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Trends in Ethical Marketing — Is Your Tech Safe?

With generative AI running away with marketers’ imaginations, what can we do to ensure that our marketing practice remains grounded in ethical thinking? Leandro Perez, Senior Vice President and CMO for Salesforce Asia Pacific, shares his first-hand insights.

Often, marketers are the early adopters of new tech. Constantly searching for new and innovative ways to surprise and delight our customers, we find ourselves leading the way when exploring new tools and techniques. A great example is the recent explosion of activity around generative artificial intelligence. Let’s face it – the possibilities are incredibly tempting. 

But here’s the question, with the rapid rate of change, and with new players emerging onto the scene, how can you make sure you’re using marketing technology and AI safely and ethically?

How Salesforce ensures its marketing remains ethical

Personalisation and optimisation have been part of the Marketing Cloud toolkit for some time. And its powerful predictive artificial intelligence tools have recently been joined by impressive generative AI. 

What do they have in common? They rely on robust, accurate customer data.

Ethical data

The survey response from our Trends in Ethical Marketing report had a key message that was loud and clear – the responsible use of data is an important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions.

More than 60% of customers said that they are comfortable sharing sensitive data with businesses, but only if they are reassured that it’s being used in a transparent and beneficial manner. 

Get the Trends in Ethical Marketing Guide to learn:

✅ How to make sense of marketing’s role in AI and other new technologies
✅ How to invest in emerging technologies while protecting your customer
✅ How to apply ethical marketing practices to your business today

So how can you make sure you’re collecting and using customer data in an ethical way? Here are just some of the methods we use at Salesforce: 

Understand the data you need

Nearly three-quarters of customers think companies collect more information than they need, and nearly two thirds worry that companies aren’t transparent about how they use customer data. 

Digital privacy laws around the world agree that businesses should minimise the amount of customer data they collect. Before you even begin to gather and store customer data, ask yourself what information you need to achieve your objectives, and then collect only that data. 

Bottom line – if you don’t need it, don’t collect it. 

Collect – and respect – preferences

International data protection and privacy laws also make it clear that the customer should have ultimate control over how their data is used. Your marketing tools should allow you to record your customers’ preferences about how their data is used, apply those preferences to your marketing activities, and – crucially – allow customers to change their minds.

Treat customer data like it’s your own

In the day-to-day business of marketing, we often work with partners. But not all partners are created equal, so it’s important to be vigilant about how you share your customer data, and with whom. Will they treat the data with the same care that you have? Will they share it with third parties outside of your control? 

Make sure you review the contracts with each of your partners to ensure that there are clear obligations with respect to the care, custody, and control of any data sent to them.

Ethical personalisation

An increasing number of customers expect every offer to be personalised, and it’s important that as marketers we’re able to meet that expectation. 

The flip side, of course, is that we have to demonstrate real value for our customers in exchange for that data. At Salesforce, we make sure that we are transparent with our customers regarding how their data is used, and what they’ll get in return for providing it. 

Find out how generative and predictive AI can help you personalise and optimise your marketing.

Ethical artificial intelligence

While generative AI has been taking the world by storm, we at Salesforce have been developing – and using – AI for a decade.

Salesforce marketing teams use predictive and generative AI in many different ways – from automating campaign optimisation, to producing unique and personalised messages.

We even use AI internally. It helps by summarising long Slack threads, or automating our reporting and data analysis processes.

The full list of ways that we use AI is long and varied, but the one thing that every application of AI has in common? They’re all built on the policy of ethical use that we set out for ourselves.

  • Never share customer data with external language models. The Einstein Trust Layer, natively built into the whole Salesforce platform, allows teams to benefit from generative AI without compromising their customer data.
  • Always ensure human review of AI-generated content. This ‘human in the loop’ model ensures we never compromise the trust of our customers
  • Link every innovation, product, or campaign to our core values, especially trust.

The benefits of ethical marketing – and how you can do it too

As well as improving customer trust, there are also economic benefits to wider ethical practice, too. Eighty-six percent of customers are more loyal to ethical companies, and 69% actually spend more with a company who they see as ethical. 

Marketing Cloud – recently updated with bold new AI capabilities – is the perfect tool for ensuring your marketing remains ethical. 

The app is built on the Einstein Trust Layer, meaning your customers’ data is kept safe, and seamlessly integrates with Data Cloud for real-time data, giving you the ability to provide relevant, trustworthy personalisation. 

It’s a delicate balancing act – aiming to get the best value out of any tool, while also providing a trusted, impactful experience for our customers. Ensuring that ethical thinking is at the heart of all our marketing efforts means that we can stay ahead of the curve without risking time-consuming backtracking to fix mistakes, and it also provides a framework for innovation that is rooted in trust.

Leandro Perez

Leandro is Vice President, Asia Pacific Marketing at Salesforce. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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