Microsoft, the technology giant, believes that injecting greater trust and transparency into the digital ecosystem should be a vital objective for marketers.

Rik van der Kooi, the corporate vice president of the Microsoft Advertising Business Group, discussed this subject at he Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) 2019 Annual Leadership Meeting.

More specifically, he warned that the relationship between the keepers of the digital ecosystem and consumers has “deteriorated to … a crisis of trust” at present.

“The original intent behind client data was really always about building deeper relationships with consumers and being of more service to them,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Microsoft advertising chief makes a pitch for trust and transparency.)

“But,” he allowed, “by being less transparent than we could have been – by not educating consumers enough, and by some, unfortunately, stumbles – we ended up acting against their, and, ultimately, our own interests.”

Marketers, he continued, now have the kind of granular information that enables them to understand consumers in much fuller ways, and thus “create better services and better products”, as well as target people with higher effectiveness.

The flip-side of applying “more and more data” in an industry that initially operated with few guard rails? “The relationship with consumers invariably deteriorated,” van der Kooi, who was recently elected as chair of the IAB board of directors, said.

Data breaches, opaque terms and conditions and privacy issues are only some of the current anxieties in this space. Add to this worries about bias in the design of artificial intelligence (AI) and ethical lapses, and the problem grows more complex.

The solution, van der Kooi proposed, includes tracking back to the beginning of insight development by “designing systems in a way that they are unbiased.”

Equally as important is crafting systems that are safe, reliable, and work in “the way they were designed and not just in expected circumstances, especially when they’re either under cyber attack or other forms of attack,” said van der Kooi.

Furthermore, privacy “needs to be designed in from day zero. That is the future where we all will operate,” he continued. Thoroughgoing inclusiveness is similarly vital.

Companies must be accountable, too. “We need not just accountability for how the system operates, but also accountability for when it goes wrong, because the consequences are meaningful,” said van der Kooi.

Sourced from WARC