Columbia, MD, August 30, 2022

Merkle Launches Ethical AI White Paper, Highlights Need for Explainable AI in Marketing

Merkle, dentsu's leading technology-enabled, data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company, announced today the release of its latest white paper, “Embracing Ethical AI,” which addresses possible biases tied to the increased implementation of AI modeling in marketing strategies. Merkle’s review of the topic comes at a crucial time for the industry, as 91 percent of companies are currently using or investing in AI to some degree.

AI as a tool not only improves business workflows, but automates them, allowing marketers the freedom to focus efforts on more strategic tasks and leave the labor-intensive ones to technology. However, as marketers increase the use of AI in their businesses' models, understanding the implications of its use is crucial. AI is still a relatively new tool and, as such, comes with the need to understand its shortcomings. Within this white paper, Merkle explores the trajectory of AI as a tool that has not historically been applied with an ethical lens, allowing implicit bias to creep in and colliding with new standards in consumerism and marketing. As Merkle asserts, ethical AI enables companies to create transparency and explainability in their marketing – ensuring segmentation, actions, and outcomes align to ethical business practices and a vision for fairness and inclusion.

“Today's consumers are more empowered than ever, and if they spot any hint of bias in your marketing, they’re quick to call you out,” said Shirli Zelcer, global head of data and analytics at Merkle. “With so many consumers watching and holding brands accountable, it’s crucial that companies understand the importance of ethical AI and how it can improve business overall. Understanding your consumers and targeting them effectively is key, but unchecked AI models will do more harm than good.”

Merkle offers insight into how AI, specifically explainable AI, will evolve and shape the future of marketing. Explainable AI is a core component of ethical AI and allows for a greater understanding of how AI works and reveals opportunities for marketers to find genuine audiences and create accountability for the technology. Within the piece, Merkle shares thought-provoking questions for leaders across organizations to consider as they embark on a journey to make AI programs more ethical.

Ethical AI is the foundation upon which brands should build their models today and in the future. With explainable AI, organizations can build more holistic marketing models that open up the black box for evaluation through an ethical lens.

The launch comes on the heels of two additional thought leadership assets released by Merkle in May and June – its Inflation Resilience Dashboard and Loyalty Barometer Report. All three pieces will help brands prepare for predicted changes in consumer attitudes and environments in the near term.

“As AI continues to grow in importance and use, the time to ensure ethical practices with marketing models is now. Putting forth good ethics is, and should be, focused on how we behave, what actions we take, and how we set up our internal marketing operations,” adds Zelcer.

Click here to read the full white paper from Merkle.