Working With A Digital Marketing Agency: Legal Issues Businesses Need To Know

by | May 12, 2023 | Business, Contracts, Featured, Law

With advertising and marketing trends moving online through such platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, a lot more businesses are engaging digital marketing agencies. When a business hires a digital marketing agency, they are entrusting the agency with their brand, reputation, and customer data. This means that it is important for businesses to understand the legal challenges that can arise when working with a digital marketing agency.


Some of the key legal challenges that businesses should be aware of include:


  • Privacy & Personal Data Protection: Digital marketing agencies collect a lot of data about their clients’ customers. This data can include names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, and purchase history. It is important for businesses to make sure that the digital marketing agency they hire is taking steps to protect this data from unauthorized access, use, or disclosure as both business and digital marketing agency could be liable and punishable with fines and even imprisonment under the Malaysian Personal Data Protection Act.


  • Intellectual property: Digital marketing agencies often create content on behalf of their clients, such as website copy, blog posts, and social media posts. It is important for businesses to make sure that they own the copyright to this content. If the digital marketing agency owns the copyright, the business may not be able to use the content without the agency’s permission. Businesses and agency must also agree on the rights of content that is co-created (both parties create the content together) as well as content created during the period of appointment of the agency. It is best to have a clear understanding on the rights of IP.


  • Advertising laws: There are a number of laws that govern advertising, both online and offline. These laws can vary from country to country. It is important for businesses to make sure that their digital marketing agency is familiar with the advertising laws that apply to their business. An example in Malaysia is advertising health and medical products that “guarantee” results. There is also law that prohibits certain words from being used when marketing health and medical products.


  • Deceptive advertising: Digital marketers may make false or misleading claims about a product or service in order to sell it. This can lead to legal action against the business owner.


  • Litigation: If a business is sued for a violation of any of the laws mentioned above, the digital marketing agency may also be liable. This is because the agency is considered to be a “joint tortfeasor” with the business.


  • Trademark Infringement: Digital marketing agencies may use trademarks, such as logos or pictures, without the permission of the trademark holder. This can also lead to legal action against the business owner.


By understanding the legal challenges that can arise when working with a digital marketing agency, businesses can protect themselves from potential legal problems. This includes


  • Doing your research: Before hiring a digital marketer, be sure to research their company and their track record.


  • Getting everything in writing: Make sure to get all of your agreements with digital marketers in writing, including contracts, invoices, and marketing plans.


  • Monitoring your results: Be sure to monitor the results of your digital marketing campaigns and make sure that they are meeting your expectations.


  • Having a lawyer on retainer: It is a good idea to have a lawyer on retainer who can advise you on legal matters related to your business.


By taking these steps, business owners can help to protect themselves from legal problems when dealing with digital marketers.


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