Three-quarters of firms delay AI due to ethics concerns

Three-quarters of firms delay AI due to ethics concerns Duncan is an award-winning researcher, with 20 years experience of analysing the technology industry, specialising in cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, cybersecurity and marketing technology.


More than half (51.3%) of global marketing leaders say that cost is a major challenge when adopting AI and automation into marketing operations according to a new study.

The research into emerging AI was conducted by workforce solutions and marketing operations consultancy, Algomarketing

This first-of-its-kind study surveyed over 300 global marketing leaders working in firms with 10,000+ staff about the current use of AI and automation in their marketing operations.  Results show the potential impact of AI in marketing operations is substantial. Almost a quarter of firms (23.2%) are seeing a return on investment (ROI) of more than 75% in marketing spend. The majority (68%) reported an ROI between 50%-74%. Not one enterprise team in the study of the world’s biggest companies reported less than a 50% increase in ROI. 

When it came to using AI marketing tools, the study found rather surprisingly that US-based marketers were less likely to adopt AI technology than their counterparts in other global regions. Only 26.7% of US-based and 14% of Singapore-based marketers said they have been using AI tools in the last three years. This compares to 54.5% of those based in Australia and 45.3% in the UK.  

These two territories are also leading the field when setting budgets for the next financial year. Two-thirds (65.5%) of respondents in Australia and 62.5% in the UK are committed to increasing spending in 2024. These two territories are also most likely to be hiring additional talent (69.1% Australia/48.4% UK) vs. USA (40%).

Findings also show that a skills shortage and talent gap is being experienced by marketers. Almost half of those surveyed (44.4%) said they have issues finding people who have the skills in marketing and AI to undertake projects. The study found only 23.2% of the world’s biggest companies have adequate internal resources to take advantage of new technologies with over half (52%) opting for a blended skills approach to AI implementation using in-house staff alongside external suppliers.  

When asked about ethical issues around the data used in AI marketing operations, most (77.5%) firms have been forced to delay implementation of AI and automation due to concerns about bias and fairness, with 32.7% saying delays have been significant.

Commenting on the research, CEO of Algomarketing Yomi Tejemola, said: “This study shows that AI and automation are hugely under-utilized within the in-house marketing operations teams at some of the world’s largest enterprises. 

“Although initial investment in AI is evident, most B2B enterprises are continuing to use traditional or insight-driven marketing approaches. This means that although they may be leveraging data and analytics to inform their strategies, they continue to rely on the interpretation and judgment of their marketers to inform their subsequent actions rather than using AI and automation which can interpret data, make decisions and execute actions independently, all with minimal human intervention.

“Algorithmic marketing moves brands that are embracing AI and automation trials towards a future of autonomous marketing.”

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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