Why it matters

Marketing and digital technology are now inseparable, but there are profound concerns among brand custodians and consumers about the way this relationship has developed. Too often, new tools and techniques have been deployed without the necessary concern for user permission and privacy.


  • Brands should develop a clear set of guiding principles that underpin their marketing activations, rather than letting the technological possibilities guide their ethical choices.
  • Human insight must remain a core element of the marketing process, meaning brand teams should not act on data alone.
  • Marketers would benefit from lending their weight to industry-wide efforts that aim to weed out malpractice in the digital ecosystem.

American marketing is facing “an existential crisis,” according to the board of directors of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).