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How B2B Marketers Can Keep Their Customer Data Secure in an Open World

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How B2B Marketers Can Keep Their Customer Data Secure in an Open World


Becoming successful as an online B2B marketer or business owner now requires more than effective marketing strategies and delivering to customers what you promise. It also now requires taking action to ensure that your customer data is kept secure.

In fact, the security of customer data now runs at the heart of what it takes to run an online business successfully. This is for two reasons: 1. so customers of B2B marketers and business owners will have confidence knowing their data is kept secure, and 2. so B2B marketers and business owners avoid the massive financial ramifications of suffering a data leak or ransomware attack.

In this article, we’ll discuss how B2B marketers and online marketplace owners can secure customer data in an open world against the most common kinds of data breaches.

Why data security is at the core of business success

The foundational reasons for why data security rests at the core of business success have been established above, but to expand on those principles, it’s worth noting that the subject of customer data security is hardly anything new. Since the pandemic struck, the number of cybercrimes has risen substantially, and this has made customers (both for B2C and B2B transactions alike) far more cognizant of cybercrimes than they were before.

This is one of the reasons why up to 84% of customers now report that they will not complete an online transaction if they have reason to believe that the site or marketplace they are buying from is not secure. It’s also why there has been a 50% rise in the number of people purchasing comprehensive insurance policies to help cover financial losses in the event of their businesses going under or becoming the victims of a successful cyberattack.

Online customers are now more aware of how their personal information is being collected, and what security measures are being used for the sites and online stores they’re doing business with. B2B marketers and business owners need to adapt, and there are three key areas where they can do so:

Use progressive profiling to gather data

The first step for B2B marketers to secure customer data is to only gather absolutely essential information and to be fully transparent with consumers and businesses about the information they are collecting.

The best strategy to ensure this is called progressive profiling, or where you steadily build up a profile of your customers each time they make an interaction with your brand, site, or products and services. In other words, you collect small pieces of information from customers over time versus a larger pool of data at once.

Too many businesses will hit customers early on with long-form questionnaires that must be completed before they can even interact with a product or service, and that require several minutes to fill out. The result is that customers may not even fill out the questionnaire or form because of the inconvenience, resulting in lost business.

Instead, with progressive profiling, you only gather the absolutely critical information (i.e. names and email addresses) in an initial commitment form. All other data you need is gathered in small increments at later stages in the customer journey. Examples of information you may need to collect with B2B customers include details about the customers’ company (addresses, budgets, phone numbers, etc.), financial data, and the position of the customer within the company.

Only ask the questions that are appropriate or relevant for each stage. Again, the idea is to collect only the data you absolutely need and at the least possible inconvenience to the customer. Make sure that each questionnaire or form you provide to a customer has a maximum of two or three questions each.

It’s also important to be fully transparent about the data you are collecting and how it will be used, which you can indicate in clear print on each form or questionnaire. Also, point out here how the data is stored on a need-to-know basis only amongst the members of your company for maximum security. Speaking of which…

Ensure Access To Customer Data Is Kept On A Need-To-Know Basis

Limit access to customer or business information on a strictly need-to-know basis. Not everyone in your company needs to know the data you collect concerning your customers. This is especially true when it comes to financial information, which we’ll use as an example.

Having reliable systems in place for customers to pay is an obvious part of successfully running an online business. Simply offering an option to pay via credit card or debit card alone should be sufficient. After all, according to recent studies, over 70% of customers today favor using credit cards for making their online transactions.

But less obvious is how you handle that data. If you truly keep customer data strictly on a need-to-know basis, this means three crucial things:

  1. Access controls are implemented on any systems where customer financial data is stored
  2. You have a clear written policy that details privilege-level access to customer financial data
  3. You configure the aforementioned access controls so only authorized parties can view the data when necessary, with all other members of your company denied access

This leads us to our final point…

Ensure Encryption Policies Are Kept Up-To-Date

The process by which encryption of customer data works is simple…and the process for how cybercriminals can attempt to hack out-of-date encryption policies is even more so. Most companies rely on asymmetric encryption algorithms (or public-key cryptographic encryption) to secure customer data. This means that customer data is kept secured using ciphertext, which can only be viewed in the original text if it is decrypted with an encryption key.

However, unless symmetric encryption, two different keys are used to access the ciphertext: one key is public, and the other is private. The public key may be shared with anyone and is used to encrypt a message so that the intended recipient can then decrypt the message with their private key. An example of asymmetric encryption is to use RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman) algorithms, which also happens to be one of the most widely utilized encryption methods.

