Are you a digital marketer or a tech entrepreneur? Do you have a misconception that the cyber security threat is something only your company's IT department must worry about?
I have some news for you: Cybersecurity is everyone's concern. Your company's sensitive data is at risk of cyber threats. Pretending to be unaware will not help.
You always look for new methods to contact people on the web and through their connected devices. From email to user-generated content to organic and sponsored SEO. The future looks even brighter.
It's not possible to predict the future without a crystal ball but to look forward, and we must first look back. So, how did we get here?
A Brief History of Digital Marketing and Cyber Threats
1. 1990s-The Internet
In October 1994, Netscape Navigator became the first commercial web browser. It was the earliest instance of digital marketing. Two weeks later, AT&T purchased a little rectangle of space on HotWired.com. It went down in history as the first clickable banner ad on the internet.
Along with this innovation, the threat of cyber-crime became a reality to the public. The invention of modifying coding aided the spread of these viruses. The email was especially vulnerable to early viruses like I LOVE YOU and Melissa. They caused widespread email failures and are still among the most harmful viruses today.
Malicious email attachments and antivirus software such as Norton and AVG became well known.
2. 2000-Social Media
This century saw the explosion of social media. It was the next important step that showed that digital marketing is important. MySpace and LinkedIn were among the first powerhouses. Then came the game-changers Facebook and Twitter in the mid-2000s.
Businesses caught up with the fad. They saw the value of creating a brand in areas where millions of people frequented every day. But this staged the most massive cyberattacks in history. The Zeus Trojan used keylogging to steal $70 million from individuals using stolen banking information.
Criminal applications were growing quicker than security methods to combat them. Users now become infected with a virus by visiting a malicious web page—no download required.
3. 2003-The Mobile Phone Era
The BlackBerry mobile device launched smartphone technology in 2003. Apple released the iPhone four years later. People could now access the internet from anywhere and at any time. Marketers had direct contact with individuals in limitless opportunities.
But, at the same time, the hacktivist group Anonymous cropped up. It is known for cyberattacks against various governments and organizations. They are by far the most well-known bunch of hackers in the world.
Cybersecurity threats in digital marketing continued to be a turbulent force. 2018 featured some major and significant cyberattacks in recent history. We discovered a lot. Facebook taught us that social media platforms sell our personal information. The Marriott Hotel taught us that data breaches could go undetected for years.
4. 2020 to Date
Popular cyber-threats that happened since 2020:
One of the most audacious online attacks in history struck Twitter. It swept the entire internet by storm! The hackers verified the Twitter accounts of high-profile people such as Barack Obama, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates.
They were able to reset the passwords of 45 user accounts out of the 130 targeted accounts. They then used these accounts to create false tweets promising $2000 for $1000 paid to an unknown Bitcoin address. The fraud resulted in losing $121,000 in Bitcoin across roughly 300 transactions.
Hackers gained access to telegram messaging and email data in September 2020. They were after two-factor authentication login codes. According to cybersecurity specialists, the hackers wanted to obtain cryptocurrencies.
On April 3, 2021, the personal information of 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries leaked in a low-level hacking forum. The information contained users:
1. Phone numbers
2. Full names
4. Email address
5. Biographical information
On the Dark Web on April 6, 2021, about 500 million LinkedIn user profiles leaked. The hackers released two million of these LinkedIn records for $2. They wanted to confirm the legitimacy of the information in the stolen data. They did this by importing account users' personal information from the website into a database.
On August 24, 2021, at least 38 million records leaked because of a misconfiguration inside Microsoft Power Apps. American Airlines, Microsoft, J.B. Hunt, and the governments of Indiana, Maryland, and New York City were all affected by the data breach. COVID-19 statues, social security numbers, and email addresses are revealed.
What I’m I driving at with this?
You realize that in 2020 and 2021, there was a surge of scams and fraud as corporations transferred their activities to remote locations because of the COVID-19 epidemic, data breaches skyrocketed. There is a security gap between the home and office networks. It tells us that the cybersecurity threat is a genuine concern affecting all digital marketing campaigns.
According to PwC data, 85% of customers with more organisations could trust their data. Marketers thus have a unique opportunity to provide customers with a customized experience. This experience should include a grasp of cyber threats and their relation to their privacy. But this means they are more susceptible to cyberattacks.
What are the cyber security threats in digital marketing?
Content management systems (CMS) make content marketing easier to handle. But hackers are familiar with WordPress and can attack the website to spread malware.
1. Use only patched and up-to-date operating systems and software packages on servers.
2. Content Management Systems are only available over secure private networks.
3. The user password authentication policy is strict.
4. Administrators must control the establishment of new user accounts.
5. Training users on the security elements of the organization's CMS. Ensure they install updates as soon as they become available.
6. Only host the organization's website with a hosting business that prioritizes consumer security.
Email is powerful, although traditional, digital marketing technique. Unfortunately, it raises the risk of phishing attempts. Hackers can use company email accounts to deliver spam and virus-infected emails. If hacked, servers may blacklist and block the site. It will impact the company's email marketing.
1. Never open emails from unknown senders
2. Confirm that the ISP and servers are dependable and responsible.
3. Check your email marketing needs with security software solutions. Encrypt your emails to limit the danger of a phishing attack.
4. Configure outbound filters to avoid emails containing concealed malware. 5. Incorporate email systems into network security audits.
3. Social Media
Social networking's approach has altered the notion of communication and social relationships. Identity theft is the most severe issue and risk with social network marketing. It can take the form of unauthorized downloads or weak passwords. Hackers can exploit social media to abuse private data.
