Great Power, Greater Responsibility: Making Marketing Data Security a Priority

Marketing data is arguably a brand’s most valuable asset. It’s the key to the customer kingdom, because the more we know about our audience —  where they spend their time, what drives them to buy and which marketing tactics ultimately win them over — the more effective our content, campaigns and offers will be.

Whether we’re talking about CRM data, third-party data used to append a house file, or a finely honed prospecting list, anyone who relies on data is not just in the data management business. You’re also in the data protection business, whether you recognize it or not.

By following best practices for sharing and securing customer data, you can keep your asset secure as it works its marketing magic.

Staying on top of customer privacy laws

gdpr general data protection regulation marketing data securityThe European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented in May 2018 fundamentally reshaped the way data is handled across Europe. Here in the U.S., the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is supporting a uniform privacy standard, stating that “new privacy laws should provide meaningful consumer controls that are technologically neutral, proportionate to consumer risk and encourage industry best practices.”

Currently, the U.S. does not have formal data protection legislation at the federal level, but does ensure data protection through the United States Privacy Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and safe harbor laws.

Bottom line: When critical customer data is in the hands of organizations, it’s up to us to protect it — keeping customers safe and earning their trust.

Data’s big reach — and how to keep it under wraps

The use of data goes well beyond marketing your brand. New technologies are transforming the ways that various industries use customer data. For example:

  • Healthcare. Medical professionals use data to develop algorithms, predict infections, track symptoms and reactions, and even help prevent epidemics.
  • Manufacturing. Due to advances in robotics, modern manufacturing processes include embedding sensors into equipment to capture valuable information to help monitor the efficiency of machines.
  • Insurance. Data is used to help insurers establish more accurate premiums, identify fraud and improve their marketing strategies.
  • Education. Professionals are leveraging data for insights into better teaching strategies and improved information delivery.
  • Professional services. Accounting firms, law practices and doctor’s offices are using software to automatically import transactions, track digital receipts, automate payroll and more.

With everyone’s personal information out in the world, building safer data management practices is key to maintaining privacy and your organization’s integrity:

  • Understand the value of your data before allowing third-party access. How important is the data to your organization? Being able to distinguish highly sensitive data from moderately sensitive data is a critical step to complete before a vendor has access. Put controls in place, so it’s not easily accessible.
  • Streamline data collection & synchronization. Your CRM should not be a standalone system. It should integrate with all other data sources within your organization. Data accuracy can be a nightmare if your data management team is forced to manually enter, update and remove information across multiple systems.
  • Integrate workflow management. When new information needs to be added, there should be default permissions in place that are granted to specific individuals, based on specific criteria. For example, non-marketing or IT staff should not be able to access customer data.
  • Implement automated reporting procedures. An automated reporting system alerts organizations of red flag behaviors. For example, if there were several failed log-in attempts into your CRM over a weekend, a notification to the appropriate staff would immediately be generated so they can take action.
  • Establish an incident response plan. What’s the notification process in the event of a security breach? If it happens to a vendor with access to your data, make sure you have detailed protocols in your vendor contracts that specify the steps to take and timeline for notification in response to an incident. Your brand should also have a communication strategy in place to notify customers if the breach happens within your organization.
  • Conduct continuous monitoring. With respect to cybersecurity, how much do you really know about the daily dealings in your vendor’s network? Monitoring software can help you keep a watchful eye on your vendors so you know they’re taking the necessary steps to protect your data.

Data trends to keep on your radar

The data landscape is constantly changing. And with change, new trends emerge. Be sure to keep the following developments in mind as you plan your data strategy:

  • Consolidation in data supply. Delivering a seamless customer experience means eliminating data siloes across your organization and consolidating your customer data in one centrally available system.
  • Greater emphasis on data privacy. Since the aforementioned GDPR went into effect, many U.S. brands are stepping up their security game by revamping consent procedures and data handling processes. Time will tell if the U.S. government enacts a similar law to hold businesses accountable for how they handle privacy and personal data.
  • Predictive analytics is on the rise. To process big data and determine the reasons behind certain events, companies leverage analytics tools. On the horizon, more and more companies will also utilize predictive analysis through big data to help predict what may occur in the future. This strategy is highly effective in helping analyze gathered information to predict consumer behavior, determining what strategic measures to take with a customer’s next action in mind.

Using big data for smarter cybersecurity

A rise in security breaches has prompted an increased focus on strengthening data confidentiality. Companies are using big data to help mitigate attacks. Big data can be integrated into a cybersecurity strategy, providing information about past threats, while data analytics is employed to predict and prevent future problems.

Now that you know more about keeping your data safe, why not ensure that it’s more accurate? d3 Specialists digital marketing agency is offering a free data profile analysis for companies that want to better understand their most profitable customers. Gain valuable insights and identify unique attributes to streamline your targeting efforts. Contact the d3 team for more information.

Related Questions

An increasing number of emails are becoming undeliverable. What are some effective strategies for reducing email churn in our digital marketing campaigns?

A thorough data hygiene and append process can typically reclaim 20-60% of your file. At d3, we recommend conducting the following email append process one to two times a year:

  • Input file of constituent postal addresses
  • Match file to email database
  • Send permission emails to constituents
  • Append approved email addresses to constituent file

What are the most powerful data points to help strengthen ROI?

It takes a mix of offline and online data to make the most of your business marketing efforts. These include buyer profiles, buyer preferences, buyer actions, abandoned shopping carts, open rates, download rates and how a much a video or webinar is viewed.