Saying ‘thank you’ in a professional environment: Episode two - ‘Thank you’ for registering

Thank you for Registering

If you’ve read our blogs or whitepapers before, you will already have a good understanding in what GDPR is, why it is important, and ways to be compliant. But to give you a short definition “GDPR is a regulation brought in by the European Union to strengthen data protection laws, giving people more control over their personal data and how it is used.”

Double Opt-InOne important aspect from a business point of view, from the GDPR directive, is the double opt-in process. This practice means that in order to contact a person via e-mail for marketing purposes, they must have double opted-in. Double opting-in is a two-step process where a person must register for your communications and then verify their subscription through clicking a verification link on an e-mail they receive upon sign-up.

You have to agree, getting people do this upon their own free-will sounds like a challenge! Yes it initially will be tough, as marketers, we are just so used to sending out communications to everyone in our database, but on the other hand it will definitely be beneficial as you will notice a significant increase in your open and click through rates. This is because we know that everyone we are communicating with wants to receive our marketing material. But how do we get people to double-opt in to receive our communications in the first place?

This is where the ‘Thank You’ comes into place… a fantastic tactic we have seen so far as a method for getting people to double opt-in is by providing an incentive, for example,  ‘if you double opt-in to our communications you will receive a gift.’ The gift can be anything from a digital content, to box of chocolates and yes a piece of promotional merchandise!

Incentive GiftAt this point it really is up to you what incentive you choose to give away, if you do have incredibly current and valuable content that people would want to see and analyse, we recommend using it as it. By giving the user this it gives them an insight into the type of communications they will receive in the future (definitely would only recommend this for really valuable content, otherwise the incentive has no use). From a marketing point of view giving a promotional product works because not only will they be thankful for receiving the gift, but they will have a constant reminder of your company, and services, for them to recall upon when needed. In a recent survey by the British Promotional Merchandise Association, when asked how people felt when receiving a promotional gift, 79 percent of participants replied that they feel appreciated.  That is almost 8 out of 10 people that value receiving a promotional gift, which definitely proves that distributing promotional products to thank people for registration would work.

Our last point to make is to reinforce the importance of valuable communications, because let’s face it; what you’re aiming to do is hold a database of current and potential customers. With the new GDPR directive, people have the right to be forgotten. This means that a person could easily sign up, receive their free gift, after receiving a couple of e-mails, can ask the company to delete all trace of them. These actions completely nullify the initial incentive, so it is incredibly important that once you’ve got your foot through the door, to keep their attention with good useful content, and even reward their loyalty down the line with further promotional incentives. 

Saying ‘thank you’ in a professional environment: Episode one - ‘Thank you’ for your business

Promotional Products Week, Thank You for your Business

Let’s face it, if it wasn’t for regular customers, most businesses would definitely struggle to make ends meet and so based on this fact how often do you thank your customers for their regular business? If the answer is you can’t remember or you haven’t ever, it’s fine, we’re all guilty of being creatures of habit. Customers buy, we sell, repeat process again and again and again, until service and/or product is no longer needed and/or wanted for any particular reason.

Thank YouBut why should we thank our customers for their business? One simple and easy reason is based upon a moral we learn from a young age, we are taught to treat others how you would want to be treated yourself, do you like to be thanked when you’re not expecting it? Of course you do, it gives you this warm fuzzy feeling, no matter how big or small, it makes you feel like you’re actually a valued person, not just another piece in the buying process puzzle.

There have been many scientific studies in the past that illustrate the personal benefits of showing and receiving gratitude. Benefits such as improvements in physical and mental health, stress reduction and even assistance in sleeping better. From a business point of view the benefits are just as positive, here is a great statistic: 60% of 'businesses have lost a customer because they feel the business is indifferent to them'. You’ve heard the term ‘hindsight is a beautiful thing’ many times, if those businesses knew they could have retained those customers just simply by thanking them, I pretty much guarantee that the majority would have definitely shown gratitude one way or another. Customer loyalty is priceless and a topic we will explore further later on in the week.

Personalised Engraved PensThere is a great amount of talk in the world of business at the moment about giving the customer a personalised experience, concepts such as personalised marketing, sales process, and an aspect we see quite regularly in the promotional products industry, personalised promotional products. This is definitely an increasing trend in the promotional world, we are seeing interest in this from both the supplier’s and customer’s side. Suppliers are investing in machinery to be able to brand products individually, making it easier to print and engrave individual names on merchandise. Customers are requesting such products because they want to make the recipient feel special, it works particularly well with luxury pens.  Pens such as Cross, Schaeffer, Parker, Mont Blanc etc. have a high perceived value and are regularly timelessly engraved with names, giving them an extra special touch. We know this works well as it is already a popular concept in the consumer world and has been for many years!

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 3 - Marketing and Policies

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 3 - Marketing and Policies

Your marketing strategy should be at the heart of everything you do; almost all aspects of a thriving business rely on a successful marketing strategy. Like every aspect of business, marketing has changed incredibly over the last 20 years. All marketers want to know what’s the next big thing, how do you keep up to date with such a fast paced infrastructure? In the same manner of keeping up to date with marketing it is just as critical to keep up to date with security protocols. As I stated previously cyber security threats are continuously changing, and evolving what you thought protected you yesterday, may not protect you tomorrow.

