By Emily Riley, COO of Ghostery, Inc.
Imagine you are on a business trip at a busy conference with many competitors. One morning from the hotel you join a conference call to discuss highly confidential information. To be safe, you put a “please do not disturb” sign on your door. But here’s the rub – you left the door wide open. This sounds preposterous, but it’s what companies do every day online.
A typical commercial website in the UK has more than 25 technology vendors on it. Ghostery calls these vendors your Marketing Cloud. Vendors such as analytics tools, social media widgets, and advertising tags each provide marketing benefits to the company, but they also cause real risks to businesses. Inviting third parties onto your website and applications is like leaving the front door to your customers and your data wide open. It can cause problems that can cost companies millions, such as breaks in security, poor customer experiences, slow sites, and lost data.
Anonymous data that Ghostery aggregates from more than 26 million websites reveals:
- Only 20% of the vendors seen on a financial service’s site is directly placed by the site’s owner, creating major blind spots
- The average financial service’s site shares 42% of the same digital vendors with its direct competitors, risking data leakage
- Website performance decreases by 5% with each tag added to its page
In many cases, a complex marketing cloud develops over time, across many departments and for several reasons:
- Media agencies might employ an ad network that introduces several data retargeting companies
- The social media manager adds three or four widgets to each page and they in turn call additional social monitoring services
- The marketing department adds email and content targeting technologies
- The analytics team adds tags to measure site performance
- The site operations team decides to use a tag manager to handle many of the tags, further decreasing visibility
For many companies across industries ranging from retail, travel to financial services, the costs of a complex marketing cloud are difficult to assess. Some companies are beginning to realise that, while digital marketing and advertising technology offers benefits, the costs are often outweighed. Without proper management, customer experience suffers, website performance lags, data is compromised, costing the company customers and millions of dollars.
Maximising the ROI from your Marketing Cloud
Marketing cloud management is a new strategic discipline that brings vendor management practices from IT over to the digital marketing organisation. A strong MCM process benefits your company’s bottom line by taking into consideration both the benefits and the costs of working with digital marketing vendors. Ultimately, your website’s performance is only as good as that of the vendors on your site. Several ways to maximise ROI with better management include:
- Preventing security breaches – Having non-secure tags on secure or mixed-content pages exposes a company’s data to hackers, as evidenced by the Reuters hack through Taboola this past June
- Protecting against data leakage – The average retailer shares 72 percent of the same digital vendors with its competitor
- Reducing site latency – Research shows that adding a single marketing tag to a site increases the page latency by 5 percent
- Ensuring data governance – Own the contract relationship, set guidelines for vendor removal, and ensure SLAs are being met in terms of latency, data resell, and third party vendors permitted
Three Essential Steps to Managing the Marketing Cloud:
If you have a large website with a lot of digital marketing partners, the time for better marketing cloud management is now. Follow these steps to creating a strategic initiative that will benefit your online business in the short and long term:
Perform a vendor audit
To start, see which vendors have access to your website, as well as any other companies they bring with them through redirect chains. Determine the benefits and risks of working with each partner, and bring the appropriate stakeholders together to decide which relationships need to be terminated or changed. You might be surprised to see that some companies on your site don’t have a relationship with anyone else working with your business.
Implement vendor management processes
Decide which department will be in charge of vendor management and selection moving forward. A VP in digital or a leader in an IT department who supports marketing is usually best suited to manage the marketing cloud. Select someone who is capable of objectively understanding and communicating both the costs and benefits of any given marketing vendor and who can effectively enforce process.
Encourage CMO-CIO collaboration
Good marketing cloud management requires better communication across marketing and IT over the long term, yet the CMO-CIO relationship is considered one of the weakest in the C-Suite. Building cross-department communication and alignment between marketing and tech in areas like performance goals and vendor management leads to limitless potential to grow a business.
Your online business is a critical part of your company’s success. Don’t let blind spots get in the way. With good marketing cloud management, you can further secure your site, increase performance and ensure customers have an optimal experience.