Lessons from Social West: A Glimpse into the Complex World of Cybersecurity and Marketing 

In June, we attended the Social West Conference, and what we learned about the intricate relationship between cybersecurity and marketing left a lasting impression. The event delved deep into the history of marketing, data revolution, and privacy concerns. This potent mix has paved the way for our current era, where marketers have an insatiable hunger for data and the technology to collect it. From unified marketing measurement to personalized marketing experiences, data forms the lifeblood of current marketing strategies.

Currently, there are over 11,038 organizations in the marketing technology landscape, all voraciously collecting data. On the one hand, this massive influx of data empowers us to deliver highly tailored marketing experiences. Conversely, it presents a labyrinthine challenge in understanding how the data is collected, managed, and protected. 

The magnitude of data collection is staggering—humanity creates over 2.5 quintillion bytes daily, with Google leading the charge. But, this evolution is not without its dark side: privacy concerns. Many tech companies have faced criticism for data mishandling and lack of transparency. Without clear-cut policies and regulations, consumers are left in the dark about how their data is used, posing a serious data privacy conundrum. 

With vast datasets comes great responsibility—and risks. The possibility of significant data breaches, theft, and illicit sale on the dark web has skyrocketed. Cybercriminals, who capitalize on valuable information like brand identities and trade secrets, increasingly target industries ranging from insurance to IoT.  

The motivations of cybercriminals are primarily financial. They seek out personally identifiable information, credit card details, and other sensitive data, often hacking large numbers of accounts and selling in volume. Businesses, especially those in marketing, must be vigilant and proactive in countering such threats. 

So, what can marketers do to ensure cybersecurity? Firstly, always use a different password for multiple accounts. Hackers have sophisticated tools to crack predictable patterns and sequences. Email marketing, though a staple of digital communication, is a standard method scammers use to trick users into clicking malicious links, often through brand impersonation. 

To counter such threats, it’s crucial to scan for spoofed websites and unpatched software regularly. Also, requesting third-party vendors to provide security policies in line with GDPR can ensure compliance with data protection laws, which is why we use MailChimp. 

Finally, remember that customers gravitate toward brands that prioritize privacy and transparency. In this era of data awareness, consumers are conscious of their privacy rights and will shift loyalty if a brand fails to meet their expectations. Brands that prioritize privacy by design and uphold clear, comprehensible privacy policies are likely to earn the trust and loyalty of their customers. 

The interplay between marketing and cybersecurity is complex and continually evolving. The need for marketers to safeguard data while still delivering personalized experiences is more significant than ever. It’s time to navigate this intricate landscape with caution, transparency, and respect for consumer privacy. 

Top Tips: 

  1. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. 
  1. Regularly scan for spoofed websites and unpatched software. 
  1. Request security policies from third-party vendors. 
  1. Prioritize privacy and transparency in your brand. 
  1. Have a clear, easily understandable privacy policy. 
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Increasing Customer Loyalty

Increasing customer loyalty and growing the business by understanding and meeting customer needs

A large utility company offered residential and commercial products and services.  They offered the small to mid-sized commercial companies their residential product.  There was a high churn and negative customer feedback.

Using secondary research and then primary research we were able to identify what were the three core elements the existing products and services offered that met their needs, and what was the root cause of their frustrations.  Fundamentally the core of the services met their needs, but the customer service needed to be better tailored to their requirements.

Working with the customer service team, we were able to address these concerns and deliver the additional customer service with limited impact to the contact centre.  Then we repositioned the products and services to demonstrate we understood the customer and their needs.  We activated an existing sponsorship to host two large launch events, and invited key customers to share the process and the new offering.  Churn reduced and customer satisfaction increased.

Oilfiled Services in a lean market

When prices are good, oil and gas service companies receive plenty of inbound calls and achieve nearly full capacity, it really is a case of make hay whilst the sun shines.  Certainly in the past year, the junior and mid-cap oil companies have struggled to get investment and this has had a knock-on effect for the service companies.  The negative impacts can include reduced business and prices.  How can you ensure you get more than your fair share of the business that is out there, and ensures you are positioned for further growth when the markets rebound and drilling is back to 2011 levels?

This was the challenge that I worked through for a large oil and gas service company that not only maintained but grew market share by 2% and I am happy to share the process we followed.

Identify why your customers use you

Undertake research with your customers to understand the top three reasons they use you.  Keep doing these things, if they make business sense.  Remind your customers what you do well and thank them for their loyalty.

Identify your competitors

As part of the research understand why people use your competitors.  Put an action plan together to reduce any gaps between you and your competitor, or at least neutralize that advantage.  Look at the costs, you probably can’t do everything, but make sure you communicate improvements you have made. Is there something that is keeping the customer awake at night that neither you nor the competitor is solving today? Solve it.

Review your pricing

In tighter markets people often look to reduce their prices to increase business, this can devalue the market and can make it a pure pricing play, not recommended.  Definitely review your prices, but look at them in context of the whole value chain.  In my specific example, the basic cost of services was at a premium, however, the reliability of the service, the speed of delivery, and therefore reduced downtime and reduced additional costs to the customer meant the total cost of the service was lower than the competitor.  Give your sales team the tools to be able to demonstrate the value, such as total cost of service savings, to your customer.

Measure the effect

The key metrics were captured before we put this plan in place, during and continued to be measured over the following sales cycles.  This is probably data that you already capture, but track when you put the next part of the plan in place and the impact it has.  You will be amazed at how running customer research before you even do anything with it, will have an impact because you are demonstrating you value the customer’s business and you are listening.  Once you demonstrate you have listened and then demonstrate you are doing something about it, I am confident you will see a positive impact on your business, that will help you through the lean times and set you up to win more than your market share, when the market returns.