Over the last two years, you’ve probably heard a lot about cybersecurity.
Like many big, serious-sounding concepts, it feels like it sometimes plays out above our heads — the territory of huge conglomerates and governments, or maybe your IT department. And, let’s face it, not too interesting for professionals in marketing, sales, or services.
You may have even found yourself thinking, "Yeah, there are people worrying about this, but we probably don’t have to."
As a product manager for security at HubSpot, I spend a lot of time thinking about this topic. Today I’d like to explore how essential good data protection and account security are to marketers and the businesses they represent.
It all starts with one thing: trust.
Why Marketers Should Care About Data Security
1. Trust is a cornerstone of the inbound marketing methodology.
You build trust in your business in a multitude of ways.
This could be exemplifying expertise in your field or providing great service centered around the customer experience. You also build trust by creating genuine relationships with customers that transcend simply converting a lead — and includes ongoing support that brings your customers enough success that they feel comfortable recommending your service to anybody they know.
At the end of the day, building and maintaining trust is a key ingredient to keeping your flywheel spinning.
Without it, this whole machine grinds to a halt.
Loss of trust is a catastrophic hit for a business and a brand, too. For example, few things can cause a customer to sever a relationship with a company more quickly than a data breach. In fact, one in four Americans won’t do business with data breached companies.
2. Prospects and customers trust marketers to keep personal data secure.
Every day, your potential customers put trust in you — quite a lot of trust, in fact — when they do things like fill out contact forms on your website, register for your webinars, or sign up for free trials of your service.
By giving you their personal information, they’re putting a massive amount of trust not only in your business but in you as the marketer who maintains those tools. They’re trusting you to keep their personal information safe, not to abuse it (say, by sending them a bunch of spammy emails), and to use it in their best interest to help them meet their goals.
3. Proper use of data isn’t enough anymore — you need to keep customer data safe.
You’ve probably heard conversations about the proper use of customer data, such as emails, centered around the concept "don’t misuse the information."
For example: don’t over-email someone, don’t send them offers you don’t have any reason to believe they’d be interested in or don’t contact them without their consent.
Just as important is a conversation you may be a little less familiar with — how to actually keep prospect and customer information safe, and out of the hands of people who would use that information to harm them.
If you’re not as familiar with that side of the conversation, that’s understandable. The risk of bad actors gaining unauthorized access to customer data at scale is relatively new.
At HubSpot, we believe it’s just as valuable as any other way to inspire and maintain trust.
As a marketer, you are the steward of your customers’ data.
The job of a marketer doesn’t stop at generating leads or building a brand.
There’s another important piece to the puzzle — being a trustworthy steward of customer data.
If customers place their trust in you because of all the hard work you’ve done to build those quality relationships, to build a brand that’s seen as trusted in your field, to create a community of evangelists who have encouraged others to trust you too — then it’s imperative that you hold up your end of the bargain.
It’s your job to do what is in your personal control to validate that trust and keep customer data safe.
Start with the Fundamentals
Luckily, implementing security best practices to keep your online accounts safe isn’t difficult. In fact, you can get started on many of these things right away.
Here’s a list of content to help any marketer set up the foundational elements of security:
HubSpot Academy Content and Webinars:
You’ve done a great job building relationships, communities, and image around your business. You can do a great job of security, too — and be a steward your customers can trust.