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Marketing firms leaving content unmanaged

With the use of digital communication and collaborations rapidly growing in the marketing industry, around one in three organisations has no-one responsible for governing the content of instant messaging (39%), mobile (32%), social media (28%) and cloud-sharing content (33%), according to our new study(1).

The study, undertaken by AIIM, the global community for information professionals, also reveals that one in ten organisations is failing to regulate well-established information types such as email, customer data and public website content.

With firms now using social messaging and file-sharing content on a regular basis, these methods have become a main part of the industry, so it’s even more worrying that this content is being left unmanaged. With text-based messaging now constituting a formal record and subject to the same data protection, compliance and retention requirements as paper and electronic business documents, the lack of effective monitoring and accountability could have a significant impact on information security and compliance.

The data from our survey shows the volume and variety of information now moving through these new channels is increasing. In Europe, the average company now uses 37 different file-sharing services and 125 collaboration services – four million worldwide use Dropbox(2). In addition companies are struggling with the older channels of communication, such as email.

As the content posted and distributed by firms through these new channels can be implicated in legal disputes such as insider malpractice, leaks of confidential information or in breaches of acceptable use, it is vital that it is not overlooked by information governance.

The marketing industry needs to ensure content management, storage, retention and retrieval process are applied as rigorously to information created and distributed through the new channels as they should be to the more traditional data sets and paper records. This isn’t always going to be easy. The challenge of determining which social messages constitute a retention rule is going to appear overwhelming for the majority of firms which are already overloaded with growing volumes of information in multiple formats. Failure to take on this challenge however, is going to expose many to unacceptable levels of risk.

We recommend firms use the following checklist to ensure all information is managed responsibly:

  • Ensure every type of content has an owner – allocate responsibility to records and information management, IT, legal/compliance, marketing or HR, for example
  • Segment and prioritise content – and focus on the high priority/sensitive/confidential records
  • Rigorously implement data capture, retention and deletion policies
  • Automate the retention and deletion policies
  • Implement an ECM/ERM system to replace informal online file shares
  • Create and communicate clear employee policies and guidelines
  • Outsource data management and storage if required


If followed correctly, this checklist will provide marketing firms with the basis needed to ensure its, and its customers, data is safe and managed in a safe and secure way.


 (2) Data from Radicati Group, 2014, Dropbox and Business Cloud News, 21 October 2014