AI Marketing Ethics 101: Remember the Human

Marketing in the age of AI


AI Marketing Ethics 101: Remember the Human

Reading Time: 2.5 minutes

Everyone is racing nowadays to provide more efficient and technologically advanced marketing solutions. And when this happens some companies push the envelope of what is ethically acceptable because they fear if they don’t, their competitors will.  In this post, we’ll address the idea of an ethical approach to how you implement AI in your marketing efforts.


Most of us don’t realize how we willingly give up our data as we browse the web: our preferences, purchases, locations and more. All of this data is collected and leads to personalization or a better browsing experience when we are on the web. And tech companies are developing AI technologies to better respond to our preferences.

We give up privacy to get the convenience of personalization. And we become desensitized to it. We tend not to think about how Google maps is using our data to suggest particular routes or how Netflix knows about everything we’ve ever watched and tailors its suggestions accordingly. We just press the button to get the convenience of what are really AI powered solutions using thousands of data points about our online behavior. Ultimately, we cede our data to brands to make our lives more convenient.

As possibilities open up for targeting at the individual level, it’s important that companies who move ahead with adopting these technologies and the powers they bring consider the human side of things. We have an obligation as marketers to understand the human side of what we’re doing. Brands have to decide how far they are going to push to achieve personalization. Because AI is a quickly evolving industry, there are currently no rules for how to approach these things ethically.

The biggest thing you can do is to make sure you are being transparent about what you are doing with AI in your company or brand. Think of it as making the consumer a partner in your marketing efforts rather than a target of them.

If you use chatbots, are you upfront in telling your customers that they are interacting with an automated system? Doing this can build more trust and patience with what you are trying to achieve. People expect more from a human. If they know it’s not a human, they are likely to have more patience because they are used to having problems with technology.

Be clear about the value exchange: what is a customer going to give up and what will they get in return? Give them the ability to opt out if they are uncomfortable.

The bottom line is that there is no playbook for ethics in AI marketing right now. AI solutions are still fairly new and developing quickly. As you consider your own marketing AI solutions, always ask yourself how you can value your customer’s humanity in the midst of implementing these solutions.

Want to learn more about AI marketing? Read 4 Ways AI Can Improve Your Digital Marketing

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