A new report says Chief Marketing Officers lack a data ethics policy even though they realize its importance

A latest report from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) says 74% of chief marketing officers (CMO) lack a data ethics policy, despite the majority thinking it is going to be crucial for their role in the next five years. The WFA surveyed 147 CMOs from organizations representing $55 billion of advertising spend annually.

Even though there has been an increase in board room discussions about issues of data
collection and privacy, only 48% of advertisers have an official data ethics policy. Nearly 85% CMOs said they would consider leaving their current employer if they felt the approach to data was not ethical. Meanwhile, 26% said they had already felt uncomfortable about the use of data at some point during their careers.

The WFA hopes the report will encourage enterprises to go beyond simply following the rules on data privacy. It has also released a guide for marketers regarding data ethics approach that comprises four main principles.

-Respect: Companies need to understand the interests of all parties and use consumer
data to improve people’s lives.
-Fairness: Aim for data usage to be inclusive, acknowledge diversity, and remove bias.
-Accountability: Need for transparent data practices to be followed by companies,
partners, suppliers, publishers and platforms. These practices need to be backed by
robust global and local governance.
-Transparency: Apply transparency principles and work towards ‘more open and honest
data practices’.

There is a strong need to mobilize industries to ensure proper handling of data collection with the highest level of transparency and ethics. A significant shift towards a more positive, transparent approach to data is required across industries. It is important for advertising, marketing, and media industry to look beyond regulation and champion the ethical use of consumer data. Companies need to take responsibility to inspire trust in their use of data thereby raising ethical standards to drive positive change in society.