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

As artificial intelligence becomes a more widespread business tool, companies have a responsibility to ensure that marketing is meeting ethical standards

COLUMBIA, Md., August 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Merkle, dentsu’s flagship technology-enabled and data-driven customer experience management (CXM), today announced the release of its latest white paper, “Embracing Ethical AI,” which addresses the potential biases associated with the growing application 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 currently use or invest in AI to some degree.1

AI as a tool not only improves business workflows, but automates them, giving 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 business models, understanding the implications of its use is essential. 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 historically not been applied with an ethical lens, allowing implicit biases to creep in and collide with new standards in consumerism and marketing. As Merkle asserts, ethical AI enables companies to create transparency and explainability in their marketing – ensuring that segmentation, actions and results align with ethical business practices and a vision for fairness and inclusion.

“Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, and if they notice any hint of bias in your marketing, they’re quick to call you out,” he said. Shirley 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 essential, but uncontrolled AI models will do more harm than good.”

Merkle provides insight into how AI, especially 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 real audiences and create accountability for the technology. In 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 on which brands must 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 follows two additional thought leadership assets released by Merkel in May and June – her Inflation Resiliency Dashboard and Loyalty Barometer Report. All three pieces will help brands prepare for anticipated 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. Representing good ethics is and should be focused on how we behave, what actions we take and how we set up operations of internal marketing”, adds Zelcer.

Click here to read the full white paper from Merkle.

1 AI: Built to Scale”, Accenture, November 2019

About Merkel

Merkle, a dentsu company, is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in delivering unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their clients’ portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched capabilities in understanding the consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Her combined strengths in consulting, creative, media, analytics, data, identity, CX/commerce, technology and loyalty and promotions drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With more than 14,000 employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with over 50 additional offices across the Americas, EMEA and APAC. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit

CONTACT: Sarah Bourdeau, [email protected]


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