Thursday, 19 January 2023 12:41

5 Legal Issues Marketers Need To Know

By  Kath

Valued at USD$52.26bn in 2021, the marketing industry is a behemoth, with infinite opportunities for brands, business owners, and stakeholders. Marketing is a lucrative and fulfilling business, whether as a freelancer, agency, or corporate entity.

Like any other service provider, you must take steps to protect your marketing business from legal issues. Legal issues bring lawsuits and penalties that eat into your marketing business profits. That said, here are the legal issues marketers need to know:

Data Collection

Consumer data is something you heavily rely on as a marketer. Agencies like Caffeine Marketing study such data to understand the client’s target audience and implement a strong marketing strategy. With data like customer-buying patterns and their online activity, you’ll formulate strategies that align with each customer, increasing the possibility of your client making sales. 

With consumer data collection, the issue arises when you collect this data without the customers’ knowledge. Data collection laws require you to inform customers of the data you’ll collect from them and how you’ll use it. 

As you inform customers about the collection aspect, it’s important to give them a choice on whether or not they agree with it. Most marketers will add ‘I agree’ and ‘I disagree’ icons at the bottom of the information regarding data collection. If the customer declines, you shouldn’t collect the data at any given point. 

Some states will require you to guide on withdrawing permissions a customer might have given you. The customer might decide to do so at their convenience.

Data Privacy

Data privacy is important in the data collection process of marketing. After a customer allows you to collect their personal data, it’s important to protect it. No unauthorized person should access this data. Should this data get into the wrong hands, many catastrophes could happen. It’s one of the reasons for the origin of data privacy laws. 

With data privacy, the issue mainly arises with how you store your data as a marketer. How safe is your client’s data in your systems? Can anyone gain access, even those unauthorized? If yes, there’s a high probability of breaches that could get your clients’ data into the wrong hands. 

You can adopt the cloud as a storage space for this data, making sure you back up the data in another system in case of data loss or theft. Also, ensure you use strong passwords for your systems and sensitize your workers on this.

Consumer Laws

When you market a product’s or service’s best features, you highlight their quality, price, and quantity, among others. Doing so is one of the best marketing practices. However, the issue arises when you lie about these features as you advertise. 

Besides lying about quantity, quality, and price, these lies also surround giving false claims about the product. Also, withholding information about the product infringes on consumer rights. They should know the side effects of what they’re purchasing, among other things.  

Consumer laws ensure you don’t lie or withhold information about the product or service you’re advertising. As a marketer, you’re likely to do this consciously or unconsciously. It’s important to learn all you can about the product or service you’re to advertise before signing the contract.  

It’s important to acknowledge that consumer laws also touch on marketing messages. Most states prohibit the sending of marketing messages to customers without their consent. You’ll request the customer, who should then grant or deny permission.  

Intellectual Property Laws

Intellectual property refers to intangible property that originates from creativity. Examples include copyrights, trademarks, and patents. 

One way of infringing on intellectual property laws is using music or images of an artist without their express permission. The content creator can take legal action against you, leading to lawsuits and penalties.  

The best way to adhere to intellectual property laws as a marketer is to create your own art. Use animations instead of influencer images, and create your own sounds. Should this not be your go-to option, get permission from the original art creators. Ensure there’s a license attached to this permission.  

Trade Promotion Laws

One marketing strategy is running trade promotions, most involving competitions with prizes to be won by the participants. 

Issues arise with trade promotions when there’s inadequate information about them. Customers might participate in them with given expectations, only to find they were wrong all along. Most will feel cheated, which is where trade promotion laws come in. 

These laws require you to avail all necessary information regarding the promotion. The main things to include are the name of the promoter (brand or you, the marketer,) entry requirements, details about the prize-winning, and how you’ll give the prize. It’s also important to clearly state the limitations of the promotion, especially the winning aspect. Most of these fall under the terms and conditions of trade promotions. 

Be sure to write clear terms and conditions and point them out in your advertising message. Also, get permits where needed, especially if prize-winning is based on chance instead of skill, like a race. 

Points To Note

  • Legal frameworks differ from state to state; what consumer laws say in Canada might be different in the USA. Therefore, please find out what applies in your state of operation. It also includes learning about the marketing laws that apply in your client’s state. 
  • Laws tend to change over time. Therefore, always review the laws that touch on marketing in your state regularly. You want to keep up with any changes to avoid using outdated laws to offer your marketing services.
  • Always inform your clients of the marketing rules you’ll abide by as you market their goods and services. It ensures you’re on the same page before signing the contract.


As a marketer, you want to know the dos and don’ts to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law. You also want to protect your clients from liabilities arising from your marketing activities. Be wary of the legal issues above for your client’s best interests.


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