Can marketing and compliance share a playbook?

by Richard Bistrong, Anti-Bribery Consultant & Speaker

Richard Bistrong,  Anti-Bribery Consultant & Speaker

Can marketing and compliance share a playbook?

I recently read an article in the Winter 2017 MIT Sloan Management Review, Mastering the Market Intelligence Challenge (Chari, Luce & Thukral). In this work, the authors address how “many multinationals simply import their domestic models into emerging markets.” And whilst this work is directed towards those who deal with market intelligence in emerging markets, the conclusions drawn are equally applicable to those who face compliance challenges in such frontier regions. If you review the article and substitute ‘due-diligence’ for ‘market intelligence,’ it reads like a compliance thought piece. So I ask, can both compliance and market leaders share resources and data when it comes to due diligence and market information, as to allow for a more collaborative approach?

The authors state that “for developed-market companies, winning consumers in these new high-growth markets requires a radical change in mindset, capabilities, and allocation of resources.” I would add that such ‘radical changes’ are also applicable to compliance leaders and teams who face the challenges of addressing business development in emerging markets,  where commercial opportunities and corruption risk are often intertwined.

A few of the issues which might de-rail market intelligence or a compliance program in emerging markets might be:

  • Grouping.  Very often from the home office, markets and risks are grouped regionally. But in emerging markets, where each market sector and country present a unique set of risks and opportunities, market and/or risk factors in one emerging market country “may not readily transfer to another as much as they would transfer from one advanced country to another.” So, while one might think of Scandinavian countries as having a similar risk profile, thinking the same of the GCC countries could be problematic.
  • Change. As we see with current events, political, social and economic change in developing countries can sometimes occur via evolution, and sometimes by revolution. Thus, thinking of markets or risks as static in these regions “compounds the information problem.” Compliance and business leaders should be considering this type of dynamic, and the possible monitoring costs of staying abreast of change, before investing initial resources.  As the authors argue, success in such evolving markets requires a more robust calibration and recalibration of intelligence to market conditions, and to which I would add, risk conditions.
  • Spend. The authors argue to be cautious about spending on market intelligence in emerging markets “as a percentage of revenues in the market or on an ad hoc basis.” Indeed, for marketing or compliance investments, looking at costs on such an ad-hoc basis might prove as “insufficient in emerging markets” where more upfront resources are required to gather current, reliable and useful intelligence.

As a result, the authors recommend the following practices for obtaining robust and actionable business intelligence:

  • “Treat and manage market intelligence as a strategic asset.” Strategic intelligence means that “updated market intelligence is considered front and center when multinational corporations take strategic actions in emerging markets.” This is much more than what might be necessary for “advanced economy market entry.” The authors advocate the use multiple data sets, relating to the “economy, business environment, and demographics of each country.” Such data would also be useful for a compliance team in order to gauge risk and opportunity. So, why silo the data when it’s valuable to both teams?
  • “Continuously update market intelligence.” As the authors well state, updated information is “necessary to recognize changing market conditions at the earliest convenience.” To a compliance professional, that might mean ‘don’t vet and forget.’  The authors caution that using “potentially dated market intelligence or assumptions about the market” can lead to bad marketing decisions and poor resource allocations. That same risk would equally apply to a compliance program and due-diligence process. Past behavior and data is not necessarily a gauge for future risk. We have seen that peril, especially in countries with political and regime turnover.
  • “Organize differently for market intelligence in emerging markets.” Here, I found a fascinating organizational discussion. The authors try to balance centralized versus in-country market intelligence. We see a similar challenge in compliance programs, as to the right mix between a centralized and remote function. While the authors don’t strongly advocate either approach, they do address the consequences of not appreciating where they might disconnect. Instead, they argue that market intelligence “should be organized as a shared responsibility between the corporate office and emerging market business executives.” One could see how a compliance function can also benefit from that same sense of shared responsibility and cross-function cooperation.
  • “Use a wide range of sources and methods to obtain market intelligence.” There’s no magic bullet here, or single solution, be it for market or risk intelligence. Rather, “because of the paucity and unreliability of information sources, multinationals need to use a wide range of sources to obtain market intelligence in emerging markets.” Among some of the recommended sources are “in-country partners, market facing staff, business press, social media, internal and external market research, and the company’s own experience.” Again, it seems like these are valuable data sources for both market and risk decisions. But as the authors caution, “no single source is typically able to provide all of the information we need.”

And finally, review, review, review.

As the authors remind us, pooling, sharing, disseminating and discussing information, all ensure that “an organization can gain as complete of a picture” not only of the marketplace,  but of changes within the marketplace. Again, that’s valuable to both compliance leaders and market executives. As they conclude, when information is a shared responsibility among corporate and in-country managers, using a “wide range of sources and methods,” then organizations can “obtain and use the market intelligence necessary to succeed.” So, instead of having a market intelligence playbook and a compliance playbook, how about a “share and share alike” approach to opportunity and risk!


Written by:

Richard Bistrong,  Anti-Bribery Consultant & Speaker

Richard Bistrong, Anti-Bribery Consultant & Speaker on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.