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28 September 2022
CMOs struggle to get to grips with data ethics
Data-driven marketingData protection & privacyUsing customer data
CMOs are keen to address consumer and regulatory concerns around data-driven marketing, but the complexity of the data and digital ecosystem is making it hard for them to identify the right practical measures to take.
That’s according to new research* from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) which finds that the great majority of CMOs at multinational companies are prioritising an ethical approach to their use of data but half do not know what this means when it comes to the processes and practices they need to apply both internally and across their marketing supply chains.
Why it matters
WFA President and Mastercard Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Raja Rajamannar believes the digital ad market is “facing an inflection point with the scale of regulatory, consumer and market pressures” and says it’s down to CMOs to lead the way in ensuring brands can use data in a responsible, equitable and ethical manner. “If we don’t, we threaten the entire industry’s licence to operate longer term.”
50% of CMOs are very concerned about the level of privacy compliance among their external partners and suppliers (e.g. publishers, ad tech, online platforms and data brokers).
83% of CMOs are very concerned about being associated with a service provider or supplier that is investigated for the unethical use of data.
Only 16% of CMOs are very confident that their company’s use of AI and machine learning will not create harmful unintended consequences for their consumers such as bias, unfair discrimination or unfair exclusion.
85% of CMOs are considering using privacy-preserving alternatives to programmatic advertising in response to increased regulatory scrutiny.
33% of CMOs believe that their marketers are consciously avoiding using data in a way that exploits vulnerabilities (e.g. unfairly excludes certain audiences, fuels unhealthy consumption patterns or polarises opinions).
41% of CMOs say data ethics has become an integral part of their organisation’s culture.
The WFA believes that brands must go beyond existing rules and apply a moral lens to the complex web of data-related marketing practices in order to develop more responsible, inclusive and ethical data practices. Its new CMO Guide to Data Ethics in Practice is designed to help CMOs address these challenges and better understand their responsibilities around data and AI.
*The results are based on 12 responses provided by global CMOs who sit in the WFA’s CMO Forum, which represents brands spending over $120bn each year.