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AI in Digital Marketing: SmartBug Media’s Ethical Roadmap

Explore the full potential of AI in HubSpot's Marketing Hub with expert insights

June 12, 2024

By Kody Van Sistine

AI and machine learning tools are the Swiss Army knives of the New Tech Renaissance—and forward-thinking people in every industry are figuring out new ways to use these tools daily. We’re right there with them! Using AI in digital marketing has helped our team save time and reduce stress while serving our clients better—while staying true to the quality of work that SmartBug is known for. 

But just as with any powerful tool, the way you use AI can have significant consequences. Missteps can lead to data breaches, job displacement, biased decision-making, and more. Because safety, creativity, and human creativity are always priorities for us, we’ve employed an extremely thoughtful approach to using AI in our work.

We’re Using AI in Digital Marketing to Help—Never to Harm 

Of course, that’s a lofty statement. How are we doing that? 

By committing to transparency, security, accountability, privacy, fairness, and continuous improvement, we’re setting ourselves up to benefit from AI as an incredibly versatile assistant while ensuring humans remain in the driver’s seat.

More on what those commitments mean in a moment. For now, let’s set the scene: Why is it so important to be careful about prompts or thoughtful about the information you share with AI platforms? 

The Many Challenges of Ethical AI in Digital Marketing

Whether you’re a consumer wondering how accurate AI-generated information is or a corporate leader interested in keeping your intellectual property safe, you should know that AI used poorly can pose a substantial threat. 

There are several obstacles to keep in mind when pursuing ethical AI use. Just a few of the most prevalent include: 

Ensuring Data Security

Data breaches are a nightmare for anyone, but if you’re in marketing, you know that a client’s intellectual property and sensitive data aren’t something you can risk under any circumstances. Using some AI platforms without best safety practices—for example, directly entering proprietary client data into an unsecured AI tool—can leave you open to data leaks in an instant. 

Protecting Personnel

The last few years have brought worries that AI will take people’s jobs. Although there’s a lot to be excited about in the name of efficiency, simply replacing human talent with AI programs shouldn’t be on your list. 

Navigating Bias in AI Responses

AI systems aren’t as objective as they may seem. Not only does AI “hallucinate” (or make up information) from time to time, but the responses AI delivers also can skew data unhelpfully and even perpetuate harmful biases

Fortunately, with some thoughtful processes and proactive solutions, it’s possible to mitigate these issues. 

Our Ethical AI Framework: Protecting Our Teams and Clients from AI-Related Challenges

At SmartBug Media, we’ve established the following six values to keep our AI use as safe, ethical, and smart as possible. 

  1. We are transparent about our use of AI in digital marketing.
  2. We take AI-related security practices seriously.
  3. We value human oversight and choose to use AI as a trusty assistant. 
  4. We keep our clients’ data secure—whether we’re using AI or not! 
  5. We’re aware that AI can be inaccurate or biased, and we take the time to be fair and showcase true human-first expertise. 
  6. We’re committed to constant improvement surrounding our AI use. 

With these six pillars keeping our AI processes as safe and smart as possible, we’re excited about what we’re able to accomplish. 

A Practical Roadmap: Best Practices for AI in Digital Marketing

But what exactly are we doing to ensure that AI use in digital marketing (and other services) is as safe and smart as possible? 

We’ve distilled ten powerful ways to prioritize helpful (not harmful!) use of AI. Each is important and will help you elevate your ethical use of AI. Where possible, make these your golden rules, and you’ll be well on your way to using AI ethically. 

(If you would like to chat about implementing any of these strategies, you know who to call.) 

  1. Be open with your team about AI—even if you’re unsure if you can or will use it, it’s a good idea to get best practices and expectations on the table. (Your team may also have great ideas surrounding AI to explore!) 
  2. Tailor AI training to departmental needs, and offer regular training to make sure no one feels left behind.
  3. Update teams with quarterly AI ethics workshops.
  4. Conduct bi-annual or even more frequent reviews to ensure AI systems meet ethical standards.
  5. Refine AI using bias assessments and diverse team feedback.
  6. Regularly audit data and use explainable AI to ensure fairness.
  7. Share AI processes and fairness measures with interested parties or people integral to specific projects. 
  8. Ensure AI systems comply with ethical standards and legal requirements.
  9. Implement strong encryption and clear data deletion policies.
  10. Create channels for users to report biases or unfair outcomes.

Ethical AI use in digital marketing is possible, but you need to be thoughtful and proactive to keep your AI use safe for everyone. 

It’s also a good idea to commit to ongoing learning. 

We have some resources that may help—bookmark these for your next coffee break: 

  • Artificial intelligence for marketing tasks: AI can streamline your marketing operations and drive better campaign results—as long as you know which tasks are perfectly poised for an AI power-up. Check out our recommendations here.

At SmartBug Media, our commitment to ethical AI practices allows us to use AI responsibly. We’re also committed to learning more and sharing more about AI, so get in touch if you have questions or stay tuned for more accessible resources. 

We also have unique, practical, and interactive AI training workshops to help you take your AI expertise to the next level. Let’s use AI responsibly to drive your marketing forward! 


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Topics: artificial intelligence, AI