The rapid changes happening in the advertising and marketing industry, are forcing advertisers to act. The regulatory reforms aiming to protect consumer privacy, the deprecation of third-party cookies and mobile identifiers, as well as the increased societal expectations around consumer privacy, mean that advertisers need to offer a clearer value exchange for consumers, if they are to continue accessing first-party data, and by extension offering better customer experiences.  

At the same time, it is more important than ever for advertisers to make sure they bring everyone along this journey; There is a global cry for a world where everyone is accepted and respected for who they are – regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, or abilities. The industry needs to create a marketing and advertising ecosystem that has Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at its heart.

We recently worked with IPG group companies, Acxiom, Kinesso and Matterkind, to explore what brands can do to be more responsible in their marketing, given these market and societal expectations.

In June, we wrote about our research with Kinesso, focusing on how brands should explore and experiment with multiple options and alternatives to third-party cookies to tackle the challenges presented.

Our research with Acxiom focused on peoples’ attitudes toward data collection and usage in marketing and advertising, and how brands can tailor their strategies to those attitudes and encourage consumers to be more comfortable with sharing their data online.

Despite the fact that >90% of brands believe that complying with data privacy regulations and avoiding unfair collection and/or use of personal data is a priority, there is still more to be done, as nearly 50% of consumers still express some concern with their privacy online.

The more people understand about data use, the more likely they are to feel comfortable with sharing their data, and the more likely they are to recognize the benefits of doing so. People are more open to their data being used for marketing and advertising purposes when there is a clear benefit to them, e.g. interest-based advertising, and when they know they are in control of when and how their data is being collected and used.

Brands can make people more comfortable by:

  • Improving communications on data sharing, highlighting benefits and addressing concerns
  • Designing better privacy notices, that are easier to understand
  • Minimizing sensitive data collection and usage, avoiding cases that raise concerns or making a positive case for them
  • Supporting broader education, to build consumer understanding around data privacy
  • Personalizing experiences to reinforce benefits of sharing data

More generally, brands should consider a new approach for how they engage with people, how they operate internally, and how they engage with external partners and the wider industry. This involves building a better understanding of data privacy issues, adopting a privacy-first mindset, improving consumer experience through their own (and their suppliers’) practices, and engaging with the wider industry to drive change.

Our research with Matterkind focused on outlining how advertisers can embrace DEI, and create advertising that is authentic and consistent, and resonates with all audiences.

Getting this right matters to people: Over 50% of people think it is important for advertisers to make sure they reach a diverse range of audiences; This rises to over 70% for people who are likely to engage with ads. Customers, especially those who buy products on ads, favour diverse advertisers.

Most importantly, it matters to society as a whole: Advertising can play a positive role in shaping modern society and addressing social issues.

We recommend brands take a holistic approach to DEI that covers all key elements of marketing. It is not sufficient to focus on the creative alone. To drive real change, DEI needs to be integrated into the entire marketing process. It is important that brands reflect and embed DEI in their ethos and values, rather than opportunistically trying to establish relevance.

Organizations can embrace DEI by focusing on:

  • Marketing Strategy: Developing deeper insights and understanding of under-represented communities’ needs, preferences and attitudes, and adapting marketing strategies to include them
  • Creative: Focusing on creating ads that resonate based on their new understanding, and putting in place structures to test creative with diverse audiences before running campaigns
  • Media planning and buying: Planning campaigns that will reach those under-represented, while avoiding practices that restrict access
  • Internal organization: Embedding and investing in the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization, in leadership, teams, ideas and decision-making

Advertisers must also pay closer attention to partners and suppliers, challenge them on shortcomings and outdated practices, and work with them to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion together.

See Acxiom’s announcement and associated white paper here

See Matterkind’s announcement and associated white paper here