By Jenn Chase
Evolving isn’t easy. It entails examining old processes, finding ways to become resilient, and adopting new technologies. While these technologies can facilitate better processes, they also introduce concerns, such as those involving customer privacy, accuracy, fairness, ethics, and bias—standards that can easily fall by the wayside without an intentional strategy and accountability.
I’m uniquely positioned to have a front-row seat as my organization adopts new technologies and strategies, and I’m responsible for protecting the interests of our customers. Take generative AI: I’m aware of its incredible potential, and I understand the implications if it’s used irresponsibly or unethically.
This is why I’ve become an advocate for responsible marketing, a strategy inspired by the responsible innovation movement that focuses on creating meaningful customer experiences and delivering competitive advantage and growth for organizations.
Responsible marketing isn’t a new phenomenon. As marketers, most of us have always been responsible. But with recent advancements in technology, it is more prudent for us to avoid unintended consequences while building loyalty and trust with our customers. Marketers need to use their customer and marketing data, technology, and company resources responsibly.
The principles are not solely rooted in marketing; we’re not the only team to capture and use data. Nor are we alone in working with emerging technologies or interacting with a diverse audience with various needs and expectations.
It’s critical to partner cross-divisionally so all the leaders in your organization keep privacy and ethics at top of mind. Not every group has identical priorities or needs, but we all have the same ethical objective.
IT is a great example. It’s not surprising that—especially now—CIOs see a need to modernize. And while they typically have a vision for how technologies give their businesses a competitive edge, they also share goals with marketing in building principles of privacy, accuracy, and security.
Every employee at your organization needs to take responsibility for using technologies to support your business strategy and protect your customers. It’s a unified mission.
To further that mission, here are four ways your marketing team can partner with IT to prioritize responsible marketing:
- Tell consumers when and why you’re capturing their data.Customers who understand your organization’s data-capturing rationale are more likely to trust you, particularly if you can prove you’re using it responsibly. As stewards of new technologies that are brought into a business, IT knows when and how an organization captures consumer data and can communicate why.
- Balance personalized marketing with privacy.Organizations need policies for responsibly collecting and managing customer data and communication preferences. If your organization can personalize communications in a way that doesn’t make customers feel like you’re invading their privacy, you’ve struck a good balance.
- Ensure new technologies comply with legal and ethical guidelines.While there are legal implications for misusing customer data, it’s also your duty to safeguard customers from aggressive or intrusive tactics. Leaders in IT should know which technologies the organization is considering and make ethical decisions with end users in mind.
- Protect the interests of vulnerable audiences. IT should be equally concerned with ethical data policies and regulations regarding age, race, gender, cognitive ability, or other customer traits. This is one of the most important tenets of responsible marketing, and it spans the enterprise.
Regardless of where you are in your marketing journey, I encourage you to become an advocate for corporate responsibility. While I used IT as an example, it is not the only area that needs guidelines for responsible use of technology. The strongest businesses are the ones where all departments—marketing, finance, sales, legal, and all others—work in lockstep to safeguard customers. We all have different roles yet the same goal. Together, we can be a force for good and a force for growth.
Learn more about improving the customer experience through real-time customer intelligence with this report from SAS.
Jenn Chase is the chief marketing officer at SAS.