "final_final_FINAL_v2_december_FINAL.pdf"!


Scale is an ongoing challenge for creative teams. The pressure to move fast and maintain control over creative workflows and processes often butt heads. However, with the right tools and processes, scaling up your work quickly without compromising on quality or originality is much simpler.

Marketing compliance software is one way to trim your content workflows and free up creative team members to do what they do best. By automating most of your compliance strategy, you can make time for creative work without losing reputation or client/consumer trust. 

Key features to look for in marketing compliance software

Marketing compliance software is designed to ensure that your marketing materials adhere to regulatory requirements, brand guidelines, and internal policies. Ideally, these tools should enable you to run streamlined workflows, assign tasks, share up-to-date versions of assets, and conduct marketing compliance reviews without any extra effort. 

However, some tools on the market are better equipped than others. Below, we’ll examine the most important features to look for in marketing compliance software to help you shorten your list of potential tools.

Ziflow proof details with workflows stages and user interface

Centralized record-keeping

Whether you're brainstorming, creating mock-ups, or sending final versions for proofing, digital asset management is a key part of creative work. You need everyone to have the latest version of creative assets — plus a way to track changes and see who's worked on what. 

Keep in mind that the best centralized record-keeping tools may not always be dedicated compliance tools. Collaborative proofing software, like Ziflow, equipped with robust compliance features allows you to store file versions, communications, and compliance guidelines in a single location. All team members and stakeholders see the same version of your team’s assets, so changes can't fall through the cracks.

Streamlined review and approval of assets

The right marketing compliance software will speed up your marketing efforts by making it easier to review and approve assets. Instead of chasing stakeholders through email, Slack, and comments on different Google documents, you'll find everything in one place.

You can set up custom workflows to suit the compliance standards and approval processes that your team is used to. Once they're created, you'll benefit from a standardized process where the most routine tasks can be automated for extra speed. 

Those improvements aren’t trivial. According to research by Zapier, over 70% of workers spend up to three hours a day simply moving data around and trying to find missing information. Standardized, automated processes mean that all the information for your creative projects is where you need it when you need it. 

Audit trails and reporting

Marketing compliance software might make your workflow feel seamless. But behind the scenes, it also keeps detailed records on who accesses, edits, and approves creative assets.

This is vital for accountability on creative teams. You'll be prepared for audits, ready to prove your regulatory compliance — and able to trace the source of any errors or oversights.

Real-time collaboration

One major way that marketing compliance software removes roadblocks is by sharing everything in real time. Instead of waiting for someone to email comments over, you'll see them immediately in the compliance software’s interface. This can give creative team leaders the information they need to make decisions and confirm the team is meeting compliance regulations.

Ziflow markup and highlight feature with comments section

Every team member benefits from real-time feedback. Individual creatives and external stakeholders can share suggestions and see changes right away, instead of playing catch-up when new versions of a document are delivered manually.

Automation tools

Even the most creative projects involve some routine tasks. From setting up templates to sending assets for review, some tasks are predictable. That means they can be automated.

Automating tasks with marketing compliance software saves time and reduces errors because tasks are reliably carried out exactly the same way every time. Automation can even improve adherence to regulations and industry standards, by setting up the same framework for every single project.

Customized alerts and notifications 

Notifications are a basic feature of most marketing compliance software. Comments and updates are usually flagged for everyone with access to a document. But, you can go further. Compliance software lets you set up customizable alerts, notifications, and email nudges for reviews.

You can flag the events that are most important to the project’s progress, control  when they're sent and who they’re sent to, and make sure only the right people have access at the right time.

​​Integration capabilities

Compliance isn't the only task on your to-do list, and compliance software won't be the only tool in your stack. You need software that will integrate with your other marketing activities and platforms.

For example, compliance software that links to project management platforms allows you to monitor progress even more effectively. CRM integrations can also be useful when creating marketing materials for a specific audience. 

The benefits flow in the other direction, too.

Working on projects in marketing compliance software means that brand compliance, regulations, and data management are built in from the start. So once the work is linked up to your CRM or content distribution channels, the compliance framework is already in place.

Streamline compliance in your creative workflows with Ziflow

Laptop top down view with ziflow software and furniture proof reviewed

Marketing compliance software is a must for teams that are serious about getting things right and locking down the smallest details. It protects your brand, keeps projects on track, and gives your team guardrails so that they can do their best creative work.

Compliance doesn't have to be slow and tedious. With Ziflow, you can collaborate seamlessly with internal and external stakeholders — no matter where they’re located. This makes Ziflow an ideal solution for remote or distributed teams that need to collaborate asynchronously, but effectively.

Ziflow gives creative teams the flexibility and control needed to take the creative process to new heights with automation, saving team members countless hours on tedious manual tasks so they can focus on what matters: innovating.

Deliver fully compliant creative content 2x faster

See how Ziflow supports compliance across all your campaigns and channels.

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