Cybersecurity and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Cybersecurity and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) 864 486 N2K

What should be keeping you up at night?

On any given day, the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), ultimately responsible for an organization’s marketing initiatives, is juggling creative strategy and execution with customer experience and how to fully leverage data—all to generate revenue.

CMOs have plenty to worry about day-to-day while they are trying to understand their customers and craft the optimal customer experience, so what are they thinking of at night? Data. How to get more data? What data to mine? What data is available? And how can data be used to drive more customers and revenue?
These are interesting and important questions, but what keeps them up at night? Risk. Are my efforts to collect and store valuable marketing data — prospect and customer data, product data, new product data, and intellectual property (IP) — adding any unnecessary risk to the business? Will my data stay safe? What happens when my data is breached? Will damage to my reputation mean damage to my company’s? CMOs need to consider and be comfortable with cybersecurity issues in order to make better business decisions.

The Value Of Data

Data under the CMO purview includes all customer data from the early click to a real-time purchase to full engagement with the product or service. Data also includes customer data— an incredible trust—such as personally identifiable information (PII) and payment card information (PCI).  There is also IP that the CMO likely stores and safeguards.
What’s the value of data? Data value could be defined as the cost of all data that could be stolen, corrupted, or destroyed, multiplied by any potential fines, notification costs, or penalties as a result compromised data. Not to mention damaging costs associated with brand reputation and/or lost business. That’s a lot of responsibility.

What Can Happen To Your Data?

Data is powerful. It can help you move your business forward unlike any other effort, but data can also bring your organization to its knees. There are three ways your data can be affected:

  • Confidentiality: Data could be stolen.
  • Integrity: Data could be corrupted.
  • Availability: Data could be destroyed or locked down.

What can happen to your data?Are You Prepared For When Your Data Is Breached?

It seems clear that it isn’t just a question of whether your organization will be breached but rather when. So, as CMO, what can you do?
First, join your C-Suite in cybersecurity training. This is paramount. Once you are informed of how to identify and manage potential cyber risks, you can more effectively work across the organization in a meaningful and progressive way. You must collaborate and partner with your Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to understand where your efforts overlap with his/hers and work together to lead your organization in protecting the brand you, as CMO, are charged with developing and maximizing.
Second, lead by example and make sure that protecting your brand and company data is front and center for your entire marketing organization. Every employee needs to be personally vigilant and professionally cyber aware. One successful phishing email could compromise your organization. Remember that you and your customers are in this together; we’re talking about their data too. When data is secure, everybody wins.

The Time Is Now

This is an incredible time to be a CMO. Technology is enabling enormous opportunities to personalize buying experiences across industries. The data tracked through the pre and post purchase lifecycle is delivering CMOs the richest data sets one could imagine. But with this data comes an enormous responsibility.
Cybersecurity is a team sport. It takes preparation and collaboration. As Super Bowl Sunday approaches, think of it this way: marketing is the offense taking the ball forward as fast as possible so that the organization can get points on the scoreboard. If the CMO quarterback wants a deep strike, she needs to be in sync with those protecting her so she has the time to make a calculated, perfect pass into the arms of a waiting receiver.
If you’re a CMO and want to learn how you can understand your role in ensuring the cyber resilience of your organization, join us at our next Cyber Resolve seminar in NYC on May 1.