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Digital marketing: Is it secure?

4 August 2016  •  Author(s): Dr. John McCarthy

In a previous blog I talk about how good cyber security measures can be an asset to your business. Not only do they enhance effective and smooth operations they also give your customers confidence in you and your systems. This led me to consider how that could be promoted and I started to think about cyber security issues when marketing.

John McCarthy blog: Digital marketing: Is it secure?

Digital marketing is a huge and growing industry with large chunks of marketing budgets now allocated to digital marketing. It can take many forms – some free or very cheap and others very expensive. There are now more digital channels than ever. Mobile advertising is in its infancy and targeted advertising is now very common. The market can only grow and become more widespread.

Digital marketing is unique in many ways and one of the most important is that anyone can access the tools needed to do it. They are often free and provided by major advertising platforms. This places it in a very different location to its predecessors.

Previously, specialists created and delivered TV, cinema and billboard adverts. That is still true today for many large organisations but many smaller organisations conduct independent online marketing. I wonder if they have ever considered cyber security issues when undertaking marketing? An interesting thought.

As we open up our organisations by publishing more and more about ourselves on the internet we lay ourselves open to social engineers and others who may have a criminal intent. Our blogs, including this one, can reveal things about ourselves that could be used against us. It is a fine balance between openness and safeguarding. We also have to consider the severe impact social media use can have on a business’s reputation. Managing and even trying to control this is very tricky and can backfire in many ways. In this context finding out what is being said about you is vital to know.

Digital marketers need to know how to safely manage and secure the systems they use. As they may not have an IT or security background it cannot be assumed they know how to do this. Marketing is open in nature and security may seem alien to those working in that industry.

This issue is rising in importance and we need to be aware of the cyber risks online marketing can hold. I am not against online marketing; it is one of the greatest benefits to advertising in the last two decades. The metrics it provides are truly amazing and importantly it is in this context we need to be aware of what information we collect and how we manage it. Digital marketing is the future, let’s ensure what we do it safely and securely.

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