The most common strategy hackers use to break encrypted messages or data files today is through brute force attacks, or using different keys until the correct one is discovered using trial-and-error application programs. The length of the key alone determines how many digits are in the key, which is why it’s smarter to use longer encryption keys to help reduce the odds of a brute force attack becoming successful.

Beyond that, the best strategies to ensure your encryption policies are kept properly updated are to: update your encryption ciphers, keep your private encryption keys secure (ensure compliance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Recommendation for Key Management), and encrypt your website using SSL encryption security in your host.

Conclusion

By no means are the above tips the only things you should do to help ensure customer data security. But at the very least, making sure your B2B customers are aware that you take the above measures seriously will help make them feel more comfortable buying from you and add legitimacy to your business.



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When Your SEO Competitors Don’t Match What You Know

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When Your SEO Competitors Don't Match What You Know


You know your competitors, and you’re not going to let some damned SEO tool tell you different!

Hey, I’ll give you the first part, but there are a lot of reasons that the results from a tool like True Competitor might not match your expectations, and that could be a good thing.

I’m going to dig into five of those reasons:

  1. You’re living in the past

  2. You’ve hit a brick wall

  3. You can’t see the trees

  4. You’re stuck in one tree

  5. We’re just plain wrong

First, the toughest one to hear — the world is changing, and you’re not changing with it.

1. You’re living in the past

Look, I know Big Wally at Big Wally’s Widget World said your Grandma’s meatloaf was “just okay, I guess” at the church potluck in ‘87, but you need to move on. Even if you’re not quite-so-literally stuck in the past, you may be operating on an outdated sense of who your competitors are. Especially online, the competitive landscape can change quickly, and it’s worth re-evaluating from time to time.

2. You’ve hit a brick wall

Quite literally — you’ve run headlong into your own brick-and-mortar wall. As a business with physical locations, your competitors with physical locations are absolutely important, but from a search perspective, they may not represent who you’re actually competing with online.

Take, for example, McDonald’s — you might expect the competition to include Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and other fast food chains with physical restaurants. Meanwhile, here are the second through fourth results from True Competitor:

While DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats don’t have traditional, physical locations, these are the places where McDonald’s online customers go to order, and they represent a significant amount of organic SERP real estate. From an SEO standpoint, this is reality.

3. You can’t see the trees

You can see the whole forest from where you’re standing, and that’s great, but are you missing the diversity and distinctiveness of the trees?

This is easier to show than tell. Let’s take a look at big box retailer, Target. True Competitor returns the following top three:

No big surprises here, and no one should be shocked that this list includes not only brick-and-mortar competitors, but online retail juggernauts like Amazon. Let’s take a deeper look, though (the following are competitors #8, #7, and #22 in our current data):

Target isn’t just up against the whole-forest, big box retailers — they also have to contend with niche competition. Their competitors in the video game space include not only brick-and-mortar retailers like GameStop, but competitor-partners like Sony and Nintendo (which both sell hardware and software directly online).

Not every grove of trees is going to have the same needs and growing conditions. Your competitive landscape could have dozens of ecosystems, and each of them requires unique research and likely a unique strategy.

4. You’re stuck in one tree

On the other hand, you could be stuck in just one tree. Let’s take Ford Motor Company as an example. Savvy marketers at Ford know they’re not just up against legacy automakers like Chevrolet and Toyota, but up-and-coming competitors like Tesla and Rivian.

That niche is incredibly important, but let’s take a look at what the SERPs are telling us:

These are Ford’s #1, #2, and #5 competitors, and they aren’t automakers — they’re automotive content producers. Does this mean that Chevy and Tesla aren’t Ford’s competitors? Of course not. It means that those automakers are infrequently appearing in SERPs alongside Ford. Ford is competing with mentions of their own products (makes and models) in leading online publications.

5. We’re just plain wrong

Hey, it happens — I’m not here to claim that we’re perfect. SERP-based competitive analysis has a couple of limitations. First, as discussed, SERP analysis doesn’t always reflect the brick-and-mortar world. From an SEO perspective, that’s fine (if they’re not ranking, we’re not competing with them for search share), but there are other essential pieces to the puzzle.

Second, our SERP-based analysis is based on national results and does not reflect regional or hyperlocal competition. Some regional businesses do have national competitors, and that’s worth knowing, but localized perspectives are important as well.

