Generally, when we think of marketing communication, the usual topics pop up — marketing collateral, PR material, social media content, white papers, etc. . But cybersecurity, and its relationship to marketing, is becoming an ever more important factor in the mix.
Just last year, Bloomberg Media conducted a poll of 26 marketers all over the world (to gain a more universal perspective). When they posed the question “What are the biggest challenges in marketing communications for 2016”, cybersecurity was near the very top of the list – ranking #2 overall.
While we as marketers often prefer to think of cybersecurity as outside of our realm — more of an IT concern, the effects of a breach undoubtedly hit marketing components the hardest. The damage to a brand’s reputation when that brand becomes inextricably linked to a successful hacking attempt (people STILL think of that when they think of the Target brand). The loss of opportunity to conduct business when such damage occurs CERTAINLY affects marketing and can render accurate analytics impossible. In the worst of scenarios, serious damage can lead to suspension of business to an extent that it critically damages the overall bottom line, making planned marketing activities more difficult, if not impossible.
So, with cybersecurity being of such great importance to overall marketing communication, what can be done? In a fairly recent Social Media Today article detailing how cybersecurity and marketing communication go hand in hand, a few actionable and important steps were outlined.
Have a manageable and traceable protocol as far as who handles and has access to potentially sensitive content. There are a couple of reasons for this — the first being that such a protocol makes it easier to mitigate the damage should it occur. The second reason is more troubling, by far. Only about 1/4 of all breaches come from OUTSIDE the company. Yep, 3/4 of all information breaches are INSIDE JOBS — often employees selling information.
Take quick and decisive action should such a breach occur. This includes notifying customers and anyone else potentially involved in the breach as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Obviously, in the case of Target, this step wasn’t followed all that closely, and it no doubt contributed to the collateral damage that resulted. As Andrew Cocker, the senior marketing director at Expedia, says, “It’s not about advertising. Our brand is made up of every single iteration that’s happening; every user experience. So, every time we do something to upset them, or have a problem we do not solve quickly enough, we’re eroding that brand, and no amount of advertising will fix that.”(1).
Have a clearly delineated and “attacker-centric” company policy in place. Knowing where breaches are most likely to occur makes them easier to plan for. Properly articulating your policy draws a line in the sand for any employees tempted to sell information.
QUESTIONS? Feel free to drop me a line at Jon@JonFLee.com.