What’s your digital marketing crash plan?

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In business, we think of a “crash plan” as it pertains to the backup of our critical infrastructure. Databases and information that need to be connected and backed up in order for us to run our businesses in a global economy. Typically this includes a form of off-premise data backup that allows you to access the information from anywhere. These processes in our business world are what provide us with the flexibility to have team members around the globe, all working on and accessing the same information. It’s also a function of security, should the unfortunate happen, which is a data breach.

While much talk and time is spent on this subject matter, often overlooked is the information that marketing teams have access to that are nearly as critical as backing up your company files. Knowing and documenting who has access to your digital marketing channels is equally important for security and growth.

From an agency perspective, these are some of the most overlooked items by marketing teams. Not only do they pose a potential threat for security but this could also slow down a project going to market.

Properly Audit your Digital Marketing Stack

In order to develop a crash plan, you first must understand what the platform is and who has access to it. When trying to understand what platform or application might fall into a segment of your digital marketing strategies, it is recommended that you start with what your team uses on a day-to-day, or even monthly basis. Put together a simple spreadsheet that lists out the application or platform, how someone would access it via a specific login link, what the function of that application is, and who has access to it. When it comes down to the accessibility portion, it is recommended that you make note of what level of access that person has as well.

Consider the following list as a primer for your own internal audit:

  • Website access – most websites are built on top of a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress, Craft, Shopify, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, the list goes on. These CMS platforms all have an access point with usernames and passwords. Consider this your foundation of who has access to the backend of your site and what they are allowed to do.
  • Domain Registrar and Hosting – often, these are not always held by the same company. A domain registrar is where you purchase your domain name from. Whereas your hosting company is where your site physically lives. Many times, depending on the size of your company, these items are held within your IT department. They often can be held by your agency of record. A word of caution on the latter, when reviewing these items, ask yourself if you as a company have ownership and control over the domain, because you should.
  • Google Analytics – for digital marketers, this is our go-to tool for tracking website traffic, understanding visitor behaviors and measuring the effectiveness of marketing efforts. It is not uncommon to have multiple people involved with Google Analytics, accessing different data sets. Do note who these people are, what their role is in your company or agency relationship, and the level of access they have. Are they allowed to edit users, or just access data and report? Note: if it’s an agency running digital advertising, and they have Analytics tied in with other platforms, odds are they’ll have admin/edit level permissions, but it’s good to touch base with those involved anyways.
  • Social Media Platforms – From Facebook and Instagram, to LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, the list is ever expanding. You might be using each one of these platforms for different reasons in your digital marketing strategies. Understanding who has access to each and why, can be a good health check-up for any brand.
  • Ad Platforms – If you are running digital advertising by way of any number of platforms, you should have access and some level of ownership over those. Google Ads, we always recommend that platform be in your company’s name, with management or user permissions given to others where relevant. The same goes for platforms such as Facebook. The ads account should be in your company’s name, not the agency of record. The main reason is that the data on your audiences stays with the ad account. Should you ever decide to part ways, that data then comes with you, if you have proper ownership. The same can be said for individual employees too. If they set up the ad account, is it in their name, or the business name? Best to level up in this area.
  • Google Search Console – primarily used by those of us in the search engine optimization (SEO) industry, Search Console is the platform used to have some visibility into how Google is rendering your site, phrases it is relevant for and populating searches on. Do you have ownership and/or access to this?
  • Email Marketing Platforms – from MailChimp and Constant Contact to more in depth CRM tools like Pardot and Salesforce, knowing who has access to your first party email data is critical. More often than not, these are the individuals you’re communicating with the most. Have a solid understanding of who has access and what their role is.

Use a Password Management Tool

It’s time to move past usernames and passwords taped to the bottom of your keyboard, or spreadsheets filled with all your login access. That wasn’t safe 15 years ago and it certainly isn’t safe now. In addition, with many businesses being in a hybrid or virtual arrangement, sharing of this information becomes more of a challenge.

There are a number of password management tools out there that make it easy to secure, and share, your login details amongst teams and agency partners. Depending on your needs and budgets, you will be able to narrow in on an application that is right for you. Services such as Keeper, LastPass, OneLogin and others, all function on a monthly or annual basis, allowing you to purchase the number of licenses you need based on your team size.

Password management tools allow you to share those usernames and passwords across your teams, give you visibility into who has access, and who has last accessed your information.

The more your digital marketing efforts and teams grow, the more important these pieces are to have organized and controlled. As mentioned above, it can be critical for security reasons, but also it is equally important for others who work on your behalf. Waiting for access, or learning about who has access and ownership over an account, is often not best left to the 11th hour.

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