Maybe it’s a good thing…

What if a tool like True Competitor only returned information that you already knew? I guess you could pat yourself on the back and move on with life, but what did you learn? To me, the entire point of SERP-based competitive analysis is to challenge your expectations and your point of view. If the results don’t match what you expect, that mismatch represents opportunity.

More likely than not, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong (unless you’ve let vanity and personal history get the best of you) — it means that you’re missing a perspective or a niche that could be important. If you can see that missing perspective as money left on the table, then you’ve got a good chance to pick it up and walk away with a bit more in your pocket.


The Competitive Analysis Suite is now available to all Moz Pro customers, and we’d love to hear your feedback via the ‘Make a Suggestion’ button in the app.

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How Full-Cycle Recruiting Can Improve Your Recruitment Process

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How Full-Cycle Recruiting Can Improve Your Recruitment Process


Job vacancies can cost a company an average of $500 per day.

Companies can save money, improve the quality of their hires, eliminate communication gaps, and increase accountability during the recruitment process by implementing a full-cycle recruitment strategy.

The full-cycle recruitment process is managed by a single full-cycle recruiter or full-cycle recruiting agency.

Full-Cycle Recruiting Process

full cycle recruitment process

The full-cycle recruiting process includes six stages: preparing, sourcing, screening, selecting, hiring, and onboarding.

Preparing

The first stage of the full-cycle recruiting process is the preparing stage. A recruiter will begin this stage by working with a hiring manager to identify a hiring need and create a persona — a fictionalized profile of your company’s ideal candidate.

During the next step of the preparing stage, the recruiter and hiring manager will determine how much compensation a candidate will be offered. This information will be used to create a job posting that includes an overview of the role, responsibilities, salary range, benefits, and information about the company.

Sourcing

After creating a persona and job posting, a recruiter will use word-of-mouth, internal recruiting, employee referrals, social media, job boards, or career websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor to find jobseekers that fit the ideal candidate persona.

Screening

After finding potential candidates, a recruiter will carefully review applicants’ resumes and cover letters with the help of HR software. Then, the recruiter will perform a phone screen or on-demand interview.

For most talent acquisition leaders, resume screening is the most time-consuming and challenging part of recruitment.

Selecting

After screening and shortlisting candidates, the recruiter will determine which candidate is the best fit for the role by conducting face-to-face or virtual interviews.

A recruiter will ask candidates in-depth questions to learn more about their professional background and qualifications during a face-to-face interview. The recruiter may also have candidates complete writing assignments or a series of tasks to prove they are a good choice for the position.

Once the recruiter selects the best candidate, they will check the candidate’s references or order a background check.

Hiring

The hiring stage is the most important of the process.

After choosing the best candidate for the role, the recruiter will contact the candidate with an official job offer and may have to negotiate the terms of the offer. The candidate may feel more comfortable receiving a job offer from the full-cycle recruiter rather than the hiring manager because the recruiter has been the candidate’s primary contact throughout the hiring process.

Onboarding

The final stage of the full-cycle recruiting process is the onboarding stage. During the onboarding stage of the process, a hire is integrated into the company. The full-cycle recruiter will familiarize the new hire with the company culture and team members using a welcoming orientation or introductory path.

1. Identify the ideal candidate for the role.

A candidate persona is a description of your ideal applicant. Creating a candidate persona will help your recruiter choose the best applicant for the role by honing in on the criteria that your ideal candidate should meet.

To create a persona, start by asking yourself questions about your ideal candidate to identify their skills, qualifications, experience, education, and background. For example, what industry do they currently work in? Do they hold the role that you are hiring for? What are their professional goals? What work environment do they thrive in?

Once you have answered the questions, interview managers at your business who would oversee your ideal candidate and ask about the skills that would help employees thrive in the role. Use the managers’ recommendations to help craft your ideal candidate’s persona.

2. Find potential candidates.

Create advertisements that target jobseekers who fit your ideal candidate persona. Post the advertisements to social media websites and job boards such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Glassdoor to reach potential candidates searching for new positions.

You can also use promotions and transfers to recruit existing employees who may qualify for the position. Internal recruiting can help your company reduce onboarding time, boost morale, and save time and money.

3. Review candidates’ resumes and cover letters.

Use applicant tracking software (ATS) to scan applicants’ resumes and cover letters for criteria that matches your ideal candidate persona, such as education, years of experience, and previous job titles.

If you are reviewing resumes and cover letters manually, scan each resume for keywords that match the open position. Next, separate them into 3 categories: resumes that do not meet the criteria for the position, resumes that meet some of the criteria, and resumes that meet all of the criteria. Double-check the resumes in each category.