The first matter you should address is re-evaluating your policies to combating cyber security risks. Now I’m not saying all of your policies, but any that could help in the prevention against malicious attacks.  If you haven’t got one in place already I would thoroughly suggest the implementation a cyber security policy. The main purpose of this document is to have a resource that informs all employees, contractors or anyone that has been provided access to company technology, what the obligatory procedures are regarding all cyber security issues. The document should eradicate all grey area regarding how users are meant to protect their machines, and digital assets, outlining their privileges and responsibilities.

One of the methods of spreading a virus, I mentioned earlier, is through plugging in an infected device to your corporate network, one way to avoid this is by having a ‘bring your own device policy. This would dictate how and what devices people can use at the office, and whether or not they can plug in their own devices into their work computers. This may seem a little unfair to ban all use of BYOD, but in critical situations where this has been the gateway to cyber-attacks on more than one occasion within the company, it may well be worth doing so. Other policies such as your privacy policy and IT usage policy should also be reviewed and updated regularly.

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 2 - Phishing, Whaling and Mobile Threats

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 2 - Phishing, Whaling and Mobile Threats

To read  'Episode 1 - Understanding Ransomware' click here

Further to the threat of 'Ransomware,' another massive area for concern when it comes to company cyber security is phishing and whaling. Phishing is a term you may have heard about before, it is simply described as when hackers send out fraudulent e-mails from accounts disguised as e-mail adresses the user would generally trust, e.g. a customer, colleague, or authoritative account like the government etc. 

Phishing and Whaling

The malicious e-mail’s goal is to incite the user into clicking a link within the e-mail. If the recipient clicks the link, it will activate the malware stealing all accessible data from that user, and in some cases can spam your e-mail contacts also.

It goes without saying that the hackers are definitely to blame when it comes to phishing, they are the the creators and distributers of malicious e-mails, but we the users aren’t completely blameless, part of the reason why phishing is on the rise is down to ‘overconfident users.’ In a study by Dr. Zinaida Benenson, 78% of participants filled out a questionnaire in her study stating they were aware that clicking on links from unknown sources could be detrimental. This number, on the surface, was reflected in the first study where 20% of people reported clicking a link from an unknown search, when in reality actually 45% of people clicked a potentially malicious link. This is down to overconfidence on what people perceive to be a malicious link, and what they in reality can be delivered as.

Whaling takes phishing one step further, generally phishing targets the general public attempting to gain their personal details, whereas whaling targets high level individuals in organisations, such as bankers, government officials and other powerful executives. From these high level users it attempts to steal a wider range of sensitive data, like personal and bank details for all the employees, or other sensitive company information.

Mobile SecurityEveryone knows computers are vulnerable, we see it all the time in the news and media, but what most people don’t realise is that their smartphones and smart devices are vulnerable to malicious hacking also. In fact any device with a microphone or a camera, you need to be wary that these devices can be hacked, baby monitors, games consoles etc. Hackers find vulnerability in the system, whether it’s through a non-secure wireless transmission or a root through the internet, and once in can not only access your private files, but live access to devices like cameras, speakers and microphones.

This is not a new phenomenon, but through the introduction of devices that talk to each other, hackers can use that communication channel to find their way into your network. This is definitely an evident threat for home users, but this threat can spread the moment an infected own device logs onto a corporate network. When an infected device lawfully accesses the corporate network, as innocent as this connection is, it can be extremely detrimental to a company, as not only will it find its way onto the network, but will spread to every computer on the network.

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Understanding Ransomware

2017 Cyber Security and Marketing: Episode 1 - Understanding Ransomware

2017 definitely has seen its fair share of cyber security news stories, this current day and age we live in is filled with a plethora of cyber security threats, from uncountable sources. It is partly because of these malicious threats that saw the need for an update in the ways company store and process data, hence the introduction next year of GDPR (to learn more about GDPR contact us to recieve our GDPR Whitepaper)

Just to give you a starting point statistic, according to a report from pandalabs, in Q3 of 2016 18,000,000 new malware samples were captured in that quarter alone, averaging out at approximately 200,000 a day. The scary part is this is the statistic only for the malware that was captured by one single company; the totality of malicious malware that bypasses the system is unknown, and continuously growing on a daily basis, which is why it’s harder and harder for companies to combat it.

Have you heard about the concept of ransomware? Ransomware is now the number one security concern for organisations across the world. It is a sophisticated malicious attack which unlawfully gains access to devices and files, it blocks access to them by encrypting them and displays message on the user’s screen to pay X amount to regain access to those encrypted files. It spawned in Russia between 2005 and 2006, and during its early years of conception mainly targeted smaller files like images and word documents,

To give you an example of a wide scale ransomware attack, it happened very recently. A cyber-attack known as ‘WannaCry’ caused an incredible amount of havoc across the NHS in May, which not only led to patients not being seen, but also caused for urgent operations to be cancelled. Within just 3 days ‘WannaCry’ had targeted around 200,000 organisations across the world. The hackers found a flaw in Microsoft software, and used this to spread across networks encrypting all the files.

Another enormous area for concern when it comes to company cyber security is phishing and whaling. We will discuss these areas in next weeks blog episode!
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