1. Put in place a strong user password authentication policy.
2. The administrator must keep track of all social network activities.
3. Enforce stringent privacy settings.
Digital marketers make use of cutting-edge new technology to help firms grow. Consider machine learning technology, which enhances conversion rates, or site-search analytics, which provide detailed information about shopper behavior. However, as online retailers become more sophisticated, it is critical to keep up with the significant security concerns that come with them.
1. Implementation of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocols and a two-step verification procedure
2. Take all necessary efforts to give clients a secure payment mechanism.
3. Ensure that hackers do not gain unauthorized access to the client's bank information.
5. Customer Relationship Management
Customer relationship management is a core part of any business. It's a business-critical application that stores vital information. It keeps information along with the processes it manages.
- Security software
- Use of private networks, e.g., VPNs
- A firm password policy is a high-risk factor for cyberattacks
Apart from cybersecurity threats, marketing seems to have other problems. Perhaps even a crisis of confidence. To a lot of marketing newbies, Marketing = Promotion. In the minds of many business people, marketing is just selling on a greater scale. But in reality, what is marketing, anyway?
Marketing is like fishing. The more lines you have in the water (with good bait), the higher your chances of success. Because the term "marketing" has such a wide range of meanings, false information can appear to be true.
I've tried to define marketing many times before. I've attempted to dispel the notion that marketing is about promoting and selling. A few of your long-held ideas could be incorrect. Find out if they have duped you, and prevent it from holding back your marketing initiatives!
Marketing misconceptions: what early-stage tech entrepreneurs and digital marketers should watch out for
1. Because my consumers are local, I don't need to market my business online.
You'll be missing out on a lot of sales and income if you don't promote your business online. Look at the image below. You will see something interesting.
You must be thinking, "But quality products and services sell themselves?"
I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but actually, they don't. Every business needs marketing to be successful. What good are your products and services if no one knows about them? - If you still rely on traditional tactics to create leads, you are missing out.
Your potential customers are looking for products online. That tells you that if you are not marketing online, you are missing out on many sales. It is an effective way to gain worldwide exposure at a low cost.
2. Marketing takes a lot of time.
Fact: Half of SMBs dedicate less than two hours per week to marketing. This equates to approximately 17 minutes every day. The biggest reason for new business failure is a lack of market demand. In fact, 42 percent of small firms fail because of this factor.
I'm sure you recognize the importance of marketing regularly. You're trying your hardest, but the phone keeps ringing, emails are piling up, you have bills to pay, clients to assist, voicemails to respond, and paper spills out of your desk.
Do you go through the challenges highlighted in the graph below as well?
Finding time for marketing has been the biggest challenge for small business owners. The number of founders who consider this a challenge has increased over the last four years. So, what does a busy person gotta do?
You are busy without a doubt, but keep in mind the staggering facts presented at the start of this piece. The astounding results you want will depend on your efforts.
3. Marketing is an out-of-pocket investment that my company cannot afford.
Fact: According to Google, for every $1 spent on Google advertising, the average firm earns $2 in sales. You can expect a $42 return on investment for every $1 you spend on email marketing.
Marketing generates revenue. It's not an expense but an investment in your company's sales and earnings. Are you focused on the expense? It doesn't have to be. Trust me!
So, how can you ensure you maximize your funds? By putting relevant ads in front of your ideal customers as they look for what you offer. You may create a self-funding system by marketing. You could have a reliable procedure that pays for itself.
So it's FREE? You must be asking. Yes, when you have a self-funding system. Allow yourself to see it as an excellent investment with positive returns.
4. We can handle our own marketing.
As a business owner, I know you desire to do some things independently, which is understandable. But sometimes you accept some things that are beyond your control, such as marketing. I'm sorry if this is hard to hear.
But hey, I'm one of you! I also want to be a part of great, meaningful work that contributes to the success of a business. Marketing specialists can help you maximize your profits from various campaigns. But I know it isn't easy to find marketers you can trust. Remind them how to prove their worth.
How can marketers prove their worth to founders?
1. Project Management
Even if your results are unpredictable, it is still your responsibility as a marketer to do the best work possible. It's a good idea to take a step back and consider the level of effort (LOE) vs. payoff for each endeavor.
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is an excellent decision-making tool to help you sift through what you must do instantly, assigned, delayed, or removed as part of your data-driven plan.
B2B marketing is a very different game than B2C, and targeting businesses can feel like a completely different sport. It would help if you learned how to stand out as a marketing professional. Always ask yourself:
- What value I'm I providing?
- What kinds of aches and pains I'm I easing?
- How can I build trust from the start?
The more you can highlight the value you bring; the more appealing your offer will be.
2. Show concrete marketing results.
Be as specific as you can in describing the marketing's impact. In this way, the founders will see the influence of it more tangibly.
3. Build your marketing presence.
You should be able to demonstrate that you are conversant with these marketing techniques as a marketer. This entails creating your own marketing presence, which includes a blog and active social media profiles.
The Final Note
Digital marketers should understand the advantages and disadvantages of various digital marketing methods. They should also know the security concerns associated with them.
Hackers are also familiar with how they operate. They are developing more complex software to crawl the internet and steal information. All web platforms and social media sites should have all available precautions. It is necessary to check a site for infiltration or unusual activities. Also, put in place security precautions for digital campaigns.
Even though there are other more myths surrounding IT businesses, these are the most common. As an entrepreneur, the more you dispel these fallacies, the more doors will open to the amazing opportunities that marketing offers for your company's future success.