Place the candidates that are closest to your company’s ideal candidate persona on a shortlist.

4. Conduct face-to-face or virtual interviews with shortlisted candidates.

Interviewing shortlisted candidates can help you find the best fit for the job. By interviewing candidates, you can learn more about their experiences and qualifications, their potential to fit into your company culture, and their soft skills, such as how they perform under pressure.

Conducting standardized interviews can also help you view candidates objectively and prevent bias in the hiring process.

5. Contact the best candidate with an official job offer.

After conducting interviews, extend an official job offer to the best candidate. Indeed recommends contacting the candidate by phone the same day as their final interview or within one day of making your decision.

Benefits of Full-Cycle Recruiting

Full-cycle recruiting improves the efficiency of the hiring process in five key ways:

Faster Hiring

The full-cycle recruiting process reduces time-to-hire, making the recruitment process more efficient. Time-to-hire is a measure of the time between when a candidate enters the pipeline and when they are officially hired. A shortened time-to-hire reduces the risk of a company losing out on highly qualified candidates that may be simultaneously interviewing at other companies.

Streamlined Strategy

Using a full-cycle recruiting strategy streamlines the recruitment process. It eliminates delays caused by communication gaps because the process is handled by a single recruiter or agency that can construct a simple strategy and follow it through to the end.

Improved Quality of Hire

Quality of hire measures the value a new hire contributes to a company’s overall success. Improving the quality of hire increases employee engagement, improves job satisfaction and productivity levels, and decreases turnover costs.

A full-cycle recruiter implements a more personalized and thorough process than a traditional recruiter. As a result, full-cycle recruiting improves the quality of hire by precisely identifying the best candidate for a position.

Increased Accountability

Because one person manages the entire full-cycle recruiting process, all of the successes and failures of the process are their responsibility. The recruiter benefits from this responsibility because they can’t lose a candidate due to someone else’s mistakes.

Improved Communication

In full-cycle recruiting, candidates remain in communication with a single person throughout the hiring process. Therefore, the process alleviates any possible concerns a candidate may have about delays caused by miscommunication between hiring personnel.

Full-Cycle Recruiting Process Results

A well-executed full-cycle recruiting process will result in an employee who feels prepared on their first day. This is all thanks to a full-cycle recruiter who guided them through the recruitment process, maintained communication, and provided necessary information about the job position and the company.

Discover videos, templates, tips, and other resources dedicated to helping you  launch an effective video marketing strategy. 



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3 ways to dominate with Google Auction Insights and search intelligence

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3 ways to dominate with Google Auction Insights and search intelligence


While marketers have overcome many challenges in recent years, sadly, the second half of 2022 is poised to be very different from the first. Unprecedented macroeconomic factors such as high inflation, food and energy costs and the war in Ukraine are impacting our business.

Hiring is starting to slow down, and the pressure is on. There is a good chance that you’ll probably be asked to do more with less, as budgets may be prioritized and cut in certain areas. 

On the flip side, Google Search ad spend continues to rise. It’s the channel that is always on, the channel with the highest conversion rate and the channel that won’t go away.

This part of the marketing mix is reliable and constant, but are the campaigns delivering success? Are they contributing to sales? Contributing to leads?

Auction Insights is a powerful tool we’ve all come to use for understanding campaign performance against competitors. Search intelligence adds another layer of granularity to ensure you’re one step ahead of your competition.  

Join Ashley Fletcher, VP of Marketing at Adthena, in his informative SMX Advanced session to explore three easy search intelligence tactics that will help you dominate your competitive landscape. He also shares use-cases from L’Oreal and Avanti West Coast trains.  

After this session, you’ll be able to save time with competitive monitoring, track performance over time and see your competitor’s spend and ad copy. The presentation will help you use data to make better ad campaign decisions and dig into search intelligence to understand why certain ads are successful to ultimately dominate the competition.


About The Author

Adthena is the The Ultimate Search Intelligence Solution. It serves hundreds of the world’s largest advertisers through its patented “Whole Market View” technology. Updated daily and unrivaled, Adthena uses machine learning to help digital marketers understand their paid and organic search landscape and improve campaign performance. Processing over 10TB of new data, indexing 500 million adverts and 200 million keywords in 15 different languages every day, Adthena works with over 250 clients spread across 14 different business sectors ranging from retail, finance, travel and automotive. Our Solutions include: Partner Management, Strategic Benchmarking, Gap Analysis, Ad Copy Analysis and Brand Protection.



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